Self Assembly Required

DIY dressmaking + crafts with Emily

Utu pinafore hack AKA the most sparkly dress ever!

Who’s ready to party this festive season away?

I am! πŸ•ΊπŸ»

I’ve made the MOST sparkly dress ever in time for The New Craft House Winter Party this weekend. Unsurprisingly, the theme for the party is “All that glitters”…

My inspiration for this dress came from a quick wander around Zara – now that’s a shop that knows how to do a party dress. I was going up an escalator and from the corner of my eye spotted an amazing glitter dress. It was a mini dress with a sort of wrapped button front and sleeves. I didn’t get a chance to have a proper look at it and when I went on their website later, I couldn’t find it!

There’s a good chance that the whole thing was a figment of my imagination but nonetheless it inspired this make!

The base for the this dress comes from the new Named Clothing book Breaking the Pattern (check out my YouTube review of it here).

I decided to use the Utu pinafore dress which had the exact skirt shape and double breasted buttons that I was looking for. All I needed to do was add on sleeves and alter the neckline for a little more coverage…

To alter the shoulders/ add on sleeves I overlaid my By Hand London Eloise bodice pattern onto the traced copy of the pinafore so that the shoulder seams and the side seams were meeting somewhat. (If you try this yourself you’ll find it’s impossible to make it “perfect” but close enough will do!). I then traced around this new shape. (This widens the shoulder seam and raises the side seam).

I planned to use the Eloise sleeve pattern at a three-quarter sleeve length with this.

You can use any pattern with sleeves for this part by the way. I just happened to have my Eloise pattern right there!

I made a toile of the dress at this point. I wouldn’t normally but I knew with my poor history with wrap styles that a quick mock up would be infinitely helpful.

The toile showed me that I needed to shorten the bust darts slightly – they were making me a little pointy – and that I needed to take a little extra out of neckline to reduce the gaping.

To do that, I pinched out the excess in the vague position of a bust dart (i.e. pointing towards the nipple) which I transferred to the paper pattern. Once there, I pivoted the extra dart out which increased the depth of the side bust dart.

I also ended up doing a slight sway back adjustment too by taking out a little length in the centre back at the waist and grading it to nothing at the side seam.

Simple enough right? 🀣

Now in an ideal world I’d have done another toile. But I’m lazy so I went straight for my sequinned fabric!

I picked up this gold on black sequinned fabric from The Textile Centre (whilst it was still open) in Walthamstow last year. I’d been saving it for a special occasion!

Working with sequins is not my favourite thing – cutting the stuff is the worst. The stuff pings off everywhere and I actually got a sequin in my eye! (Note to self: wear safety specs next time!)

For the lining I used a simple black acetate lining. I didn’t want to use anything that might catch against the sequins so in this case synthetic was the way to go.

Sewing up was relatively easy as I chose not to bother lining the sleeves. It meant that I could stitch the neckline opening and hem all in one go and bag in out through an armhole. Once that was done I attached the sleeves.

So this is me AKA the walking disco ball!

Sewing buttonholes onto sequins was interesting. I think it only worked here because this type of sequin fabric is where the sequins are sewn flat against the backing. I managed to sew normal buttonholes with my machine and then spent some time just picking out the sequins from under the stitches themselves.

Not quite sure I’ll have many occasions to wear this one… πŸ˜‚

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  1. This dress is absolutely amazing and couldn’t be more perfect for a “all that glitters” themed party! Hacking a pattern would still be a big stretch for me as I just started sewing recently (hence the name of my website) but it’s very inspiring to see what I might be able to make down the road…all my best!

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