From scratch

That Dior dress? Finished!

I have a feeling that Dior won’t be suing me after all…

TheSecretCostumier - The Dior dress is ready3

     Here it is. I’ve probably spent over 20 hours in total on putting this dress together…and I’m only fine with the result. Not as ecstatic as I’ve expected to be, which is probably due to the fact that it existed as a problem for about a year, then when I figured out how to do it, well…it got boring! It’s unfair from me to say that I’m not even half as much in love with this dress as with the kimono dress, as I have actually worn this already, unlike that one. To be honest, I wore it with a jumper on top, which is pretty cool as I can dress it down, but I have a feeling that there will be hardly any occasions when I’ll feel totally comfortable wearing it without a bra, as I (and Mr Galliano probably) designed it to be worn…

TheSecretCostumier - The Dior dress is ready13

    And a little bit about the construction, as it was a struggle, but it turned out well. I’ve learned on my first attempt of making this, that I need a short kimono sleeved bodice pattern so that there are no armhole seams. As I couldn’t find any, I drafted one by modifying a basic sloper. Then I made a muslin from the lightest gauze like fabric out there, which seemed to be a good fit, but the dress was a lot heavier (obviously!?) and felt too loose around my waist. Since I didn’t want to alter the chiffon bodice to avoid further fraying, I decided to insert an elastic band into the waistline, which successfully cinched it in a little. Then I attached the velvet ribbon first from the outside, then from the inside, hiding all the seam allowances neatly.

TheSecretCostumier - The Dior dress is ready - details

    The closure on the back of the bodice caused a headache though, as the crocheted thread loop  for the button (a result of the most boring 30 minutes of my life), weakened the fabric. I decided to sew grosgrain ribbons there instead, which seems to be working a lot better.As for the he invisible zipper in the skirt bit, well, it turned out as it should have, pretty invisible. 🙂

TheSecretCostumier - The Dior dress is ready - details5

TheSecretCostumier - The Dior dress is ready - details7

    The edges were finished by zig-zag stitching over an embroidery thread then cutting the excess fabric off, which gives the hems some definition, as well as it makes the fabric tear easily (see on the picture of the sleeve below). The floral fabric on the bodice was first basted then hand sewn from the inside of the dress, but it was done in a less than professional way, as I got really impatient by the end of it, as you can imagine.

TheSecretCostumier - The Dior dress is readydetails

All in all, I’m happy it’s finished and I hope I’ll get to wear it more!

TheSecretCostumier - The Dior dress is ready - details6

Image sources: Title: Dior dress, background images of the Dior dress:, all other images are mine.
From scratch

That Dior dress…still in the making!

Do you remember that Dior dress I used as inspiration to make a similar one, about a hundred years ago? Well, I don’t blame you if you don’t, I would have forgotten about it too, did I not feel guilty about having yet another UFO in my drawer. So here is a quick recap of the starting point and the mistakes made on the way.

The inspiration:TheSecretCostumier - Dior dress TheSecretCostumier - Dior dress TheSecretCostumier - Dior dress

Image source:

At first I used a cap sleeved bodice pattern and almost gave it all up after I realised I should have cut the bodice in one piece with the sleeves…you know, like on the Dior dress, so that there aren’t any unnecessary seam finishes showing through the transparent fabric.TheSecretCostumier-Inspiration: That Dior dress

So I decided to draft a short kimono sleeved bodice. I also changed the base colour from red to black as I stupidly thought it will be ready by Autumn and it will go better with my black tights, but guess what…It’s still not done!

I have recently ordered a box of different sewing machine feet and I tried the rolled hem one on the neckline, but unfortunately the result is rather inconsistent, because of the thin fabric and the unstoppable unravelling…The situation is similar with the French seams, although I’m sure it’s more of a question of practice  than anything else.

I finished the edge of the front panels by zig-zag stitching over embroidery thread and cutting the excess fabric off.

Then I came up with a brilliant way to make pleats in the chiffon, attaching it to a piece of tulle, which worked out really well, apart from one little problem: the tulle is way to stiff to be sewn on top of the chiffon!TheSecretCostumier - The Dior dress...Still in the making! TheSecretCostumier - The Dior dress...Still in the making! TheSecretCostumier - The Dior dress...Still in the making! TheSecretCostumier - The Dior dress...Still in the making!

I know, I know, I should have seen this coming and I kind of did, but I thought it’s just going to give it a little support. Well, it’s way too much support, so the idea is to take it all apart and do it all over again now with a chiffon & chiffon combo. But before I take it apart I’ll try to show you next time how I did the pleating!

From scratch

Inspiration #1: That Dior dress

It all started a few months ago when I discovered the remnants box at the Rolls & Rems in Lewisham. I found over 2 meters of this beautiful floral chiffon for £4.50. I wanted to make a dress that was not too girly, but I couldn’t imagine using a minimal pattern either, so I just ignored it until I came across this Dior dress from the 2012 RTW Spring-Summer collection.

I was going to use a nude colour for the bodice part, but could not find any see through chiffon that matched my skin tone, so I decided to pick something striking instead, like…red.

I do feel a little bad about shamelessly copying the design (“shamelessly” if it turns out well, obviously), but I do have a few points to calm my guilt:

  1.  I make it for myself, not for sale;
  2. Great painters learned the techniques by copying their predecessors;
  3. It. Is. Hard. Work.

It really is hard to sew the chiffon as it frays within seconds in my hands, and the bias binding that I chose frays too. That must be the punishment, I guess. I chose a Burda pattern that is really simple, and has an interesting dart on the bodice and pretty little sleeves, although I just realised a HUGE difference between the pattern I’m using and the original dress: the original is made of a single front and back piece, with no seams attaching the sleeves. That makes a big difference as mine will have more design details showing through… I will (have to) do tons of hand sewing, as I decided to go with the hand rolled solution to finish the neckline and sleeves. I haven’t figured out yet how to attach the top part, but it will possibly be done by some more hand sewing.TheSecretCostumier - Inspiration: That Dior dress

The new pledge that comes with making this dress (which I have no idea what shoes to wear  with?!) is that I will sew at least 15 minutes a day (as suggested by Sarai Mitnick @ Coletterie), so I should be done with it by the time temperature rises above 20 ºC here in London. Just kidding, I will definitely finish it before August! 😉

Image sources:,