My Dressmakers’ Ball Dress (AKA Red Carpet Copycat)

After I shared a sneaky peak of what I was making for the Dressmakers’ Ball, I am now here to show you the finished outfit (which you may have already seen if you follow me on Instagram!)

But first I want to share a little bit about the ball itself……it was amazing! It was run by the lovely ladies at Crafty Sew & So, a fabric shop in Leicester. It was so nice to see everyone go all out when given the excuse – and I’m sure some of us don’t need much of an excuse! I kept thinking how awesome it was that sewing allows us to express ourselves exactly as we want to. I can’t imagine how painful it is shopping for a prom dress, or even a wedding dress, and not finding exactly what you want. My prom dress was made by my mum and now I know if I’m going to a wedding or something, whatever I can imagine that I want to wear I can make (within the boundaries of my skills of course!).

These are all the ‘advanced’ dressmakers (which meant you had been sewing for 3 or more years). The photo is by TKL Photography, and I thought it was great that they had a professional photographer taking pictures because whenever I’m having a good time I don’t think to take any (which I guess it how it should be!)

I went with my friend Sarah who I met at the Sew Brizzle meet ups and Jen, also from Bristol, was there too (though she didn’t take part in the competition so isn’t in the photo above).

I was really impressed with the beginner dressmakers too – they had all been sewing for less than 3 years, and some of them had made their dress for the ball and it was the first or second thing they every made! They were a lot, lot, lot better than the first and second things I made, I can tell you! I tried to take some photos, but they’re all terrible and mostly of people’s backs, so do go check out the photo album on CraftySew&So’s facebook page.

Special shout out goes to Kendell, who I sat next to at dinner, and who won the beginner dressmaker category. She has only been sewing since September! (Photo by TKL Photography). Amazing!

Helen from Stitch My Style (who I’ve had a bit of a girl crush on for a while now because I love her vlogs!) won the advanced dressmaker category for her latest recreation project – after the amazingness that was her Marilyn Monroe Dress – the opera dress from Pretty Woman. It truly was a wonder to behold, and she had completely shelf-drafted it. She is a very talented lady! Also I got to chat to her a little bit on the night, and the next morning when some people met for breakfast and she’s as lovely and funny in real life as you’d expect from her videos.

Here she is (left) with the equally lovely Elisalex from By Hand London, who was one of the judges, and Nina from Nina Lee patterns, who I met a couple of years ago at a meet-up and I was surprised she remembered me – for some reason I always assume people will forget me as soon as I leave the room!

Well, this might be enough chat about how great the ball was and maybe I should show you some photos of my dress?

Here it is from the front – looks kind of boring I think, though it is a good colour – the fabric is the leftovers from my By Hand London Alix Dress. The bodice is the Christine Haynes Emery, which is my go to basic bodice as I did quite a bit of fitting back when I first made it, and I’m too lazy to do it all again with a different pattern! The front skirt, though it a sort of made up thing. I used the skirt I drafted for my Navy Lace dress but I extended it to the ground and made the top of the skirt the same length as the bottom of the bodice (plus seam allowances, of course).

There is also a split up the front of the skirt. I did this using a random tutorial I found online, where you make a sort of facing, sewing either side of the line you want for the split, cut the line between the 2 rows of stitching, then turn it to the inside and voila! You have a split, with the raw edges all enclosed. I then handstitched the facing part to the inside using herringbone stitch – there was a lot of handsewing on this dress as the fabric marks quite easily, so where I might have machined a hem on a less ball-worthy dress, I did it all by hand on this one.

You also might be able to see there are trousers underneath my dress. I thought about buying the Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers pattern, but then I remembered I have Gertie Sews Vintage Casual which has a Cigarette Trousers pattern, so I used that.

I did have to do quite a bit of adjusting to the trousers, but I failed to write any notes so I’m stuffed if I want to make them again! I moved the back zip to one of the side seams, shortened the legs on the pattern by an inch below the knee and then took them in quite a lot on the legs. Like an inch or more on each leg, inside and out.  They didn’t look perfect but they looked okay. And they fitted okay across the bum from the beginning, so that was a bonus!

Anyway, the interesting thing about my outfit is the back!

As you may have already recognised, this is a copy of an outfit worn by Emma Watson at the Golden Globes a couple of years ago. I tried to recreate her pose, but it didn’t really work. I added a second strap to hide my bra strap. Also I have no idea how her dress is staying up – I added some really strong interfacing to mine, but it still wasn’t quite enough. Luckily Helen from Stitch My Style had some spare (ehem) tit tape so Sarah stuck the top corners to my back, which was great because otherwise I would have spent the whole night adjusting it!

I love how the wind caught the dress in the above photo! The fabric was pleasingly swishy to dance in, but because it’s only half a dress and because of the split, it wasn’t as swirly as Elisalex’s dress, which was definitely one of the best for twirling in!

I’m pretty proud of my pleating on the back, so here’s a close-up. This fabric creases like a bitch, but it does mean once pleats have been ironed in, they stay!

This is me trying to copy Emma Watson’s pose – semi successful I think. If I had a stylist and someone to teach me how to pose, it might have been closer! Oh well!

Emma Watson Christian Dior, Golden Globes

To sum up, I really love this dress/outfit! I really enjoyed working out how to recreate something I’ve only seen in photos. And it was great to have an opportunity/excuse to make one of the things I’ve been dreaming about making for aaages! I also, surprisingly, enjoyed all of the handsewing. I think next year – assuming they’re running the ball again – I want to make something with a more tricky fabric to work with. Maybe velvet, which I’ve not sewn with yet. And I’d like to give boning a try. I’ve already got an idea in mind of another red carpet copy cat dress, but I’m not going to share it yet because no doubt I will change my mind by next May! I might try to recreate some others of my favourite red carpet looks too, like the less formal ones – I don’t know how many gowns I’ll need in my wardrobe!

I’ll leave you with another photo of our photography assistant who showed up again as The Boyfriend was taking these photos! You may recognise him from the photos I took of my denim moss skirt. I can’t remember if I mentioned this before, but he lost an eye a few months ago, but it doesn’t seem to have slowed him down.

He seemed pretty determined to photobomb me!

But I couldn’t resist his lovely face. He really is a friendly cat and comes into our flat if we leave our back door open 🙂

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Style Crush: Emma Stone

la-la-landAt the weekend I went to see La La Land, as I’m sure did a lot of people! The screen I was in was pretty full and it’s been out a couple of weeks. I did like it but for some reason I left feeling a little underwhelmed – maybe it’s because of the hype? Also I love musicals and, although I liked the nods to the classic musicals, like Singin’ In The Rain and An American In Paris, the songs seemed a little weak. I do now want some 2-tone brogues now though! And Emma Stone wore some nice dresses, especially the yellow one above. I’m sure I read somewhere (though now I can’t remember where!) that the dress was a sample they made to screen test but then they ended up using that one in the film!

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But enough about La La Land and onto my style crush for today: Emma Stone. I’ve liked her for quite a while and I think she’s always really likeable and watchable on screen. And I love her style! She looks particularly good in bright colours, like pink. I love the dramatic bow on the gown above, and the 2 different shades of pink below look really cool. I also like the separate top and skirt, it’s a bit more different on the red carpet than a dress.

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This pink dress, with a white collar and cuffs, might be one of my favourites of all the dresses I’ve seen her wear. I love the sheer sleeves, the bright shade of pink, the monochrome houndstooth shoes, everything! This could be my inspiration for my Billie bodice from Boundless Style……

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She looks pretty great in white and red, as well as pink! I like the embroidery/ appliqued fabric here. And the exaggerated hip shape. I’m guessing it’s Vivienne Westwood?

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I like this simple shift dress, too, and the more coral-y shade of pink.

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Although I don’t think I’d wear this outfit, I do really like it! I like the ruffled skirt, the casual t-shirt, the turquoise necklace and the red shoes! I really don’t think I’d combine these colours, but they really work!

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You can’t beat spots and stripes!

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Now I’ve got a few of my favourite gowns Emma Stone has worn. I like how simple this dress is, with the perfect nude shade. But it’s still interesting, with the sparkly trim and the cut out sides,

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This is another of my favourites of her dresses. I love, love, love the fabric. And there’s something really lovely about the proportions and fit of this dress. I can’t really explain why I like it so much, but I do!

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I love the beading on this gown she wore to the Oscars. I can’t begin to imagine how many hours went into it! Not totally in love with the colour of this one, though.

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She even looks great in black – which not everyone does. I like the Grecian style of this gown and the fact that it’s made of floaty fabric. I bet it was lovely to walk in!

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I read somewhere that this gown was the inspiration for the yellow dress in La La Land. She really does look great in yellow. And I like how it seems to have shoulder pads, or something. And it looks like the fabric on the skirt has a sort of vertical rib. You don’t often see interestingly textured fabric on red carpet gowns – possibly just because it doesn’t come out in photos!

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Of course you can always spot lace. I like this dress, and how they’ve used a nude colour underneath the black lace. If they had used black underneath, the pattern of the lace would have been lost. I like the ribbon around her waist, too.

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I’ve posted this photo mostly because the dress has wings! I love the black collar and the embroidery, too!

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I like how she wears trousers on the red carpet as well as dresses and skirts. I love this one! You can’t beat black sparkles!

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I like this more casual look, too. I think I may need some trousers made of patterned fabric in my life. I always err on the side of caution with trousers and mostly just wear black or navy or jeans.

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This is an amazing look at the Golden Globes. This is up there with the red dress thing with black trousers that Emma Watson wore to the Globes one year. I kind of want to copy this one day, though I’d probably never wear it!

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She even looks cool in a suit! I’m not totally in love with these trousers, but I love the shoes, it makes the outfit more interesting.

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When I do these posts I always try not to use obviously paparazzi photos because I feel actresses are entitled to some privacy – when they’re on the red carpet, they’re ‘at work’ so it feels a bit different. Having said that, however, I’m sharing this one street photo of Emma Stone because I love it! I basically want to rip off this whole outfit. The Morgan Jeans are one of my #2017MakeNine so I’ll at least have the jeans at some point this year! And I want her shoes soooo badly!

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Have you seen La La Land? Did you love it?

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Style Crush: Lupita Nyong’o

Today I want to talk about how much I love Lupita Nyong’o. I’m sure like everyone else she came to my attention during the awards season 2 years ago when she was nominated for her role in 12 Years A Slave for pretty much every award going. I actually watched the Oscars that year (staying up until about 4am!) and I was thrilled – and a little moved – when she won the Oscar. I also loved the dress she wore. When asked about it she said the colour reminded her of Nairobi – she was brought up in Kenya.

The Prada gown seemed to fulfill any princess fantasies one might have but also be a bit different in terms of the cut and the fit – I love how it plunges so low at the front!

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From the same awards season is this Ralph Lauren red dress with a cape. I love it!! It’s so chic and edgy at the same time.

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This is another Prada gown which she wore to the 12 Years A Slave premier at the Toronto Film Festival. I know actresses all have stylists these days but this was her first movie – I doubt many actresses looked like this at their first few premiers!

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This is another gown from her first awards season – this time by Gucci. i love the colour – I love turquoise in general – and I love how it’s mostly simple but has the pretty flower neckline. I like her makeup here too.

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Nothing quite like a perfectly fitting yellow gown!

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This is definitely what I would be doing in this green Gucci gown too! Another great deep v on the front.

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This white Calvin Klein dress Lupita wore to the 2014 Critics Choice awards is stunning. I love the cut outs and the slightly sporty feel of the top and the simple column skirt.

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Who doesn’t love a red sparkly dress?! And it looks great with and without the white coat.

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Earlier this year Lupita was promoting her new film, Queen of Katwe, about an African (Ugandan) chess prodigy and her outfits for the various events were definite nods to the film’s setting and to her Kenyan roots.

I love, love, love this dress! Blue and yellow are two of my favourite colours (as I’m sure you’d know if you looked at all my me mades!) and the headscarf looks amazing. And the outfit looks somehow really effortless – even though I’m sure a lot of work went into putting it together.

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This is another amazing outfit from the press tour. I love everything about it – the super high-waisted trousers with the giant turn-ups, the matching top and headscarf, the earrings, her eyeshadow. The outfit is by Rosie Assoulin, a designer I’d not come across before. She worked for Oscar de la Renta and at Lanvin before launching her own line. You should google her stuff, it’s quite structural and cool.

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Another event, another great headscarf and dress. I like the simplicity of the dress, with the (I assume embroidery) detailing around the neck and hem.

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This Chanel dress, which I think she wore to the premier of Start Wars is so cool. I love the cut out at the back and the sequined shoulders. I like how the back stripes are missing for the waist and hem, it emphasises her great figure. I love her hair here too.

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Now I’ve got a few slightly less dressed up outfits – I pretty much could only find photos of her on red carpets, so I don’t know much about her ‘street’ style.

I love this purple jacket – I assume the collar is from the dress underneath. The proportions of this jacket are spot on. I don’t normally like purple, but it definitely looks good on her! Also her make-up looks beautiful and I love the earrings.

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I love this shift dress – the fit is spot on. And I like the patterns on the front.

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I like the use of the stripe on this green, white and black dress. Also I love her hair super short but it looks really cool here.

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I want this outfit (though probably in a different colour!). The trousers!

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And finally I will leave you with this stunning photo from her Vogue photoshoot from 2015. The gown is by Givenchy and I think everything about this photo is perfection.

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Who is your red carpet style icon?

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