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Burgundy Cocktail Dress

How to dress for less

Hi and welcome to this week’s blog.

Do you ever find yourself drooling over the glamorous clothes you see in the pages of your favourite glossy magazines?

Do you ever worry about how you can afford the latest fashion looks or a new dress for that important family occasion or the smart presentation you have to do for work?

Well I have the answer

Sew your own clothes. Yes, it can be far more cost effective to sew your own fashion than to buy ready made off the rail clothes. Especially those items like a good quality shirt or an elegant dress. When you make your own garments you can make sure that they fit you perfectly so you will look better and feel prouder too. Sewing and dressmaking is a very satisfying pastime, you will be  learning a new skill and forever improving upon it.

Go on grab a pattern and some fabric and have a go.

I have been looking at a few of the fashion designer’s collections for fall/winter 2014/15 and I noticed that one of the prominent colours which really stood out was burgundy. Its surprising. When I started looking I realised the colour is everywhere, in a variety of shades. So I took the colour as my inspiration this week.

Follow Sewing Avenue’s board Burgundy Dress on Pinterest.

Burgundy cocktail evening dress

I’ve drawn a couple of sketches of a dress I saw recently with a cowl neck line. I like this style as it is soft and flattering without being revealing.


The fabric I am using is a crepe fabric with no stretch to it so this style would be suited to any medium weight woven fabric.

How I pieced the bodice together…

The cowl neckline is the main feature of the look of this cocktail dress. It is cut as one piece of fabric which consists of both the front bodice and it’s lining. It’s cut out on the bias of the fabric, this will give it the lovely drape effect I desire.

Burgundy Dress Construction
Burgundy Dress Construction

The front is attached to the bodice back at the shoulders and armhole edges then turned out, as you would when constructing any regular bodice with this method.

Burgundy Dress Construction
Burgundy Dress Construction
Burgundy Dress Construction
Burgundy Dress Construction

The lining on the back neck and the armhole edges is under stitched to stop it rolling out.

Burgundy Dress Construction
Burgundy Dress Construction

Don’t press the edge of the cowl neckline to a crisp edge though, the intention is to keep a soft edge look here.

Then I stitched the side seams together and checked the fit. The fit can be altered at this stage by using the seam allowance to let out or take in fabric to get the desired look. I always try to use a seam allowance of ⅝ inch/15mm. If you are dressmaking for someone else you can allow as much seam allowance as you think may be needed to achieve the fit, it can always be trimmed back later, when you are happy with the finished fit.

I have used a concealed zipper in the back seam. Which type of zippers do you like to use in your dressmaking. Lapped can look nice but I don’t usually put in an exposed zipper on a smart dress, I would keep this style for a more casual or sporty outfit.

Burgundy Dress
Burgundy Dress

I am so excited about this dress. It fits well and definitely looks dressed up enough to wear out to dinner and drink those cocktails in! I want to make it again now in another colour. Don’t be surprised if it appears again in another blog!

What’s on your sewing table at the moment?

Happy sewing

Hi, my name is Sarah and welcome to my blog site. I have created Sewing Avenue.com as a vehicle to share my love of sewing and fashion with you and to hopefully inspire you to create your own fabulous versions of beautiful, stylish and classic clothes for your body shape and size.

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