Ballroom Sting

I’ve had this fabric for a while, and always intended to make a ball skirt with it. It’s a gorgeous brocade with bees. Then when I took the fabric out and looked at it, I thought a maxi dress would be more useful. I looked through a bunch of Burdastyle issues, where there are lots of maxidress patterns. They all seem to have poufiness in the tummy area, which I find unflattering. I then went to my envelope patterns, and took a close look at Vogue 8449, a Claire Schaeffer pattern that I’ve had for a while. It is totally cool. There is only one main pattern piece and one seam, at the center back. The zipper is inserted as if it were a welt pocket. The darts kind of go all over the place, but they do the job. It was fun to make a pattern and actually read and follow the directions. Normally I think I know better methods than those recommended by the pattern, and I just do it my way.

The fabric is left over fromthese dressesfor my kids. It is a home dec silk that I bought at a mill in Sudbury, UK. I love home dec silk.

I see this dress as a layering piece. I may wear it with this lacey top, either over or under the dress. I also have a blue cashmere jacket that would look nice with it.

Back View


Zipper application. It is not inserted in a seam, so it is covered with a welt.


Closeup of the fabric



  1. Posted February 2, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Love your dress! And yes, that is the classic french bee that I was talking about last week. I think it will look fantabulous with the lace shirt/blouse.


    Can’t wait for Friday!!!

  2. Posted February 2, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Claire Shaeffer’s patterns are worth buying just for the instructions; too bad all the Vogue patterns can’t have such great instructions. It’s a perfect dress for you and I look forward to seeing you in it and especially how you style it.

  3. Posted February 2, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Beautiful dress. I love the way you are thinking about styling it!

  4. Posted February 3, 2011 at 2:28 am | Permalink | Reply

    Ooh nice! I wouldn’t have thought of using home dec fabric – presumably it has a bit more body than regular fabric? Do you have to pretreat it differently?

    • Posted February 3, 2011 at 9:01 am | Permalink | Reply

      Home dec fabrics can be a lot of fun. They are great if you are looking for a fabric with a wide pattern repeat. A lot of home dec silks are very stiff, but this one has some drape to it. To pretreat, I just machine washed it, machine dried it, took it out while still damp and ironed it dry. This is what I do with pretty much all my fabrics.

  5. Posted February 3, 2011 at 11:23 am | Permalink | Reply

    What an elegant piece! I am sure you will look amazing in it.

  6. Posted February 3, 2011 at 11:36 am | Permalink | Reply

    I thought I was familiar with all of Clare’s Vogue patterns. I had never seen this one. It is interesting that there are no side seams and the darts do all the shaping resulting ins such a sleek, feminine dress. Very pretty fabric too.

  7. Posted February 5, 2011 at 11:13 am | Permalink | Reply

    Lovely piece. It looks like it would be a great and versatile layering piece.

  8. Posted February 6, 2011 at 10:36 am | Permalink | Reply

    I agree Claudine. I have used home dec fabrics many times for garments. They are untapped beauties.
    Love the dress and the bees are always regal.

  9. Rosie
    Posted February 7, 2011 at 9:10 am | Permalink | Reply

    Claudine, what a gorgeous dress! Francophile that I am, you can tell I love the bees. This will look fabulous on you!

  10. Posted February 11, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    So nice dress!
    I love your blog and your achievements!

One Trackback

  1. By Me Made March Wrap-Up « Adventures in Couture on March 31, 2011 at 10:47 am

    […] Silk/cotton dress, blogged here. . Bee brocade dress blogged here; lacey cotton top, blogged here. . Cardigan jacket, unblogged; charmeuse and velvet striped skirt […]

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