I’d planned to make this Shelby dress for a 90s themed birthday party I was going to. I bought the fabric and the pattern well in advance – but thanks to some other sewing deadlines I had, I ended up with only two days to make it! Spoiler: I managed it in time.
This time pressure gave me the impetus to try out a technique I’ve been meaning to do for a long time – task batching. I mean. It’s not exactly revolutionary. I do the same thing in the kitchen when I’m cooking.
I’ve got a blog post coming up on how to batch tasks, so look out for that!
The dress is inspired by a particular music video from the 90s…
I’m really pleased with how it came out, given the sheer panic I was operating under while making it. I actually cut the midi length, which meant the pieces were too long for my cutting table, and I had to cut on the floor (which also meant scissors rather than my trusty rotary cutter). That wasn’t great for my back as I have a condition that means I’m super prone to backache. Annoyingly, I actually ended up trimming the dress to just above the knee anyway, so I should have just made the short version and used my cutting table after all! Oh well.
The dress came together really nicely – even considering it’s viscose, which I really used to struggle with, but I’ve got enough experience with viscose now that I am better at manhandling it.
The only real issue I had was that the button band facing wanted to hang differently from the outer dress fabric, which caused some weird pulling around the front centre. I suspect I accidentally cut the outer fabric on a slight bias. I had to redo the hem a couple of times to get it to work, but I got there. I ended up hanging the dress and pinning it where it wanted to hang.
The buttons are actually pearlescent, which you can’t tell in the photos. I added the extra three up the neckline in homage to the original dress from the music video.
The fit isn’t perfect – but given how little prep I did (no toile!!!) I’m overjoyed at it. It’s slightly too big, which is fine at the waist as you can use the back ties to cinch it in. But around the bust, the princess seams don’t sit properly on the bust point, and there’s a little bagginess going on. But I don’t care. I’m very happy with this dress. And I’m very happy with the lessons it taught me.