After giving you a little glimpse of this glorious dress in my Provencal post I thought it was time to show it off a bit more. By posing with a statue of an enraged pygmy hippo, obvs.
It’s a hacked mash-up: the bodice is Vogue 8184 whilst the skirt, considerably shortened, is from V8615. I lengthened the cuff which sits around the top of the bodice to create 80s-style ‘wings’, to produce an off-the-shoulder effect which I just luuurve (but which is a right b*gger under cardigans).
V8184 is known in our house as ‘The Wonder Dress’. It seriously is – between my sister and I we’ve made around 40 incarnations over several years – including ballgowns and playsuits, a set of bridesmaids’ dresses, an entire Florentine wardrobe, and twin tartan numbers for NYE.
This latest edition was dreamed up after I fell in love with ‘Hampton Wedding’, from Liberty’s SS15 tana lawn collection. According to Liberty, this fabric is ‘Inspired by Disney’s flower garden in Alice in Wonderland, [and] features petals, plants and leaves. Wild and alive, the flowers begin to speak: strange and inviting like the bold, colourful print.’ But to my mind this print doesn’t seem to be at all representative of those nightmarishly surreal talking flowers of Carroll’s imagination – it’s far more fun and flirty. Splashy, garish even, it makes me think of glitzy parties in balmy, expensive places.
And, well, London last Friday was almost a sufficiently balmy place. And the Sunset Safari at London Zoo was, if not glitzy, still pretty festive (and not too expensive). There was a steel band, street food from around the world (amazingly, I managed not to squirt burrito all down my front even though sunk inelegantly in a deck chair…), bar stalls, live talks, performances and all sorts of zoological high jinks.
I showed off to some of the animals about my new outfit. There was a mixed response.
Then, with the sun finally down and the animals off to bed, I did something uncharacteristically spontaneous and, with only the dress on my back and a pair of flipflops in a mini handbag, dashed to Liverpool Street and caught a late-night train to my mother’s house in rural Suffolk – where these next photos were taken, amongst some friendlier flowers.
Even though it’s only early July, I already feel this is my ‘dress of the summer’.
To create the ‘wings’, I simply extended the cuff (which is cut on the bias, so perfect for an element that needs flexible movement) by some distance, and then played around until I had the right level of drape. I hemmed and finished the cuff on the ‘sleeve’ part only, leaving the remainder open to be sewn into the bodice in between the outer and the lining. I had to be careful not to catch the ‘sleeve’ inside when sewing up the bodice, but it actually worked really smoothly and I’m thrilled with the result. The only negative is the sleeve keeps flipping upwards when I move my arms and bringing the cuff up with it, so I’m thinking a few little slip stitches to hold that cuff in place might be in order.
And I paired it with my new Carvela ‘Comfort’ wedges, which really are sooo comfy!In other ‘life’ news, J and I went to IKEA last night. A real IKEA date – like in 500 Days of Summer – but set in Croydon. Goshdarnit I love that place (IKEA, not Croydon). All those primary colours, all those pretend rooms, all those Swedish meatballs. So now I am excited to dash home for some flat-pack assembly and painting… Get ready for some furniture hacks coming your way!