‘Not-the-Valentine’ dress

One day, when I popped into a fabric store for something small, a roll of printed silk just ambushed me.


It was irresistible, so I brought some home with not much of an idea how it would end up.

But the background story for Not-the-Valentine Dress really begins with my return to sewing two years ago when I made this outfit for The Daughter.

valentine 2014

It was her first Valentine’s ball ever, and I was adamant that it would be fabulous.  It was, but there were “issues.” For one thing, I completed it less than 24 hours before the ball. She was a nervous wreck by then and had given mixed signals to the guy she was going with…because there was also an alternative attempt, which failed miserably until I salvaged it months later.

valentine 2014b

So her date ended up dressing to match what he thought was going to be a colourful, fun cocktail dress and she ended up looking like Princess Diana.

valentine 4

To this day she assures me they had a wonderful time, but I felt I had let her down badly.

Like a true compensating parent I bought her a fabulous RTW dress months before the 2015 Valentine’s Ball.

But as February 2016 approached, I was back to my over-ambitious self.  By this time I had accumulated what I have now learned is commonly referred to as a “stash”.  Not to mention a head full of “HAVE TO MAKE THAT!” ideas.

Months ahead of any last-minute-Valentine’s-ball-trauma, I already ordered  Vogue 1474 in October:

vogue 1474

I REALLY believe this pattern was SPECIFICALLY designed to be sewn in that scrumptious printed silk, but I regret to report that to date Vogue 1474 still hasn’t arrived at the shop I ordered it from.  (I think they messed up…) So in spite of all good intentions, three weeks before the Valentine’s Ball I had to resort to Plan B  which I had once bought from an Out-of-Print discount bin. (As I do.)

vogue 8113

It WOULD have been completed a week before the Valentine’s Ball…and she WOULD have looked stunning….IF their group of friends had not decided that going to the ball would be a waste of money and made other Valentine plans. I must confess some disappointment with just a pinpoint of secret relief.

Soooooooo, having shelved it for a month or two, I finally had her fit it again this morning so I could finish the hem (the bias-cut skirt benefited from two months of settling).  I just want to complete it so we can move on the other projects, right?

Ag vrek.*

The thing is now too small. Which does not mean she has become “fat”.(Just in case she reads here…) No-one wearing a size 10 may ever call themselves “fat”. (No one wearing a size ANYTHING may ever call themselves fat, I know…) It just means that adjustments are needed.


*EDIT 22/04: I only realised after writing this post that it was the dress and not The Daughter that changed shape. Blame it on Teddie, my dog who keeps me company in the sewing nook.  He ‘claimed’ the dress that was hanging there for 2 months as  belonging to his territory…as dogs do.  And although he only ‘territorized’ an inch on the hem, I immediately washed the whole dress the moment he did it – without telling her, ofcourse.

So after feeling depressed for a day after not fitting into the dress that morning and seriously contemplating a diet, she was intensely relieved when I told her the truth.

This was a good learning curve for me and a subtle warning that I should not cast that Matric Farewell Dress which I am working on to be worn in September or October, in stone.


Afrikaans word of the day: “Ag vrek“.  Pronounced “och frack” , it means “oh, die!” but it is actually just a hypocritical substitute for a heartfelt “oh f*ck!”.

It  is a good word for Lesson 1, if you are interested in learning my home language.

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