All Saintly for December

With a nod and a curtsy to Linda’s Designin’ December challenge:

“The AllSaints Poison Dress is a pure silk wrap dress with a v neck and an all-over print based on a watercolour painting, featuring humming birds in shades of red and blue.

Made from Italian silk, the dress has a heavy drape which flatters the curves of your body. The wrap attaches to the left side of the dress with a hook and eye strip fastening and an elasticated panel, and there is a waterfall frill where the wrap fastens.”

I needed a dress to wear to the Company Year-end Dinner with my husband.


I had a piece of digital print knit – indeed not 100% silk, but “birdy” enough –  and two potential Vogue Patterns: 7964 and 1256.

I ended up using V7964 (adding the flounce from V1256), slashing and spreading and adding some body for more drape.


To do the slashy-spready thing I used this idea from Pinterest.

I would not even dare to try posting a tutorial on my pattern hack.  It was a celebration of brown paper and sticky tape, green/red/black marking pens scribbling and crossing out instructions to myself:


I considered a waistline seam such as the original dress has, but I liked the unbroken flow of the print on my fabric. Making it work in the knit was a little difficult was however  wayyyy more difficult than I thought it would be.

Problem is, the print runs in the same (vertical) direction as the maximum stretch.  I did not notice that when I bought the fabric as a 2.1m clearance sale remnant. Oops.

Check out my pattern layout – after considering pattern placement to avoid things like birds nesting in awkward places –  I really had NO fabric to spare:


The dress-form is sternly  supervising the job, wearing my muslin for the top part of the pattern – I did not have enough of the blue knit to muslin the whole dress but this helped a lot in the planning process.

To compensate for the vertical stretch, I was going to line the dress with woven polyester lining to help keep the shape. (From the stash. Because I wanted to be frugal.) But I relented and BOUGHT *gasp!* stretch mesh lining instead.

Vogue 7964 is actually a mock wrap and one has to wiggle into  it. Non-stretch lining would have stabilized the structure but made the dress impossible to get on unless I added some finicky side-fastenings.  The flounce adds even more weight  which makes the whole dress stretch out longer and longer – I could just imagine myself tripping over the the hem by midnight!


My daughter took these pictures this morning, after a whole evening of wear last night at the dinner – where I had hoped a decently glamorous picture would be taken, but no such luck . The dress kept its shape well and I and felt like a supermodel all evening.

Because I am CHEAP, I must emphasize: the average Allsaints Dress sells for R3500 (in my money).  I made mine for under R350. Spot the missing zero!

Just a little perspective: here is my birdy dress compared to an unlined mock wrap dress I bought in December last year. That one cost R850 from Proudly South African shop Heaven-Lee.  – which is about as designer-labellish as I would ever go. It is a comfortable dress without all the “engineering” I put into my new dress. But it is actually pretty disappointing on me.  Not money well spent .  I could have bought a lot of fabric to stash for that amount, heheheh…

Thanks for the inspiration provided by this challenge, Linda!


7 thoughts on “All Saintly for December

  1. I love it! I love the fabric/print, I love the drape! You must have looked fabulous at your party! Not to say that, in this morning’s photos, you don’t look lovely still … especially the photo with you peeking from behind a twig! The first time I had done the “slash/spread” was on the sleeves of the top I am making for DESIGNIN’ DECEMBER – I changed them from normal sleeves to bell sleeves – so I totally understand using vast amounts of tissue paper to fill in the gaps and doing the math to make sure things aren’t getting messed up, but all I changed was the sleeves … not the whole dress. You’ve got a Designer Original, yet CHEAP!

    Liked by 1 person

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