Make your own Catherine Middleton engagement dress

Ok, so I have not been around these parts for the longest time ever!!
I had such grande plans at the start of November. None have been realised. The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed I did not even post a Minerva Crafts project in November. What can I say? Life happened. So many things happened last month, more on that on another post. For today though, we have the privilege of hosting Adrienne of All Style and All Substance

I first met Adrienne when she lived in the UK. She currently lives in Sweden. sigh! I have long envied Adrienne’s country hoping. It feels like every time I read her blog, she has moved to another country.Adrienne is kindly showing us how to dress like the Duchess of Cambridge as part of the Wrap dress project. 

For those of you who don’t know me: Hello! My name is Adrienne and I blog over at All Style and All Substance. I’ve been a regular reader of Dibs of the Machines and it’s an honour to write this guest post today!
When I saw that Dibs was doing a wrap-dress sewalong, nothing was going to stop me. I was going to take part. Wrap dresses are my favourites!
But what wrap-dress sewalong would be complete without the wrap dress of all wrap dresses, namely, Catherine Middleton’s engagement wrap dress by Issa London?


Today, I’ll show you how to make your own engagement dress with a few simple tweaks, using a basic shawl-collared wrap-dress pattern, such as Vogue 8827.


1)     As we know, in dressmaking, picking the right fabric is half the battle. In this case, pick a fabric having extreme drape. It’s also preferable to pick a stretchy fabric.
2)     Make your dress following the instructions as you normally would, making sure the belt is wide enough (at least 3 inches, I would say) and long enough (so you can wrap it around your waist 2,5 times). During construction, omit any steps for side ribbons or snaps on the inside. Also hold off hemming your dress. If you’re using pattern Vogue 8827 as a base like I did, make View B with long sleeves, and cut three belt pieces instead of two, so you’re making the belt 50% longer.
3)     Sew the panels together down the middle. In order to determine where to sew, try on your dress and let both panels hang down the front. Mark on your dress the point where you would like the center front seam to begin (and the neck opening to end). With the dress on a flat surface, draw a straight line from the marking to the bottom of the front opening, as in the picture bellow. Stitch on that line.

4)     You’ll see that the hem will be irregular. Before hemming or cutting anything, hang your dress overnight, to let gravity pull your dress.
Thanks for allowing me to share this tutorial with you, and I’ll hope you’ll enjoy you Catherine Middleton knock-off dress! Happy sewing everyone!

P.S.: For more construction details and pictures of my dress, feel free to stop by!


Thanks Adrienne for such an informative post. This will hopefully spur me to make my own wrap dress this weekend. I say “Hopefully” because I have learned the hard way in the past 30 days not to plan too much.

What about you, have you made your own dress yet?

Fabric Detective

UPDATE :  The fabric has unfortunately sold . out. All within 24 hours. Wow.

This is just a shout out to all the people who were itching to get their hands on this fabric

It is back in the Debzzart ebay shop.

Good luck!

Minerva Crafts Blogger Network: Mccalls 6752

I really enjoyed working on this month’s project for the Minerva Blogger Network.The weather has well and truly turned over a new leaf so it is all wet and windy now in the UK. Waking up in the morning is becoming more and more difficult for me, and I am already dreaming of the days when darkness only comes calling at 10 pm. I have not really gone into cold weather sewing mode yet, but my project this month is meant to ease me (gently) into sewing with heavier fabric.
The fabric I used is a plum tweed jersey, which has a grainy texture to it, and has little specks of black. It is quite warm when worn, and it was a dream to sew.  I did not really know what to sew with it, but I knew it was going to be a dress.  So I went through my pattern stash, and pulled out McCalls 6752. If you have this pattern in your stash, get it out NOW and make it. It is so quick. This is probably the easiest thing I have made with a pattern. If you are new to sewing knits, I strongly recommend this pattern.
I made view B, but since I wanted a maxi dress, I lengthened the hem of the skirt. That was really easy to do as you can see from my little pictorial below. You’ll have to forgive my attempts at drawing. I am no Picasso.

 1 – Decide on how long you want your skirt to be, and add the extra inches to the existing skirt length, not forgetting to add extra centimetres for your hem allowance. 
2 – Draw a straight line perpendicular to the first line
3 – From the widest point of the skirt hip, draw a line down, connecting it to line 2.
And that folks, is all. I am sure there are more professional methods of doing this, but this is what I did, and it worked for me.
I wore the dress last weekend to go shopping with my older sister. As you can see from the picture above, I ventured out in my flip flops because though it was windy, it was not cold. A good thing I wore them though because when I got to Oxford Street, I bought a pair of brogues, and wore them immediately. My flip flops conveniently disappeared. 
Now for some tomfoolery

Fabric Detective

I have been at it again. You can tell it is getting close to pay day because my fingers get very itchy around this time, and spend the time scouring the internet for fabric I would love to buy. Naturally 5 days after pay day I am once again broke, having spent my money on things I have been coveting all through the month. Mr. Dibs is not amused, but what can I do? A girl has got to have to buy lists doesn’t she?. It does not always happen that way, but it does more often than not.

So, here I am again, with two sightings. As you know, it is my wont to spend time on clothing sites I cannot afford, unless they are massively on sale. Sometimes even the sale prices are still too much for me.

First off, from my fave shop Phase Eight.

You can make your own version of this dress, with this fabric found in what is now becoming my fave shop on ebay

The next little beauty is from Jigsaw.

I hardly ever buy from Jigsaw, but once in a while I see something I like during the sales. And again, you can get this fabric from the same ebay shop, Debzzart.

Now, you all know I love me some John Kaldor. Normally they are on the pricey side, especially if you buy them from John Lewis. I have alot of John Kaldor fabric, which I buy from wherever I can find them. The tocca lace I used for my Byhandlondon blue lace dress was bought from Goldhawk Road for £12/metre however, in most places, you will see it for £15/metre, and even more in good ole John Lewis.

A couple of months ago, I found an ebay shop, Prestige Fabrics,  that sells them at the most bank account balance friendly price I have ever seen. I have bought so many John Kaldor fabrics from this little shop, and I can attest to the quality of their service. The shipping is fast too, and very reasonable. I recently bought this fabric for my friend, and it only cost me £2.50/metre. That is what most of the fabric there costs.

Prestige Fabrics does not list many things at once, but whatever they list gets sold pretty quickly, so it is worth checking their stock every so often. I know this because I literally stalk them on Ebay. I have all John Kaldor fabric they have listed since the beginning of the year. Why am I telling you about this gem of a shop? Well, for the simple reason that my birthday is coming up, and I believe if I am good enough, I might a really good birthday present.

Now go buy some fabric*.

I will under no circumstances be held responsible for future bankruptcies due to overzealous fabric purchases.

Trend Watch : Full skirt

I normally do not follow the trends set by the fashion peeps, BUT, it so happens that the type of skirts I like to wear is apparently en vogue. Yes peeps, the powers that be in the fashion universe have decided that Full skirts are so in. Many magazines, like this one, have been popping up about full skirts being a fall must have. I knew I wanted to sew a skirt for fall at some point, but I kept pushing it down the project list as other more exciting things came up. That all changed however, when I saw this skirt. I saw it on her instagram page, on Friday, and decided it was time.


I was initially going to use a burnt orange fabric which I had picked up from from one of the fabric swaps, but changed my mind when pressing it became a pain. The fabric is so wrinkled that to get it properly straightened would take for ever. I wanted to wear the skirt for my Alumni meeting on saturday, and I needed a really stress free and quick project, and the fabric was misbehaving, so I put it to one side. I went through my stash, and decided on a floral silk brocade I had bought from this ebay shop.

It was an extremely easy project to do. I just cut a rectangle the length of my waist, plus seam allowance for the waist band. For the main skirt, I simply cut to rectangles of 30 inches each. I wanted a midi length, so 30 inches was just perfect for me. I did not use my hip measurement. My fabric was 54 inches wide, so I just used all of the width. That helped with the side seams. I did not have to finish them off since both sides had selvedges.

To gather the skirt, I used a wide zig zag stitch, and placed a thick thread on my seam allowance. This method makes gathering EXTREMELY easy. I used this tutorial. For those who learn best by observing, you can watch this video on how to gather using a similar method.

I recently bought some stay tapes from A Fashionable Stitch and I was itching to use stay tape on a project. I used it to interface my zip area. Ah, I am definitely growing up peeps. I will have to write a separate post on my shipment from A Fashionable Stitch. Lovely stuff I got, and the service was just awesome. If you look closely, you can see the zig zag stitch with the thick thread in the middle.

Hemming this skirt, was my least favourite part of this make. Can you imagine having to hem 108 inches of fabric? Even though I did not enjoy it, I have to admit it was easier than the last time I made a gathered skirt. I used horse hair braid at the hem, and this made the process ALMOST enjoyable.

I really love this skirt. Not only because of the beautiful print, but because of the little techniques I used. I had never gathered fabric using the zig zag method before, and I must say, I am now a convert. I had also never stabilised my zipper area before. I am not sure if it made any difference, but the experts seem to think it is a good thing, so I suppose it is good, and I will do this more often.

I wore it to my alumni meet up, and received so many compliments. They especially loved the fabric. I love the fabric too, but it frayed like crazy.I don’t know if I would like to work with brocade again. It was easy to sew, but the fraying just frayed my nerves. ah..I like the sound of that.