We went to a Halloween Ball on Saturday night, I don’t do fancy dress (there were some amazing costumes!) I decided to wear my black evening dress and velvet cape, accessorised of course by the little black embroidered evening bag!
I made the evening dress a few years ago and luckily it still fits, albeit a little snug now! I used Vogue pattern 8449 which is a couture dress by Claire Shaeffer. It’s floor length, with a lovely deep V at the back and rouloux straps. The fabric was a lovely soft black satin.
The pattern was interesting to make, the dress is basically one big piece cut on the bias with several large darts, the only seam is the centre back. As the pattern piece is wider than standard fabrics the instructions include adding a piece diagonally before fully cutting out. It hangs beautifully and I love wearing it. I added some Swarovski crystals around the neckline to add a bit of sparkle.
I made the cape in the late 1980’s, I’d just come back from London with it’s nurses balls, and joined Rotaract, which had lots of Black-tie dinners, however my mothers response was ‘What are you making that for, you’ll never get any wear out of it”!! I have worn my cape so many times. Do you remember the Scottish Widows advert… this is known as my Scottish Widow’s cape by all my friends!
I made it from a Butterick pattern, I went over to Denhome Velvets, they used to have a factory shop next to the mill in the village, sadly I don’t think the mill is still there. I chose a beautiful midnight blue velvet. I lined it with a turquoise satin which looks stunning, but it was a complete nightmare to make up…the velvet sewed fine, the satin itself sewed ok with lots of pinning…sewing the two together took three attempts, unpicked each time, it just moved and slipped all the time!! I remember it well!! In the end I had to hand baste the lining to the cape before sewing it on the machine. I have never since stitched velvet and satin together!!
The button is the most expensive button I have EVER bought. I felt the cape needed a statement button, so I went to Duttons for Buttons in Ilkley which is a treasure trove of buttons, they still have shops in Ilkley, Harrogate and York. As soon as I saw it I knew it was the right button, but I still hesitated over paying £10 for it!!
The button is purely decorative as the cape fastens with a large press-stud, I think I’d had so much difficulty with the lining I decided not to risk a buttonhole!
As usual I ended up with half an hour to shower and dress, so the photo-shoot wasn’t quite the leisurely affair I was hoping for. It is a nice feeling though going out in something you’ve made yourself 🙂