Once upon a time I had a white Karen Millen dress with big red flowers on it.
Dressy, yet comfortable; flattering but not revealing, I wore this dress for various warm weather “events” for several years. I loved the colour scheme. I didn’t make of habit of standing by the men’s toilets with a fire extinguisher but the first picture shows me receiving a leaving gift in a Brighton pub when I was the Director of Housing. The second photo is of Joan Bartlett’s 90th birthday when I was the Chief Executive of Servite Houses. I had this dress in my mind when I planned on making a summer, princess-line dress floral dress. It wouldn’t be the first time i had subconsciously recreated an old favourite; I appear to have form when it comes to making the same dress again and again.
I toiled the pattern in grey first and then made the dress in stretch cotton which I bought online. While the red is just a little bit orangey, perhaps, I am pleased with the quality and look of the fabric.
Compared to the toile I altered the pattern a little at the bust, and I changed the side seams a smidgen. The bodice is lined with white stretch cotton sateen similar to the dress fabric, and the skirt with a nice soft lawn I used previously for my 1940s folkwear blouse.
I wore it for the Southwark Mayor’s Ball, a black tie do, at the weekend. I matched it with my high heels, Israeli earrings, Westwood style jacket and a couple of vintage brooches. And to bring out the reds (rather than the corals) I took my red evening bag too.
Thank you to those of you who suggested the fabric and alterations to the pattern. I followed your suggestions and I made the white dress just marginally shorter than the grey one. Although I agree the proportions might look better with a shorter skirt (looking at the dress on its own) I feel that with a jacket or cardigan the strong horizontal somehow restores the balance. Below is the wearable toile, worn to work, with a cardigan, belt and flat shoes. It is a little long but I just don’t want to show my bare knees or feel at all uncomfortable in a chair in summer time. I think the belt is a major improvement myself.