When it came to finding an outfit for my hen do, (shower/bachelorette for all you U.S. readers!) I'd already had an idea of what I might make for a while. I've been to a couple where the bride-to-be often wears white and what with my recent obsession for a dip-dye job, I thought a white dress with a graduated dip-dye bottom would do nicely.
I've already made Tilly's Lilou dress from Love at First Stitch twice before, my last version becoming one of my favourite dresses. Given that I had
slightly more important dresses to be making, using a pattern I'd already made before seemed like a good call. I actually made the dress in just a day, spurred on by the fact my mum commented 'You can't possibly make a dress in time for Friday!' (when it was only Wednesday) If you ever want me to do something, just tell me it can't be done in time. I love working under pressure.
The fabric I used is a white cotton sateen with a slight stretch, with a cotton lawn lining for the bodice. The sateen was a good choice giving the pleats a good drape, but also solid enough to not need an underlining or lining, even in white.
I made the same adjustments I made previously, shortening the straps but this time remembering to also trim down the armscye, as my last one is a little snug there. My Love at First Stitch book had actually been put in storage in a loft somewhere, possibly even in Wales, so I had to rely on my (terrible) memory. There was a small hairy moment when I sewed up the side seams before attaching
the lining, but then it all came back to me and I managed pretty well. The pleats I did by checking against my original Lilou, but looking at the pattern I'm not actually convinced I did them right the first time! They look just fine though, and fit within the waistline.
When it came to the dyeing, after the success of my maxi skirt, I had expected it to be dead easy. If only! As the sateen was thicker, the dye didn't seem to spread around the fabric as it had with a thin cotton and I neglected to make sure it got in all the folds of the fabric, as you can see from the picture. I also jumped the gun a little, putting the dress into the bowl before the dye had fully dissolved. This resulted in some tiny purple dots of dye in places which although I thought had ruined the dress at first, actually look almost intentional now.
I managed to get dye on the top half of the dress in the process while washing it out too, meaning it was now navy blue >>>to baby blue. I was pretty darn close to giving up when I saw some bleach out of the corner of my eye and thought 'What's the worst it can do?'. I used a separate bowl and dipped the "white" section of the dress into watered down bleach, and within seconds it was back to a brilliant white. Crisis averted.
So I'm afraid the photos really don't do this dress justice...the light was a bit bright. The colour at the bottom is much more graduated than it appears!