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Alexander Henry Tattoo Print Vogue 2958 Dress

November 13, 2011

I bought this fabric over 18 months ago after a trip to Australia to visit my boyfriend’s parents. I loved it so much when I saw it made up in a shirtdress and I was really tempted to buy it…but it was around £100 then and I simply couldn’t afford it. I thought about it and thought about it and probably drove my boyfriend to distraction talking about it and then I realised I could just make one myself! Don’t you just love being able to sew sometimes?

When I got back to Sunny England I made sure I bought myself a whole lot of this Alexander Henry tattoo Print Fabric. I really wanted it in black, like the shirtdress I’d found (unfortunately, I can’t find a picture of it online), but I couldn’t get it so I satisfied myself with the tea colour which, probably suits me better anyway!

I also had this Vogue 2958 pattern hanging around which I’d bought mainly for the trouser pattern. After pondering over my stash of patterns (and there are quite a few…) I changed my mind about doing the shirtdress and went for this full skirted one instead. And I think it looks really well!

I traced it then made a muslin out of it. Then I made another one. Then another one. The problem I had with this pattern (and really, the only problem) was that it was hard to make a full bust adjustment on a cupped top.

Butchered pattern piece

Butchered Pattern Piece

Clearly, I just don’t know how to do it properly! As most commercial patterns are fitted for a B cup I knew before I even began that this pattern wouldn’t even get half way down by bust, but I started off making it that way to see what I needed to do. Thankfully, you aren’t going to be subjected to any of these muslin photos as they are just too…revealing.

My second muslin gave me pointyness even 80s Madonna would’ve been proud to sport. I rethought my adjustments. (Actually, I just went “Argh! What if I do this?!”, which is why I can’t point out exactly what I did to get the almost perfect fit I achieved).

My third and final muslin worked out great! Now, I just had to face cutting into the beloved, treasured tattoo fabric. This fabric is one of those pedestal fabrics I’m sure we all have sitting in our stashes (I have another: my Echino bird print fabric which I still can’t bring myself to wash, never mind  start cutting!) and I was absolutely terrifed about getting it wrong. I mean, look at the gorgeous print on this:

The swallows!

The hearts!

The butterflies!

Well, besides all that it worked out really well.

The only downsides I can really think of with this pattern are the difficult FBA that’s needed and the sheer volume of fabric required. Because it has a full circle skirt and is past the knee it takes around 5 metres of fabric to complete it. I do have a fair few scraps left over, some that are fairly sizeable, but it does take a lot of cutting and a lot of laying out if your fabric has a one way print. Oh, and the hand stictching – my fingers were numb for abround a day after I finished it!

When all is said though, it is one of my most proud makes. That’s not just because of the fabric, but because of the fit and the extensive handstitching I did (the horeshair braid hem took me the whole of “Gremlins 2” – with adverts – and part of “Rome” to do. 6 metres of blind hemming. 6 metres!) and the best invisible zip I have ever inserted. I don’t know what it was about this dress – maybe it was because I was so scared of ruining it!

(Pardon the terrible phone pictures – my camera batteries just went kaput!)

Well, to summarise: I love it! The pattern was very easy to follow, the dress fits great and it looks fabulous with and without a full petticoat underneath. I would really recommend it to anyone – so long as you don’t mind the 5 metres of fabric it takes to make it!

Now, I just need somewhere exciting to wear it…

  1. Marie Irshad permalink
    November 13, 2011 11:22 pm

    Just stunning.

  2. JuliaDBennett permalink
    November 13, 2011 11:37 pm

    Aw thank you Marie! I’ll get some proper pictures of it with and without the petticoat and post them. My camera always breaks on me at the important moments!

  3. November 14, 2011 12:43 am

    I love it too! I admit to a weakness for bustier dresses. Your fabric choice really gives it that extra bit of sass, LOL. Great work and congratulations for lowering the pedestal, so worth it! I should emulate you. I have an eyelet holy trinity I’ve been worshiping from afar for a while now…(cute shoes, btw)

    • JuliaDBennett permalink
      November 14, 2011 7:17 am

      I can’t even begin to tell you how terrified I was of cutting into that fabric! It’s not perfect around the bust still, but there’s a good bit of support in it, which is nice. It’s not boned so I’d give it extra points for the comfort factor too.

      Those shoes were such a good find. I got them from River Island (they are still available I think) in amongst a whole lot of weird shoes with chains and rivets and God knows what attached. They were genuinely the only pair of shoes in the shop I would’ve even tried on. And they’re available in red, but sold out in my size sadly. The red would have been perfect with this dress too!

  4. November 14, 2011 1:06 am

    Yes, stunning! I love the full skirt and the fit looks perfect.

    • JuliaDBennett permalink
      November 14, 2011 7:18 am

      Thank you! i’m really happy with the fit – it’s close enough to look good without being restrictive, thankfully! With all those Christmas parties coming up I’ll thank myself for that in the end!

  5. November 14, 2011 4:57 am

    I want to ask my boss for a few days off, book a plane ticket, fly to England, stuff my bra (sad size B), steal your dress and go out on the town. I love it so much. It’s going on my Pintrest board.

    • JuliaDBennett permalink
      November 14, 2011 7:13 am

      This could definitely be a contender for best comment ever!

      And if you ever manage to do all those things, I’ll give you the dress!d That’s dedication….

  6. ashleigh permalink
    November 14, 2011 5:34 am

    love the fabric, and what a perfect dress for it!

    • JuliaDBennett permalink
      November 14, 2011 7:19 am

      Thank you! I’m glad I didn’t make the shirtdress out of it now: I don’t think it would’ve had the same impact at all!

  7. November 14, 2011 8:39 am

    LOVE this! It’s such an amazing use of that print pattern! Such a fantastic shape!! YAY!

    • JuliaDBennett permalink
      November 14, 2011 8:21 pm

      Thanks Debi! This shape is one of the best on me. It does wonders for pretending my hips are actually smaller than they are. Not to mention the thighs…

  8. lazystitcher permalink
    November 14, 2011 9:22 am

    What a gorgeous result!

    • JuliaDBennett permalink
      November 14, 2011 8:22 pm

      Thank you! As you can probably tell I absolutely love it!

  9. November 14, 2011 6:21 pm

    What a fantastic make, and that fabric is to die for!! Gorgeous!

    • JuliaDBennett permalink
      November 14, 2011 8:22 pm

      Thanks Suzy. Am I wrong, or did you buy a similar fabric in Ditto on our excursion to Brighton?

  10. tabathatweedie permalink*
    November 15, 2011 8:51 am

    Amazing work. LOVE IT! Well done.

  11. Rae Gilderthorp permalink
    May 27, 2015 4:12 pm

    Perfect fit! I suppose you could have taken an old bra to bits to get the fit you wanted but hey that’s just lovely! Just about to make this myself with a D cup! Thanks for the pictures very helpful – ps that fabric is so unusual. Love it.


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