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My August Minerva Make – Skulls ‘n’ Roses Dress

August 26, 2014

This month I wanted to try something a little bit different, just for kicks.  I picked a dress pattern in a style I wouldn’t normally go for, and a fabric I wouldn’t normally go for.

The dress pattern is Cynthia Rowley for Simplicity 1607:

Cynthia Rowley 1607 Envelope Front

Cynthia Rowley 1607 Envelope Front

I would say that this dress is unusual for most people due to its quirky strap placement, but for me it was also a choice outside of my normal comfort zone because it’s fitted right down to just above the hips.  I’m a pear shape and my belly isn’t exactly washboard flat, so usually I wear things that flare out at the natural waist.  But like I said, I fancied a change.

A close-up of the print

A close-up of the print

The fabric is a ‘Gothic Skulls’ print.  Novelty print fabrics are not at all unusual for me, but there are two things about it that would normally put me off: First, it’s a pale background print.  I avoid these as much as possible because I won’t be able to layer up with tights in the winter.  Second, it’s a polycotton blend.  I have no problem with plain polycottons, but I find polycotton prints fade really badly after multiple washes.  But!  I saw this print and thought it would be fun for a summer dress with crazy straps.  It was all coming together in an 80s New Romantic kinda way (minus the androgyny).  If I still had my DMs I’d have worn them for the photos.

Cynthia Rowley 1607

Cynthia Rowley 1607

I chose an ivory polycotton to line the dress with.  I only envisaged lining the bodice, but in the end I fully lined the dress and had buy an extra metre of fabric.  Unfortunately I bought white rather than the ivory, but as it’s on the inside it doesn’t matter too much I guess!

Fully lined!

Fully lined!

I made a toile of the bodice, midriff and yoke, and made a minor adjustment of sewing the side seams at 3/8″ instead of 5/8″ as it was pretty tight-fitting!  Once I had adjusted the toile, I used it as my lining.

The toile

The toile

I didn’t toile the straps, and I’m glad I didn’t because to sew them twice would have been soul destroying!  Even though I had everything labelled, it took me a good few hours just to work the straps out and sew them.



The finished dress is still a bit snug, if I’m honest.  There are wrinkles and the fabric rides up a bit over my hips.  But hey, I’ve seen worse, and it isn’t uncomfortably tight, and I’m totally going to wear this to my friend’s hen party on Friday night.


Tada!  This is me with NO MAKE UP ON.

It took me a while to figure out what bra I could wear under this.  In the majority of photos I’m not even wearing one, but it felt a bit porno to be honest.  I eventually worked out that my multiway bra works with the straps crossed over at the front but normal at the back.  Feels a bit strange but it seems to work!

The back!

The back!

The straps do shift around quite a bit when wearing this dress, and when they move out of position they look a bit odd.  I’ll probably end up continually readjusting them!  I’d like to try the other version of this dress which has a more simple strap formation.  I like the skirt a lot, even though I thought I wouldn’t be comfortable with the fitted yoke over the stomach and hips.

New dress SQUEE

New dress SQUEE

Thanks to Minerva for the fabric, lining, zip and pattern!

  1. beebeesvintagedress permalink
    August 26, 2014 12:37 pm

    I love that style on you! Those straps look brilliant, so unusual.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 26, 2014 8:06 pm

      Thank you! They definitely are unusual!

  2. August 26, 2014 12:39 pm

    That is incredibly cool! I’ve eyed off that pattern every time I look through the Big 4 pattern books, but am too chicken to try it.
    That picture of the instructions for the straps is the stuff of nightmares!
    Well done, it suits you really well.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 26, 2014 8:07 pm

      Thank you. Maybe it’s worth a try for you then?

  3. August 26, 2014 1:31 pm

    It looks fab, I love this pattern, I have considered it once or twice myself. Seeing your results has made me put it on my wish list. Well Done!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 26, 2014 8:08 pm

      Ooh, I would love to see a version made by you!

  4. August 26, 2014 2:38 pm

    This is my kind of dress! Wow! This sounds like the straps alone took a lot of effort, I’m not sure I’d make it as it looks stressful but I’d most definitely wear it. Great job

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 26, 2014 8:09 pm

      Thanks! The straps were a lot of effort! I think I’ll try the other view next time.

      • August 26, 2014 8:21 pm

        At least you can say you’ve done and yh I’d like to see that version too.

  5. August 26, 2014 3:11 pm

    Oh I love this!!! It’s just gorgeous.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 26, 2014 8:10 pm

      It is a lovely pattern. That’s my second Cynthia Rowley make – I’ll be on the lookout for any others that take my fancy!

  6. August 26, 2014 3:50 pm

    Your red bob goes crazy with the print and the design! Great wandering outside your comfort zone 🙂

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 26, 2014 8:11 pm

      Thanks! I’ve been dying my hair red for about 7 or 8 years now, and I’m actually getting a little tired of it. I might go back to brown…or try purple first! 🙂

  7. stitchedupsam permalink
    August 26, 2014 4:04 pm

    I loved this pattern the first time I saw it, and your version is gorgeous! Those crossed straps look as if they were a bit mind boggling to sew, but totally worth it. Fantastic!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 26, 2014 8:12 pm

      Mind-boggling, definitely! It’s nice to have something a bit different though.

  8. Steph permalink
    August 26, 2014 4:08 pm

    That is fantastic, it really suits you and the fabric is so quirky and cute. Loving those straps.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 26, 2014 8:12 pm

      Thanks Steph. I’m pleased with how the fabric looks in a dress this style.

  9. August 26, 2014 4:39 pm

    I think this looks lovely on you – it’s very flattering and the fabric is great!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 26, 2014 8:13 pm

      Thanks Lara!

  10. August 26, 2014 5:14 pm

    It is fabulous. I love the straps, and it works so well in the fabric too!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 26, 2014 8:14 pm

      Thank you, it has worked out nicely. The straps give the dress a quirky vibe.

  11. August 26, 2014 7:22 pm

    Oh my goodness: the pattern for the straps makes my brain melt. Well done for working it out and making such a gorgeous dress!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 26, 2014 8:15 pm

      I know, tell me about it!!! Thanks.

  12. August 26, 2014 9:03 pm

    Looks really good!

  13. August 26, 2014 9:18 pm

    This pattern to me looks so complicated, but it came out awesome! 🙂

  14. August 26, 2014 10:46 pm

    Love it. I’ve been put off the lower waistline but it looks amazing on you

    • August 27, 2014 3:02 pm

      Thanks Lizzy! It doesn’t look as bad as I thought it might 👍

      • August 28, 2014 12:41 am

        Lol my dear it doesn’t look ‘bad’ at all. I’d say ‘awesome’.

  15. August 26, 2014 11:02 pm

    Love the dress, and while it’s a bit tight, it’s very flattering on your shape–MOAR drop waist dresses for you!! 😉 And those straps!! They might be soul destroying, but the décolleté looks fan-blooming-tastic! 🙂

    • August 27, 2014 3:04 pm

      Hahaha thanks! 😀 I’ll definitely be trying out the other view of the pattern at some point!

  16. August 27, 2014 1:55 pm

    Oh, it’s fab! I love everything about it and I’m amazed at how flattering it looks! I too choose silhouettes like you do for the same reasons too, but this makes such a nice change and the gamble has totally paid off. And how great does the full lining look!?!

    • August 27, 2014 3:06 pm

      Thank you Marie. I am pleased with how it turned out! It definitely feels more like a party dress than a regular day dress though!

  17. August 27, 2014 4:38 pm

    Wow! This dress is brilliant. The straps are lovely, but they are giving me a head ache just thinking about how to make them, so I take my hat off to you for actually doing it! I also love the style, it looks great on you; and the fabric is amazing.

    • August 29, 2014 3:33 pm

      Thanks Lynne. The straps were certainly puzzling but I got there in the end!

  18. August 28, 2014 2:21 pm

    Awesome Louise. Those strap instructions made me shudder, but I really like how they look on the finished dress. The inside is glorious, as usual. Hope you had a fun hen do 🙂 x

  19. August 29, 2014 8:33 am

    I hear you on the silhouette of this dress, I tend to shy away from fitted around my waist. I love the straps. While the instructions look a little overwhelming at first sight, they are definitely worth the effort.

  20. September 9, 2014 2:10 pm

    omg it turned out so cute!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      September 9, 2014 4:25 pm

      Thanks 🙂

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