Accessorize PLEASE….

Note to self…please, please, pleeeeeease start looking for some decent accessories. And that means skinny belts, clutches, and the like! Now, this isn’t a new revelation on my part, but I think this was the dress ‘that broke the camels back’. It is actually a beautiful dress. It fits wonderfully, the fabric is divine, and I really love the style. BUT…it is just crying out for a skinny belt, maybe some nice chunky heels, and…well, I’m completely open to suggestions actually! I knew this when I tried it on, but given the possibility we could be moving overseas soon, I’m in the process of destashing, NOT buying stuff. So this is why I decided to take some photos anyway.

And by the way, my somber facial expressions are me trying not to wince each time I take an awkward step. Obviously I would be useless at poker! Inside that shoe, my foot is black and blue. I think I broke my little toe the day before while chasing a rug-rat through the house.


I used to be much better at accessorizing. Certainly, before having children, I felt safe wearing dangly earrings and heels. I had the time to choose bangles, belts and bags for each outfit, let alone shop for them in the first place. I’m not saying I can’t find the time now, but I am very much out of practice and the accessory department of my wardrobe has dwindled to virtually zilch over the past five years.

Now back to this dress. I must have walked past this particular roll of fabric on at least six separate visits to Tessuti Fabrics before I finally plucked up the courage to purchase it. I think the main reason for my trepidation was the idea of having to match up all those lines. I was also a bit nervous about fitting a shirt block in woven fabric. But I am so glad I did take it home. And as it turns out, I am actually pretty happy with how I managed to match up some of the main lines, particularly the centre front. 

The fabric is a beautiful cotton sateen. It has a tiny little bit of stretch which makes it perfect for fitted (comfortable) shirts. I wish my photos were able to show the lovely sheen better.

It took me positively ages to choose those buttons. They are white/pearlescent in colour, with round edges and square impressions which I thought matched the grid pattern perfectly. And my lengthy indecision at the buttons and everywhere else in the store meant I was also lucky enough to meet Claire (a fellow blogger). You just never know who you will run into at your favourite fabric haunts! 

I love the length of this dress. At my height (5″10) it is virtually impossible for me to find a true-to-the-floor maxi dress. I could have possibly made this dress longer. But in view of wearing flats and fitting it into my actual (and not fantasy) lifestyle, I cut it a little shorter. I discovered a trick when hemming this dress. (I will admit that I can be lazy when hemming and often choose a machine stitch over hemming by hand) I serged the edge of the hem first with the tension a little off so the edge gathered ever so slightly. So when I pressed the hem up, the flared hem pressed neatly all around for stitching without having to make any pleats in it. 

I am most proud of the fit I achieved in the bodice. It was my own pattern, and it took several muslins to get it right, particularly the fit across the back, shoulder slope, armscye depth and sleeve width. Yep, shirt fitting has been my nemesis for some time now and I was determined to see this one through to the end, no matter how many little adjustments and Googling it took!

The only thing I would change about this dress is the pockets. They are neat enough and will certainly be useful to my lifestyle, but next time I would make them a little deeper and I would use self-fabric instead. With my current pockets, you get glimpses of the white pocket bags. It’s a nice white Italian shirting though, so I think I can deal with it, or if it bothers me too much, I might stitch them up.

I think I love this dress. I can see it being a great work dress in the cooler weather. The right accessories might even pull it together for a dinner out. 

14 thoughts on “Accessorize PLEASE….

  1. little betty

    I share your accessorizing problems. I have sandals and flat shoes and only a handful of necklaces. I do have belts though. Lovely workmanship. You are really smashing out garments these days.


  2. poppykettle

    Just 'discovered' your blog and totally loving your makes and style. What a dress!!!! So striking and the black and white grid fabric is rather a bit special. You look great 🙂


  3. Kirsty

    This dress is stunning and despite your broken toe, you look just so stylish in it. Oh to have a slew of skinny belts in the wardrobe ! Hope the toe is better soon.


  4. Courtney Pash

    Agree with all the previous comments. The dress is absolutely gorgeous! I wish there was a pattern for this as I would love to make something l similar, but could never draft a pattern this tailored. Nice Job!



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