With the smell of baking in the air, the sound of bottles of cava popping, and the sight of fairy lights twinkling on lovingly decorated Christmas tees everywhere in sight, that can only mean one thing...the festive season is upon us!

Although I can be a bit of a Scrooge, I secretly love this time of year. The coziness, the warmth, kindness and giving. It’s all a bit cute really, isn’t it?! With two small children, I have an excuse to really get into the thick of it all. I’ve made our matching Christmas pyjama bottoms which we shall wear with horrendously tacky Christmas jumpers on Christmas morning, and it dawned on me that I don’t actually have anything to wear for any festive do’s around this time that doesn’t have a cartoon Santa or Reindeer on it. I needed a festive party outfit and I needed it stat.

I wanted something elegant. Something that I wouldn’t usually wear because it’s so beautiful that the fear of tiny sticky hands leaving permanent stains scares me half to death. I wanted an outfit to make me feel beautiful and special and actually, proud. An occasion piece. I don’t, and have never, owned anything special enough to be classed as ‘occasion wear’. Although I make a lot of clothes, I always go for practicality and something that I’ll get a lot of wear out of day-to-day. I’ve never allowed myself to indulge in making something special, that I can pull out of my wardrobe once or twice a year, and feel instantly amazing in.

So, I set about to make myself my dream festive, party attire. It had to be a dress, of course. I don’t wear many dresses because they’re not really that practical for my daily life, so that would be special in itself. I had my eye on the Myostosis Dress Pattern by Deer and Doe for a while. The ruffles, the shape, the neckline...everything about it was exactly what I wanted. It even has pockets. POCKETS! Can it get any better than that? I was a little weary that the ruffles would swamp my 5ft 3” frame or make my pear shape look even wider than it is, but throwing caution to the wind for the sake of the wow factor and stepping out of my comfort zone, I settled on the Myostosis dress pattern without too much persuasion.

Now, when I was searching for a fabric, I had a pretty strict list of wishes. It had to be a wintery, festive colour. It needed to be lovely to sew, so probably a natural fibre such as linen or cotton. It needed to not have a print that detracted from the beautiful shape of the dress, but it needed to have that added little ‘something’ that would make it special.

Well, you can imagine how thrilled I was when I stumbled across the Atelier Brunette Stardust embroidered double cotton gauze fabric! This fabric is arguably my favourite fabric that I’ve ever seen. It’s available in the most stunning earthy-toned natural colours, and it is covered in a smattering of little embroidered gold dots all over. A simple, yet special, fabric. Exactly what I wanted! I went with the Forest colour way (although I did ponder over the black version) because that shade of green is perfection if you ask me (and festive! Double win!).

I prewashed my fabric first, just in case any shrinking would occur and I cannot explain how beautifully soft this fabric is! As it’s a double cotton gauze, it’s like two layers of slightly textured cotton that have been stuck together. So it’s soft, but it also has a pretty good handle too. It’s perfect for this style of dress actually because the fabric is soft enough the gather without lots of bulk, it drapes perfectly, but it still has enough body to keep the structure of the dress and not feel too lightweight and flimsy. The fabric feels super expensive but it’s so reasonably priced!

When it came to cutting the pattern out and get ready to begin cutting my dress, I spent some time making sure I picked the right size. My body measurements fall into the biggest size, but Deer and Doe have thoughtfully included the finished garment measurements on the pattern packet which I find so useful. The finished garment measurements can tel you how much ease has been built in. The finished garment measurements for the biggest size showed me that the dress has quite a bit of ease built in, probably a bit more than I wanted and so I threw caution to the wind and cut two sizes smaller. As I’m a pear shape I am smaller on my top half. And as this dress has a gathered bottom half I could assume that as long as the top half fit, I wouldn’t have any issues with the spacious bottom half.

Sewing the dress was really enjoyable. I took my time, made sure I pressed the dress at each seam (this fabric presses like a dream by the way!) because I wanted this dress to be something that would last for years. Taking my time over the little things that I usually rush through was almost therapeutic. The instructions come in a little booklet and they are the best instructions for a pattern that I have ever followed. I didn’t come across any part that didn’t make sense and each step along the way has really detailed illustrations that I found incredibly useful when sewing the collar. 

All in all, I think I spent around 4 hours sewing. There’s a lot of gathering that’s happening in View A of the Myostosis dress! One thing to note is that the fabric does fray a bit on the cut edges, so when I was gathering the long rectangles for the skirt section, it did interrupt my gathering process a few times when some loose frayed fibres from the cut edge got caught up in my gathering threads. Not too much of an issue and after slowing down with my gathering, it didn’t cause any huge problems, but just something to be aware of and note down for next time. 

The dress calls for three buttons for the bodice and I happen to have a hefty stash of buttons already. I’m like a button magpie - I pick them up on my travels whenever I see some unique ones. I was going to opt for some gold glittery buttons but I didn’t want to detract from the beautiful gold embroidered dots of the fabric, and so I picked my favourite buttons from my stash. I bought them in Amsterdam, and they’re actually navy blue but they seem to take on the green tone of the fabric now that they’ve been sewn into place which is lovely. They are simple round buttons with a yet simpler gold curved line, which to me looks like a crescent moon. I have a bit of a love affair with the moon, so my crescent moon bottoms paired with the full moon-esque gold dots on the fabric...it really has become my dream dress!

I’m so happy to say that the dress fits my perfectly. I’m so glad I went down a couple of sizes, as I think if it was oversized it would not have suited me as well. But I absolutely love how it fits. I was worried that all of the ruffles would be too much, but it manages to keep a shape and figure while still feeling swooshy and lovely. I know that this is going to be an item of clothing that I will treasure, I will proudly wear it every festive season (or any other occasion I can find an excuse to wear it!) for years to come. 

My daughter told me I look like a princess, which is obviously a massive compliment from any three year old! And I must say, I do feel rather regal wearing it. I haven’t worn it out yet, I’m waiting for a Christmas meal at the weekend to give it its debut, but in the mean time I’ve been wearing it at least twice a day to stand and twirl in front of the mirror. And just when I think a handmade dress can’t get any better than this, I remember it had pockets! And I fall in love with it all over again.