With the Royal Wedding Celebrations today, it’s reminded me that yes, we are in that season – Summer Occasional Dress Season. It’s the time of year when we need a gorgeous outfit for a wedding, party or for that special night out on holiday.

I find shopping for the unique dress that no-one else will wear on the high street…exhausting. So this post is all about a great Dress Pattern, beautiful Fabric and the availability to make your own one of a kind outfit in one evening.

When I ordered the blue floral stretch sateen, I couldn’t wait to get sewing. It’s a large all over pattern with a slight stretch and it feels so soft to stitch with. It didn’t fray when stitching and was just a dream to handle. I loved the fabric as it meant that the dress could be stitched in a classic, simple but flattering pattern. I stitched view B but added view C’s sleeves and a customised bow. I ordered 2 metres of fabric as I wanted a longer length skirt and some way of customising to my style.

I was recommended New Look 6261 as the perfect occasional dress pattern for statement print fabrics by a friend. The pattern has just five pieces and I made a size 12 which I added on six inches to the length. I stitched it with a 70 needle to avoid snagging.

I was tempted to take a few inches in on the side seams but I’m 14 weeks pregnant with my second child. The stretch fabric will mean that’ll be able to wear this dress a little longer and as my body is changing (mostly around my rib cage and bust at the mo!) I felt like I had a flattering dress for my new body shape. And when baby is here, I can adjust the seams in!

Let’s talk about this classic dress design, the tunic style dress has front and back and bust darts with a 22in zipper at the back. If you’ve read my posts before I do love a dress with a zip in the back for a good fit. The neckline is scooped with a choice of two sleeve lengths and an option for a lace over lay.

I felt that I wanted to add to the design, so whilst sketching up ruffles and pleated sleeve designs, I opted for a classic bow. The people I’ve showed the dress to have said firstly that they love the bow before anything else. I feel it finishes off the dress.

To make a similar bow for your dress, take two pieces of fabrics, 10 x 50cm and 20 x 10cm. You should have enough from the 2 metres.

Taking the large piece of fabric right sides together, fold lengthways and stitch around the edges leaving a little gap to turn. Turn and hand stitch closed and press. Taking the smaller piece of fabric fold lengthwise again into three pieces and wrap around your rectangle to create a bow. Play around with the bow gathers and stitch this piece of fabric in place as above. I stitched mine just below collar bone but try on your dress and position before stitching.

Even though the pattern doesn’t say this is a beginners/easy pattern; with the clear instructions, clear pattern markings and no pattern adjustments, this would be the perfect first occasional dress. Pick a statement print from Minerva Crafts and enjoy stitching.

One thing you will know, is you will be the only one in that dress at your next party!


Samantha writes a creative blog www.crafternoonteas.com and hosting Crafternoon Tea Parties; vintage craft events and workshops in the Midlands, UK and beyond www.crafternoonteahostess.co.uk