Sewing an autumn fairy puff dress

Disclaimer: I received the organza fabric from Minerva as part of their ambassador program in exchange for a post on my Minerva profile page.

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Early on in my sewing journey I saw one of the lovely Selkie puff dresses, but as I couldn’t afford it at the time thought to myself how difficult it would be to make one myself. I’ve always been quite keen on challenges like this and before our trip to Islay I actually had my first go at sewing organza. That dress turned out okay in the front – but is an absolute mess in the back. There were a lot of things I learned during the process that helped my continued sewing journey. And now almost a year after my sewing journey began, I decided to give it a go again!

The Materials

Pattern: McCalls 8108 £11.50

8m Bronze Organza Fabric £31.92

4m Anti-Static Lining Fabric £11.96

Sewing Thread £1.59

White Elastic £2

Zipper £2.25

Total: £49.72 + £11.50

The process

Since I am an ambassador for Minerva I get an email each month with a list of fabrics where we can choose one in exchange for a post on our Minerva profile. I saw this copper autumn leaf organza a few months ago and immediately thought of a puff dress design, however I didn’t choose it that time. The following two months I kept seeing this fabric but didn’t choose it until the third month when I thought that if no-one has taken it yet, perhaps it was meant for me.

I spent a lot of time looking at puff dresses and the Selkie dresses online to try and figure out what I wanted to do with my design and how to achieve the look. Last time I tried both gathering a long rectangle and to do a circle skirt but the result wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. This time I found an excellent video from Half Soy Bean where she did double circle skirts for her puff dress and that was exactly what I had been wanting. So I did two organza double skirts and one from the lining fabric. Also highly recommend her YouTube channel for other sewing videos – I have already learned so much from her and the projects she sews are fascinating.

For the bodice I had seen the McCalls 8108, which was similar, although slightly longer, than the reference photos I had. I thought this might work better for my fuller bust and I am really happy with how it turned out. The sleeves are from the Schultz Apparel Minna pattern and I added the shirring to give it more of a renaissance vibe. The biggest issue I had was how to make the bodice stay up and the elastic wasn’t enough to carry it so I also added fairly wide shoulder straps made from the lining fabric that are hiding under the sleeves. The dark panel on the sleeves was also some improvisation because I had forgotten that organza is see through and my white elastic would be very visible. However I like how this detail turned out and it just added another little touch of colour.

puff dress

The only thing I would’ve changed is that I would’ve preferred the skirt slightly longer but that would’ve probably meant making double circle skirts out of half circles and more fabric. Although I am thrilled with how it turned out and wore it to Afternoon Tea at The Signet Library where I got so many compliments for it. The positive feedback meant so much because I really felt how this project summaries everything I’ve learned throughout the past year and I’m proud of how far I’ve come.

Want to read more about my sewing adventures?

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Moa Nilsson

Adventurous Swede with a fondness for castles, snow and vintagesque experiences.

Scandinavian Abroad

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