Ta dah! I got my dress finished in time for the weekend at the weekend. It's from the same 1950s pattern as my blue and white duvet cover dress.
The main differences between the dresses are that on this one I made bias binding for the neckline and armholes using the same material (instead of plain shop bought bias), and I added horsehair braid to the hem - my first time doing this. The braid gives the bottom of the dress a more structured shape, which is appropriate for the style and era. I first saw horsehair braid on Gertie's blog, and it is really easy to use.
As this was the second time I'd made the dress and the the third time I'd made the bodice, I was able to get the fit just right.
Oooh, neat and tidy!
I also paid attention to finishing the inside of the dress to a good standard too. I turned over the edges of the bodice seams and used french seams for the skirt. I also made a piece of bias tape to enclose the join of the bodice and skirt, to keep this looking neat - I hadn't tried this before, or seen any advice on how best to finish this section of the dress, but it was a really handy way to get a good finish.
Detail of inside at join of bodice and skirt
The material I used is a printed cotton poplin from Mandors. It was £9.99 per metre, and I bought 3 metres, however I used the £40 Mandors voucher I'd bought for £16, so both the fabric and thread were covered by that. I bought the horsehair braid online. In the end I only used 2 metres of fabric so still have enough left to make something else.
The finishing touch
My outfit also included shoes from Marks & Spencer via eBay, a bag from a local vintage shop and a green bracelet from another vintage shop which I was given for free (woo hoo!). In the end my outfit of dress, shoes and bag cost less than £40, which I was delighted with - wedding outfits can get really pricey!
At the wedding (for the purpose of showing my handbag!)
I did have a near disaster in the week before the wedding, when I very nearly ruined the handbag by soaking it to remove some grubbiness, only to discover that the inner stiffening material which gave the bag its lovely shape was, in fact, cardboard! Whoops. After unpicking part of the seam to remove the sodden cardboard, I put a piece of thin plastic back inside to give the bag back its shape. This worked a treat, although the bag still wasn't perfect as it was missing some of the screws and bolts from the wood and metal frame that keep it together. It was like this when I bought it, and I hadn't been able to find any replacement screws of the right size. Thankfully it held up for the day, but it was a close thing.