Inspired: Eva Franco’s Lemon Amour Dress

Eva Franco – Lemon Amour Dress

I’ve fallen in love – with this dress by Eva Franco, from her Resort 2012 range. In fact, to steal an acronym coined by the lovely Julia Bobbin, I’ve come down with a heavy case of LOADS (lust over a dress shock). Being in the southern hemisphere means we’re generally 2 seasons behind being able to jump on the ‘latest thing’, so I’ve been desperately waiting for some warmer weather (about 6 months now) so I can copy this dress!

Along the way I’ve discovered that the white gauzy detailing at the front is called ’embroidered soutache’ – literally a sheer mesh with some kind of thread embroidered detailing. I’ve even bought two different types of it, one black on black mesh, the other an earthy mocha mesh and periwinkle blue embroidery.

September marks my birthday month, and whilst it’s not a major milestone (that’s next year) I’d like to make something special for the fancy dinner out I know Mr poppykettle has not-so-secretly organised for that particular weekend. I also have a wedding the weekend before my birthday for one of my very good friends – so I’m planning for this dress to carry me through both occasions :)

What I love is that it’s equal parts gorgeous and simple – I’m seeing a bateau neck princess seamed bodice with a lace applique, a grosgrain ribbon belt and a pleated skirt. So I’ve been doing a bit of background research into what’s required for pleating and who can do it for me.

Whilst you can successfully pleat natural fibres like silk using heat treatment, pleating will ‘hold’ for longer and with less care required when using synthetics (as is, they’ll hold better in rain and high humidity). The only fabric that’s not an option for pleating is Nylon – it has a low melt temperature so wouldn’t survive the oven experience. 

There’s a fabulous article on Threads Magazine online about pleats (you can read this here) but I also came across International Pleaters (if you’re lucky enough to live in New York) which is a great site with heaps of info on pleating types and effects. I really love the look of the pleated skirt made from striped fabric – if this experiment is successful I might try something like this later down the line!

I visited The House of Franke Stuart in Glenferrie for fabric to match my embroidered soutache – I was informed it was the supplier of choice by many mother of the brides back in the 90’s when MOTB’s wore a ‘uniform’ of a pleated skirt and matching jacket. How Droll!

Franke Stuart certainly didn’t disappoint – I went in there with the lace and my colour wheel and was greeted with a wall of delustred polyester satin’s in almost every hue and weight imaginable. Lets not even talk about the rainbow range of georgettes, dupion, duchess silks, incredible and unusual laces and lace trims available here. This appears to be THE place to go to if you’re after an after 5 frock! I had to keep looking around for the disco ball, but turns out it was just the large number of engagement rings in close proximity causing the light to refract onto the walls. I think I actually looked a little odd being there on my own as obviously each engagement ring owner was surrounded by a gaggle of girlfriends, picking out fabric for wedding and bridesmaid dresses alike. Mr Stuart himself was even roaming the floors – an elderly gentleman dressed to the nines, naturally :) 

So now I have the fabric to match the lace, all that needs to be sorted is the pleating. A quick internet search and I was calling Specialty Pleaters (in Kensington, Melbourne) to see about recreating the skirt. They were very helpful and the pleating process was surprisingly a lot less expensive than I thought. There are a myriad of different types of pleats to choose from, but the two contenders for this dress are:

THE SUNRAY PLEAT – made famous by this dress worn by Marilyn Monroe, it goes from a single point at the centre of the body and flares out. Basically – your standard circle skirt:

Black Sunray Pleat Skirt, from Vintage Vanity

THE ACCORDION PLEAT – an older style of pleat in the shape of a V, which seems to be popping up everywhere online, in shops and on pinterest at the moment:

via LifeInMyLittleBubble

You can read more about all the different pleat types on this fabulous resource by NZ Pleaters.

Based on the pictures of Eva Franco’s dress – I’m thinking it’s more a sunray pleat than an accordion pleat – which do you think?

A quick bit of housekeeping – I’m in the process of moving all the blogs I follow across to Bloglovin. I’m finding Blogger’s blog roll to be more than a bit of a pain (perhaps I just follow too many blogs!) so if you see me disappear from your follower list over the next few days – never fear! I’m still stalking you (in the most normal and socially acceptable kind of way) :P



  1. Nice! I was totally about to suggest Specialty Pleaters for the skirt , then I saw you were already onto it XD Would be interesting to know their rates, there's this really cool Burda suit with back pleating that I'd like to make but I'm wary of the lack of clearly denominated pricing lists on sites like that..

  2. I adore sunray pleats! In Season 2 of Project Runway, Daniel Vosovic made this amazing outfit with an ivory sunburst pleated skirt – I've been dreaming of recreating it ever since. I'll be following closely to see how you get on!

  3. I know someone who has used the Kensington pleaters, they provide a good service and end results look lovely, she made a full maxi skirt.I have heard of a 1-2 others if you ever need them. Can we have a sneak peek of the fabrics please? Also I work with walking distance of Franke Stuart, but try very hard not to go there very often as I part with too much money. Looking forward to seeing you this Saturday!

  4. Oh my! I can totally understand why you can down with LOADS! That dress is gorgeous! You're going to look great for your birthday and the wedding that is prior!

  5. Wow, what a fantastic dress! I'm in love with sunray pleats at the moment and I'm always a fan of a classic bateau neckline. I can't wait to see your interpretation!

  6. Hi Melanie, What a beautiful dress. I love the the simple style and I am sure you will be able to replicate this with no problems at all. We have a very good pleater here in Brisbane that I have used several times over the years and my dressmaker friend uses often. Pleating isn't an expensive process, so you won't have to spend a fortune. Good luck with making the dress and I really look forward to seeing you wear it.

  7. Gorgeous! But I love the yellow. I really enjoy how you put so much organisation, detail and construction into your sewing. Such a technical mind. I'm the opposite, I sew as a way to relax from my attention to detail and scientific brain required at work…

  8. Yeah that totally bugs me too. All the pleaters I called were stuck in the dark ages though – one wouldn't talk prices until I came into the shop! Not gunna happen dude, I've got to work you know. But at Specialty Pleaters, if your skirt is less than 90cm in length, then it's $22 per half circle for a sunray pleat. It's more if your skirt is longer. Not bad really. Whats the suit pattern?

  9. That's really good to know – I was a bit worried doing this without knowing how it would turn out… I was asking everywhere for a recommendation to no avail, so just had to jump in the deep end.You work near Franke Stuart? Lucky thing! But yes, also very dangerous!! I'm really looking forward to Saturday too. Bring it on :)

  10. What a beautiful dress! Stunning colour too. I'm so pleased you posted info on pleating, I've been wanting to investigate options in Melb for a while and boom, you've done it for me! :) Aaand, bloglovin is a great tool – good move.

  11. Your inspiration dress is gorgeous, both classic and feminine. Those pleats do look closer together at the waist than at the hem so I would agree with the sunray type. You mention that it is basically a circle skirt so I guess that means the pleating will be done on a circular piece of fabric rather than a rectangle. I would love to visit a pleating company and see how they do it. I have a degree in Ind. Engr. too. Part of the reason that field attracted me was because I loved learning how something is made. I can't wait to see the final dress

  12. Fascinating! I had no idea that you could bring fabric in to get it pleated. I always thought you just had to buy whatever pre-pleated fabrics were available, or try it yourself with vinegar. I look forward to seeing how your dress turns out! Too bad you couldn't find a lace to go with the yellow…that Eva Franco dress is so fabulously sunny!

  13. Oh, that dress is to die for and perfect for a spring day! I can't wait for spring! I didn't know that you could get pleating done, that's really useful to know, must save the link!

  14. Isn't Franke Stuart fantastic! I went there for bridesmaids dress fabric and was very pleased by the service, the range, the quality and the prices! Can't wait to see how this turns out, that dress is gorgeous.

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