M6460: Melbourne Cup Carnival Outfit Planning

Peeps, I’ve been invited to spend Crown Oaks Day in a Marquee – squee!!! Besides being entirely unprecedented, I mean – since when do engineers get invited to these fancy soiree type things? (In case you were wondering, the answer to that is an emphatic neverUsually events like this are the territory of more publicly inclined professions. Regardless, it means I need a hat and an appropriate outfit – PRONTO.

For the non-Australian readership (maybe even non-Victorian), Oaks day is the third day in the Melbourne Cup Spring Racing Carnival, traditionally known as ‘ladies day’. This year it’s the 152nd Melbourne Cup Carnival, and its a big enough deal that all Victorian’s get a public holiday on the day of the ‘race that stops a nation’. Or something like that.

Horse racing might be the main attraction for some, but for those like myself, it’s all about the people watching. There’s a dress code, the fashions on the field contest and lets not forget – the celebrities on display:

dita von teese
Dita Von Teese, photo care of the today network

Drool. Oh how I wish she was coming back again this year! ….And right down to the ‘why are you even famous?’ grade, of which I’m not even going to deign to show a photo of.

Keeping in mind that this is a ‘work’ function (so no extensive displays of décolletage or hems shorter than that which I’d normally wear to work), I’ve got a copycat of Erica B’s yellow mellow dress in mind… 

Although I’m still on the fence as to whether to go sleeve-less or sleeve-more. I will be using (from my stash) a blue-toned blood red silk/cotton voile overlayed with a white geometric lace, appropriately named ‘racy lacey’!


I’m planning to have the lace on the outside as a dress in itself, ‘lined’ with the voile which will imply the sweetheart neckline (which I’ve discovered I like on me a lot more than I thought I would… maybe I should try the macaron dress after all?), so a few pattern changes will be required. It also needs a vent, otherwise stairs will be impossible to navigate.

But before I’d even got the toile underway I’d already come across a snag. This McCalls pattern has cup sizes, which you think would be a good thing. They have you measure your full bust, then upper bust, and the difference between the two dictates your cup size according to the pattern. This indicated I would be an A/B cup – a measurement I don’t think I’ve ever been! I decided to go ahead with it though, and it was pretty much spot on. I think then that the term ‘cup sizes’ is a little misleading? I’d be really curious to hear from others who have sewn patterns with cup sizes. 

I still have to take out some excess fabric at the arm, but this is a standard alteration for me these days. It’s been a while since I’ve posted a muslin photo, so in the interests of keepin’ it real – my super glamorous (and inside-out) grainy toile photo indicates it still needs some work done. 

M6460 Muslin
Damn you, low-light conditions. Thank goodness we now have some daylight in the evening hours to look forward too!


  1. I would have thought your pleated dress would have been perfect for this occasion, but on the other hand I understand the lure of a New Dress! Don't forget to leave time for hat shopping. Kathleen

  2. Sleeve-more XDXD Also, you're looking more toned there… Also, that hat on Dita… I just went-why does she have an exploding penis on her head? I mean it's exploding from the wrong side as well… XD Sorry. Some hats crack me up.Can't wait to see your dress.

  3. i wish i could remember where i read it, but sewing-pattern cup sizes are different to buy-a-bra-in-a-shop cup sizes — I'm somewhere around a D-DD when shopping, but when sewing I'm a C. I think perhaps the coletterie may have mentioned it before…?anyway, have fun at the races! i try to go a couple of times a year and always have a great day out.

  4. oh i love the lace you have there! it's so hard to find a non-floral lace (though i have basically no occasion to wear lace so it doesn't matter…). i've never sewn from a "cup size" pattern though i've always thought it would reduce my small bust fitting work. wonder if any come in negative C cup… ha! can't wait to see yours!

  5. Oh, this is going to be way hot! Can't wait to see this on you! I've never used a cup size pattern, either, but it looks like you got a pretty decent fit right out of the gate! Really looking forward to seeing this!

  6. I LOVE your fabric choices for this. I also get a very different (smaller) cup size in those patterns than I wear in real life. So, I think that it's typical.

  7. What a lovely choice of fabrics and of dress style. I haven't used the cup size patterns for myself yet, so that's a handy tip. And I also think sleeve more.

  8. Yup, I'm leaning more towards sleeve-more as well. hahahaha, nah, I'm always muscle-y/stocky, without even trying! I think it's rather appropriate her hat looks like an exploding penis… no? I'm gunna be burning the midnight oil to pull this outfit off in time!!

  9. You know, you're probably right. But I have the fabric… the idea was already in my head… I'm already time poor, so naturally this seems like the right thing to do!!! :)

  10. I'd better moderate the dolling-up, else I'll frighten my co-workers. I wore a dress on 'casual friday' once and they were all like spooked horses. I think its safe to say I shan't be wearing a penis on my head.

  11. Thanks Lisa… I'm so glad I broke my 'no-fabric-purchases-for-the-rest-of-the-year' promise to buy that lace… it sold out the next day!! Obviously the words cup size are misleading… got more to do with the upper-bust measurement?

  12. I've been dreaming of lace lately so your design is already in the winning circle to me.Cup sizes are a mystery to me as well.I'm looking forward to seeing your dress/outfit evolve.What a great opportunity.

  13. That fabric is amazing! I'm an a-cup in patterns but a c-cup in real life ….. the first time I used a cup size pattern post-breastfeeding I almost died when I measured an a-cup. Then I got measured for a bra at myer and was a 'c'.

  14. This is going to be fabulous! Sewing for an occasion is always such a treat! I sewed a bra this past spring where I measured in as an A cup but I've always worn a C bra. The bra didn't fit. At all. I don't know whats up with that, or how it applies to your situation, but there ya go!

  15. Hi Melanie, As one who has been to the Melbourne Cup Racing Carnival as a guest due to my husband being an engineer, I learnt one thing!!! Be prepared for cold weather!! I made my outfits for all the times I went and I learnt that whatever I made I could possibly need to match it with a coat. Otherwise, do all your people watching in your gorgeous outfit (and I know that whatever you make will be gorgeous)sitting next to a cafe heater. It is such a fun day even when you don't watch the horses roaring by. I am looking forward to seeing what you will present to us.

  16. Love the style (I vote for sleeve-more) and fabrics you're going for.I don't think 'cup size' is the right terminology either. I normally wear a G-cup, and find that a D-sized pattern works well. Because it's based on the difference between high/full bust, it differs from bras which are based on full/underbust.

  17. Oh, good to know, this might be why I get confused with some of the drafting books too. ding-a-ling, as I was typing, I remembered the McGunn book that says you have a dart for the diff. betw. u.bust and bust and another dart for the diff. betw. bust and ribcage – I guess these pattern cup sizes are the first one. I own some of these patterns but I'm yet to use them.

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