M6460: Ladies who Lunch



Hello dears! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? And before you ask, no – my brief disappearance and re-emergence is not due to a pregnancy. But aren’t we having quite the sewing blogger baby boom right now? Congrats to all the expecting mums :)

So. Isn’t it funny how sometimes you come across a particular style, then as soon as you’ve ‘noticed’ it, you start seeing the same concept just about everywhere??? I’m talking about lace yokes, which bring us to my second Frocktober edition (although rather a lot behind schedule) which has been in creative development ever since I saw Erica B’s bright yellow creation. And I’m so shameless I even copied her cutout at the back (the fabric belt is from the Colette Peony pattern). The first week of November always sees Melburnians being bombarded with images of glamourously made up ladies at the races, being Spring Racing Season and all. And everywhere I look, I’m seeing lace yokes combined with heart-shaped necklines.



My Oaks day experience was by no means short on drama:
0845 – Finish sewing on the button at the back, as well as the bar and tacks on the belt (Dress was finished at around 2230 the night before).

0850 – attempt at applying basic makeup (lipstick, mascara and a wee bit of liquid eyeliner). Fail. Wipe it off and get lucky on the second go around.

0915 – Walk around the corner to pick up the hat I had made by a local milliner, with my fabrics so it exactly matched the dress. Milliner accidentally spills coffee on my hat, ruining it. She lets me have anything I want in the shop – unfortunatley, the only thing that matches is slightly less in-your-face than I had wanted. Such is the way things are.

0930 – Meet with one of my best uni buddies at the Euro Patisserie a few doors down from the milliner. He consoles me with a slice of lemon meringue and a peppermint tea to go. 

0945 – Spill peppermint tea to go down the front of my dress, 2 meters from my front door. Run to laundry and grab the Sard Wonder soap. Sard soap initially turns peppermint tea stain fluorescent green, before eventually fading away into something probably I will only ever notice. Hairdryer works wonders transforming the sopping fabric back to dry status. Change necklace to my gingko biloba leaf one that perfectly covers up the affected area.

1000 – Best bud snaps the shots you seen here in the street around the corner (Belle- these are for you! Recognise the street?), before racing off to meet two inventors he’s looking at investing in at 1030.

1120 – Arrive at Flemington Racecourse. Eventually find my way to where I’m supposed to be, which requires crossing the race track. It looks like this:

Flemington Race Course

1130 – Begin schmoozing in the Winners Circle. The biggest perk? Being the corporate area, the line to the gents is waaaay longer than the line to the ladies. Very easily achieved when there is NO line in the ladies. Awesome!

1201 – First glass of champagne. Schmoozing and boozing begins in earnest.

1330 – Decide the longevity and wearability of my favourite red lippy has been compromised by accidentally leaving it in the car on numerous high-temperature days. Proud to have received several uninvited compliments on the dress.

1741 – Depart Flemington. Self congratulations are in order because I’m still wearing my heels and not the back-up flats stashed in my handbag. Lift head to the heavens briefly in thanks to the gorgeously gay man who sold me said heels, and advised me to ‘wear socks whilst wearing them in around the house’. Best shoe-wearing-in advice, ever.

The makeshift fascinator

This dress was made using a white cotton lace called ‘racy lacy talk’ (how appropos for the occasion!) from the Tessuti online store, underlined and lined with a blood red silk/cotton voile from Clegs. And a little red button from Buttonmania at the back.

I toiled of course – my first time working with cup-sizes in a pattern. Turned out I’m an ‘A’ cup size in patterns – which had me a little concerned, but thankfully it ended up a happily-ever-after. I did a LOT of basting – many thanks to Suzy from SuzyBeeSews for the lifetime supply of silk thread she sent me, and Kat from All The Whimsical Things for the fabulous seam ripper she gave me – both were used extensively for this project!! I pattern matched the sleeves, the centre back seam and the side seams, and that lining is totally bagged out. That way no-one will ever see the basting stitches holding the lace in place!

M6460 detail 1

M6460 detail 4
M6460 detail 5 M6460 detail 6

Because I didn’t underline the lace across the yoke, I used silk organza strips to stabilise the seams and hide the seam allowances. (Even more hand sewing). A great reason why you should always save your organza scraps – even the smallest pieces can be put to use. Like I needed another reason to hoard fabric! I think all up, not including the toile, this dress took a solid 5-6 days to make. Unfortunately, my sewing time has been light on recently, as has been my blog reading – and with the crazy-season nearly upon us, that isn’t set to change much. At least my blogroll is now down to about 200 new posts I’ve yet to lay my eyes upon, as opposed to something a little closer to 500!!!

I’ll leave you with the knowledge that I’ll be having a give-away in the next few days… As on Thursday it was this little blog’s very first birthday!

M6460 6



  1. That is a beautiful dress, you look gorgeous! So pretty with the red silk lining… Sorry to hear the morning was so stressful, but the rest of the day sounds pretty awesome.

  2. where to begin! wow, what a day!!! and the dress is stunning! i love, love, love all the details, the beautiful interior work… really fab! i'm so jealous of your dress, and it suits you perfectly. great work!

  3. I'm in love with that lace and the pop of the red! It's too bad that the day seemed so cursed with unfortunate beverage incidents! I'm glad it worked out though and that you didn't have to resort to your backup flats. I always wonder that too, when bloggers around that age disappear for a while…are they pregnant?! Thanks for reassuring us right off the bat :)

  4. This is beautiful! I've been really trying to come up with a good way to use some lace in upcoming projects. I've never worked with any lace before, but I keep finding myself drawn to it and have a little thrifted bit in my stash. Also, happy blog-birthday! :)

  5. I really enjoyed this post, thanks for sharing your Oaks day :)I didn't get the opportunity to attend any of the race days this year :(I really like your dress, mmm lace. Hopefully I can get the skills to make something like that one day :)x

  6. What a stunning dress. I'm loving lace at the moment and the red underlay is gorgeous. It fits beautifully and looks beautifully made….oh and you look beautiful too. What a fun day!

  7. Congratulations on a beautiful dress and I loved the little 'Day in the Life' post of your dress. Beautiful photos as well, perfect backdrop to an elegant classic dress!

  8. Oh that dress is just gorgeous! I love the photos too, the old houses are such a nice background.Thankyou for posting about using the silk organza on your seams, I figure you've bound the seams a bit like a quilt binding? I have some lovely cotton lace I want to use as a yoke and had been thinking I'd have to reinforce the seams but wasn't quite sure how to!

  9. That dress is magnificent! And the photo shoot very Melburnian. Glad, after the series of mishaps, it all went well in the end. (I also break in shoes by wearing them with socks round the house – but they tend to be hiking boots, rather than heels!)- Oanh

  10. Whoa- that is one cray cray day! Well played Sard (the miracle soap) in saving your lovely frock! It looks fantastic and well done matching your patterns- it is stunning!

  11. What a crazy day! But, I'm glad you survived, and I love your dress. I also love that necklace. My husband and I got married under a gingko tree! Also, I'm amazed that dress took less than a week to make. I swear even the simplest garments take me more than a week! Something like this – a month!

  12. Melanie, you mad genius. This is so beautiful and spectacularly well made… you really inspire me to push my sewing technique more. I just can't get over the amount of hand sewing in this dress! What a payoff! (And thanks for the reminder to not throw out all the organza scraps I have currently littering my apartment…)

  13. Beautiful Melanie. I knew you would do something stunning for the races. I was sorry to read about your milliner's disaster but you did look stunning without a hat. I really appreciate all the work you put into sewing a garment as you cut no corners. That is why you achieve the perfect look. Well done.

  14. That story was a VERY entertaining read, not to laugh at your misfortune, but it was just like a tragic comedy… Sounds like you did end up having a great day though! And the workmanship in that dress is amazing. I would totally ruin that lace… I can see myself accidentally rubbing against something, and then riiiiiiip…

  15. absolutely beautiful! that lace is to die for and i love the red underneath. so pretty and it's nice enough for fancy gatherings but also cool enough for everyday. love this dress!! thanks for the organza scraps tip.

  16. That dress is absolutely gorgeous, as are the photos next to that sweet, little house. Thanks for a thoroughly entertaining read about your day at the races. I bet your dress stole the show :)

  17. I just found your blog – it’s great! I have a lot of these ABCD cup patterns from McCalls/Butterick/Vogue. It’s so strange to me that you’re an A cup, just looking at your picture (I know that sounds creepy to say). I make a 12D in these patterns. Just so interesting how people can sort of look similar but be very diff sizes, or look very diff and be the same size. Anyway, I own this exact pattern, and I was looking for ways to make it into more of a day dress than a cocktail dress, so thank you so much for posting this!

    1. Yep, it totally weirded me out too! But I decided to trust it, and quite frankly – it turned out wonderfully, fit wise. You’re absolutely right on the size thing – body shape can be very deceiving! I hope your cocktail dress turns out wonderfully :)

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