Beverly Hills 90210 dress

My #sewwaxlyrical entry, hosted by @SewVee


Is there a garment in your life or in your imagination you can’t get out of your head?

Mine is from the TV Series Beverly Hill 90210,  The Spring Dance episode where  Brenda (Shannen Doherty) is wearing a black and white dress to go to prom with Dylan (Luke Perry).. Her friend Kelly was accidentally wearing the same dress, nightmare!. It was 1991, I was 19. 

I completely fell in love with the dress. Why? I am still not quite sure. It is a simple dress I guess. I loved the neckline and shoulders.. I asked my mum to make me a similar dress, minus the bow at the front for a cousin’s wedding.. Mine was beige with beige and burgundy exaggerated huge sleeves. I felt a million dollar in it. but it was too fancy to wear elsewhere and gathered dust. I took it to the UK with me, 20 years ago, hoping I would find an occasion but alas, unsettled in the first few years I lost it in one of my many house moves..

I then learn something about my body shape….

Dressing for my body shape.

I am an inverted triangle: large shoulders and narrow hips which I started to detest around my mid twenties. I realised that, volume around the shoulders and back were my worst enemy and with that I parked the dress at the back of my mind. What was I thinking wearing such a dress!!?!? It didn’t help that throughout my life I heard many remarks verging on bullying about being a woman with masculine features. 

But a couple of years ago I started to be more accepting of my shape. I have an athletic shape so what? I require little to no fitness maintenance to keep toned and in reasonable shape, Lucky me! 

I started to think about the dress again.  With more confidence. I can pull it off! My mind shifted when I started to make my clothes so the elements were there for me to bring it to life again. I just needed an occasion….

Source IStock

The Great British Sewing Bee, Series 4

Yes! The occasion was episode 4 of the 4th Series of our favourite show. If I had made it to episode 4 this is the dress I wanted to make.

The brief was: To make a perfectly fitted made to measure dress inspired by African cultures using Ankara fabric. It must be an occasion wear dress…

It was the perfect garment for it. Sadly, as you know I didn’t make it that far and I had to let the dress go one more time.

 Then earlier this year two occasions presented themselves: 

SewVee 30th birthday celebration and her #sewwaxlyrical challenge  and my friend Lauren Jazz SInger, 20 years anniversary residence at The Effra Tavern.

The dress was back on my friends!!!!

The fabric and the construction -Click the gallery–>

The fabric I have chosen is slightly different than the one I wanted for the Sewing Bee. Similar colours, different print. It is  Supreme wax Holland from Sonna Textiles in Wentworth Street London.

The print pattern is small enough not to have to worry about pattern matching 

The dress itself is from EasyVogue 9848. A dress for which I made a muslin. I have made that dress 4 or 5 times now, every time with different sleeves so this dream dress fitted well with the theme I had started.

I did ask you guys in my Instagram story where I should have the orange stripes: at the seam sides or the princess seams. Princess seams was your choice but upon cutting, I realised that the sections were large enough to have orange at both seams. It has created a different print with more orange than the original. I was hoping to create illusion of curvier hips, it didn’t quite work as well as I thought it would. but it’s great anyway.

The rouleaux sleeve are heavily interfaced, hand sewn on a bandeau style sleeve, also interfaced, to hold their shapes. The rouleaux are also hand sewn together. I pricked my hands soooooo many times! This dress came at a price!

I self drafted the sleeves.. I was a bit nervous about the rouleaux. Too small would be underwhelming, too large would be overwhelming. There is a  limit to where you can take an American football shoulder look, isn’t it? They’re 14cms x 18cms

I was so excited that I didn’t take any progress pictures unfortunately.

One thing I didn’t think through enough is the length. I messed up a bit and it has a tiny 1.5 cms (hand sewn) hem. For such a dress I would prefer a heavy, large hem. Also, I wish I could have made it a tiny bit longer and even a wiggle dress but it works just as well like this.


The result  

It’s a party dress, so I went for gold shoes and nothing else. It is busy enough as it is. Plus my hair is the best fashion accessory I have at the moment 🙂

Photos taken on the Crystal Palace ground by Erlandas. This is the last shoot me and him did together before he went back to Lithuania. Brexit sucks yes!. I was glam feeling myself a bit too much on this shoot!

How do I feel about having remade a dress close to my heart?

Ecstatic! so proud, so happy. I know that once again that dress might be gathering dust because there are few occasions to wear it but I feel that it’s a precious dress that needs to be cherish for life now.

I have an interest in psychology and currently writing a piece on clothes and psychology. I am also attending a course soon on Fashion and Anthropology. I feel  that my obsession for this dress has an deep rooted psychological explanation which I haven’t yet quite decoded. Maybe: it’s because of the crush I had on Luke Perry: Did I want to be his Brenda? He his my type….A cute, talented rebel.

Also, isn’t funny, in some ways, that the dress was reborn when Luke Perry, the Beverly Hills 90201 heartthrob died. I was cutting the dress when I heard of the news!

Happy Anniversary to Lauren, Happy Birthday to SewVee Vicki Wright . It’s party time!!!!!!!!!!!!!