I bought this tunic top in the Human Relief Foundation shop in New Cross, and if I remember correctly, I only paid £2 for it. It’s a stunning deep teal blue silk with gold trim, heavy embroidery and rather glamorous gold sequins! It looks like it could have been the top half of a shalwar kameez, sadly though there were no matching trousers to be had.
I wanted to turn this into something that could be worn on a glamorous evening out, so I took some inspiration from Jennifer Lawrence. Her dress is Prabal Gurung. If you’re interested, you can buy this for a mere £1,683. I actually had a close up look at this dress when I was snooping around Harvey Nicholls a few weeks ago; the colours are gorgeous, but I’m not terribly keen on the little pocket flap things, not sure what they are for, so think I’ll leave them out… there are some other details on this dress, like the bodice darts that were sewn wrong sides together, that I left out as well for various reasons. So this is more of an ‘inspired by’ project that a full-on ‘copycat’.
I had to cut the whole piece in half to make the bodice which was a little nerve wracking. The inside edges were only partly finished and some of them were fraying out of control! As you can see, there were no darts in this at all, just a slight shaping at the side seams. The entire thing was underlined with a very loose-weave cotton fabric to give it stability and possibly add breathability.
I removed the side seams and measured it against my bodice block. There wasn’t enough width to cut the darts where I had originally planned, so I had to go with the French dart again. Overall, I think it looks reasonable, and doesn’t interfere with the gold trim at the neckline, or the embroidered pattern.
I cut the skirt half of the dress from my basic skirt block, tapered in a couple of centimetres at the hem. It’s a combination of black wool crepe and the blue and gold silk, joining at a straight line.
The back of the original tunic was plain blue, so the back of the dress became plain blue as well (unlike Jennifer’s/Prabal’s version which is all black at the back).
Here are a few close-ups of the finished dress.
I kept the underlining in the bodice, and made small facings out of underlining scraps for my armholes. These were pressed to the inside and then hand stitched in place.
Unfortunately I managed to underestimate my own height and cut the bottom sections far too short. To preserve length at the hem, I sewed a row of black lace to the right side with a tiny seam allowance, turned it to the inside and invisibly stitched it up. I really like this detail, although no-one can see it.
There is a vent at the back to help me walk. I really like how the blue and black seamline passes through the vent.
I wore this on a belated birthday celebration which began with drinks at the Anthologist. Here are a bazillion pictures…
One always selects a cocktail that matches one’s outfit, natch.
Here are some full length shots of the dress in all its glory.
After a cocktail or two we headed up to the Duck and Waffle, which is at the top of the Heron tower (40th floor!). It’s apparently the highest restaurant in the UK!
The view from up there is incredible!
The food wasn’t bad either…
…and yes, we had the famous Duck and Waffle. It’s actually a crispy skinned duck leg served on a thick, chewy waffle with a fried duck’s egg. The sauce was maple syrup with (I think) Mustard seeds in it. Verdict: odd, but delicious.
We were able to watch the sunset whilst sampling the cocktail menu. My cocktail, ‘Smoke’, was impressive. The waiter appeared with an upturned glass full of wood smoke, which he placed on the table right side up to let the smoke escape, before pouring the actual drink into it from another small glass jug. According to the menu it was a combination of “Grey Goose La Poire, artichoke amaro, Noilly Prat Ambre, cardamom and coriander bitters…” yum!
I would love to go back there to try out the bar, or even Sushi Samba which is two floors below. In the mean time here is a parting shot of the dress with the Gherkin in the background.