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Bellville Sassoon Dress For Ascot


Well, I’ve had a wonderful two days virtually locked away in my studio, only surfacing for the occasional fuel break – No.1 Son has even been making sure my G&T levels didn’t drop below a critical level!

What have I been so immersed in?

This year’s dress for Ascot – Vogue 1108 by Bellville Sassoon.


It has been BRILLIANT getting my teeth into a proper Couture make again.

Don’t get me wrong though, I love quick and easy dressmaking projects but, once in a while it’s just fantastic to challenge myself with something a bit more meaty, so to speak.

Vogue classify this as an ‘Average’ make in terms of difficulty, and I agree – I have made much more complicated dresses than this.

I love the labels that come with each designer pattern for you to sew into the garment:)


This bundle of fabric arrived from Minerva Crafts – several different types of fabric in a glorious shade of Fuschia: –


There was Bengaline for the main body of the dress, organza for interfacing, lining and habotai for the foundation layer and, yes, that is boning you see sat on top of the lot!

Let me tell you now that there are over SIXTY pieces of fabric holding this dress together and only FIVE are visible from the outside!

That is a hell of a lot of construction hidden inside and I used up two entire 100m reels of thread in the process!

I love a good puzzle and this pattern had a few to solve, such as all those pleats on the left front:


I won’t take you through much of the process because that would take up more space that any blog post should do – I’ll just whizz through the main bits.

First, you make the pleats and darts in the front and back sections.


Next, you make the foundation which is the middle bit of the dress sandwiched between the outer dress and the lining.

It consists of a lining layer, fully interfaced, which has the boning sewn to it.


The instructions called for boning in its own casing but, as I couldn’t get any, I made my own using normal boning and some offcuts of habotai.


VoilΓ !


This is the inside showing the boning in place….


….and this is what it looks like from the right side.


Very nice.

It’s almost a shame that all this beautiful work will be completely hidden from view:)

The foundation sections are then sewn to the body of the dress….


….and the front is stitched to the back at the side seams, leaving an opening for the zip.


Now, I have never used a dedicated foot to insert invisible zips, I learned to sew them using a normal zipper foot and don’t find it an issue.

I don’t know if you can see, but I open the zip up and sew really close to the teeth in the same way a specialized foot would do.


There, pretty invisible, wouldn’t you agree?


The zip needed shortening which is just a case of sewing a new stopper from thread and cutting off the excess below.



Now, onto the lining.

Of course, all the way through we’re sewing princess seams – isn’t it a little bit of magic when you fit the fabric around the curve? Like fitting a square peg into a round hole, it doesn’t seem possible at first.


A few clips to the stay-stitching and job done!


Lining completed.


The lining is slipped over the dress and foundation and sewn right sides together around the neckline and armhole edges.


The bow, which is stiffened with organza, was made and secured in place amongst the pleats.


The hem was faced with organza and turned up with herringbone stitch.


The lining was slip stitched to the hem, leaving a folded pleat as ease.


Looking at the inside when finished, you’d have no idea of what it’s hiding underneath!


The quality of the fabrics is amazing – the bengaline handles beautifully and has a discreet watermark to it.

The polyester habotai was chosen as an alternative to china silk for the foundation and looks and feels superb – such a shame it’s hidden!

This dress does not photograph well on the hanger – all those pleats only sit properly on a real body.


Oops – better press the hemline before Ascot!


So, what will I accessorize with?

I made two jackets for Ascot last yearΒ  – this is the other one (see last year’s post).


The boning means I shouldn’t have to wear a bra but, looking at this photo I definitely do. My bust is too heavy and is dragging the front down causing it to gape – a strapless bra will do the trick.


So this is me, all ready for Ladies Day on Thursday and there’s just one more thing left to do…..


…. get my French manicure redone – it’s all stained from handling all that pink fabric!!


Author: sewchet

Sewing, Crochet and other loveliness!

43 thoughts on “Bellville Sassoon Dress For Ascot

  1. Beautiful and impressive! Nice job!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Stunning! Love both the colour and design – you make it all look so simple πŸ™‚ But, what a lot of unseen workwomanship involved! Hope you have a fantastic day At Ascot!!!! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can see you’ve definitely made couture dresses before. Two days???? You look amazing and I agree that a strapless bra will further perfect your silhouette.
    Glad to see you are wearing race day wedges.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, that’s so impressive and you look fantastic – hope you had a great day.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. OMGoodness it’s beautiful <3, you look fabulous

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My head is dizzy just watching all this work! You are such a brave sewer, I would not feel comfortable Sewing something that time consuming!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love it! The style & colour look amazing on you, and even tho it’s a lot of hard work for one day, it’s a timeless dress that I bet you’ll were lots. Hope it’s a lucky dress πŸ€

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow! What a work of art! And in my favourite colour. Have a wonderful day.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow! I love reading posts like this where the construction of a garment is shown. Not many people make couture garments and blog about them so this was really interesting. My skills are a long way from attempting something like this but one day I’d love to have a go! A bet it feels amazing to wear – fab work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! That’s the whole point of couture – they feel incredible to wear, if a little heavy. There are soooo many little details and techniques that I couldn’t mention them all, just the ones that most people will be familiar with. Glad you like it!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Now that is a stunning dress! The hat and shoes are sheer perfection. I would never in a million years think to use that color and type of fabric with that pattern. I hope you have a good time. You definately will be that star of the show. I wish I could sew as well as you do. You definately have it going on!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Robin:) Everyone makes a special effort on Ladies Day. I don’t know if Royal Ascot is ever shown on US TV, but you will be able to look it up online to see some of the wonderful hats and dresses. The day starts in the morning with The Queen’s carriages parading with various members of the royal family. It’s great fun!


      • Now you have me intrigued! I definately am going to google Ladies Day! It does sound like a lot of fun. I know all the fantabulous hats and dresses are worn for the Kentucky Derby but I have never heard of Ladies day.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Officially, it’s title is Gold Cup Day at Royal Ascot but, traditionally, it’s called Ladies Day when all the best designer hats and frocks are worn:)


  11. Your sewing skill amazes me more and more! This dress is gorgeous and it fits you so very well! I don’t know what else to tell,you left me speechless again!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Phew! So much ‘undercover’ work! It looks amazing on you and I love that hat!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. It must have taken you ages but looks well worth the effort! X

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Wow – what a stunning dress. So much work and a very impressive result! And your hat is also fantastic! Wow. Hope you have a great time! I’m not sure if you will need the jacket (unfortunately!)

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Wow! Gorgeous dress! And my-oh-my what an excellent sewer you are – I’m in awe! Even though I’m not much of a sewer, I loved reading through your post, looking at all the progress shots, simply wonderful. And the best thing of course is that it looks awesome on you! Marianne xx

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: Royal Ascot Ladies Day 2015 | Sewchet

  17. Such a lot of work but well worth it, a fab outfit! Hope you enjoyed the day?

    Liked by 1 person

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