Cheap as chips Sewaholic Pendrell

Hello everyone. It’s a new year, hooray! It’s also the year I get married. Double hooray!! Project Wedding Dress is about to commence. I have £370 in my budget, I’ve ordered most of my fabrics, notions and extra bits and pieces. It’s time to get serious! First up is sewing my corselette. I’m winging it using a number of online tutorials and books on the subject. Wish me luck please. And let’s see if I can come in on budget! If you have any good links to bridal or occasion sewing, corselette or corset sewing or generally couture techniques please link them. I’ve got a good collection of books and found a few blog posts but am very eager to hear more. It isn’t possible to overwhelm me people.

PLEASE INNUNDATE ME. I’m going to collate everything I’ve found into a super online document so no future DIY bride will struggle to find resources.

Ahem, in other news I have a fun top to share. I hope you like it.

almond rock sewaholic pendrell polyester crepe birmingham rag market

So I’m in love. There I said it. I’m in love with this top. It makes me feel so wonderful everytime I wear it. The colours are just so epic. They’re the perfect shade and saturation to stand out from across the room. That’s obviously helped by the scale of the print and yes, those frilly little ruffles. It goes perfectly with my ochre cardigan and blue jeans.

almond rock sewaholic pendrell polyester crepe birmingham rag market

This is the Sewaholic Pendrell top which I can’t remember buying but must have because I have the PDF. (There’s a lot of PDFs like that on my computer). It’s got princess seams which mean a great fit and the option to add different styles of frills (or you can leave them off if you prefer). It’s easy to overlock the entire inside for a neat finish and it’s a SUPER QUICK sew.

I made view B with ruffles set into the princess seams and regular cap sleeves. You gather everything up to match the notches and then set the frill into the seams and encase the sleeve with bias tape. The length was a little crazy on me and even after chopping off 5cm I still might lose a little more. At 5ft5 I like to be able to see some hint of hips when I wear a top to establish my proportions. You can see my “human butternut squash” body type here in full glory. Why did Triny and Suzannah never include that one in their tv show!? I used bias tape made from excess fabric to finish the edges and it throws on over my head without a keyhole loop. A tiny needle made sure there were no pulls in my fabric.

almond rock sewaholic pendrell polyester crepe birmingham rag market

This polyester fabric was astoundingly cheap; If I remember rightly it was £1 per metre. I bought it on a shopping trip to Birmingham from one of the stalls outside the rag market and I’m happy to report Marie and Roisin bought some too. You can see more of Marie’s gorgeous kimono here.

There’s only one problem with this top and it’s my own fault. The ruffle on my left shoulder has one wonky area of gathering that makes the ruffle stand up. And no amount of pressing will keep it down! On the above picture it’s even peeking out from behind my hair for cripes sake. With the raw edges overlocked inside, I haven’t had the motivation since I made this to unpick and adjust the way the gather falls and don’t know if I ever will. It’s a problem, but one I’m happy to live with.

Now it’s time I shut up and do the I LOVE MY TOP DANCE! (Yep I’m that big of a nerd and it’s been captured on photo.) Bye for now.


Looking for more inspiration? See Fiona’s gorgeous sleeveless version here. And Shannon made a version in jersey! Here’s Sil’s version with step by step pics incase you’re curious how the ruffle comes together.

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  1. Hi Amy! Your blog is great and I love your style. I made my sister’s wedding dress two years ago and relied heavily on “The Wedding Dress: How to Make the Perfect One for You” by Becky Drinan. It had great advice on corselets, working with lace, and the dress that I ended up making used her base pattern and gave me the confidence to draft a train for the skirt. It has instructions and pattern for about 4 styles, but gives a lot of advice about how to modify to suit your style, which I did.
    The dress I made was beautiful (even if the built-in corselet was interlined with an Ikea curtain!) and I am still impressed with myself! Good luck!

  2. Hi Amy, yes I was going to suggest the Becky Drinan book too. It’s excellent. Also, go mad with interfacing and interlining- that the keys to smoothing our the fabric- and I’m afraid to Say it’s got to be sew in not disable for this to get the best effect! I think I have the corset pattern still if you’d like a copy? It’s self drafted so happy to share.

  3. Mate, your body is bangin’, stop apologising for it 😀
    Your top looks fab too, and good luck with the wedding dress! Very excited to see the end result! It’s a big old challenge x

  4. Love your top Amy!
    How exciting your wedding is this year!
    I think you previously read my blog on making my daughters dress but to make the corset part I used a strapless dress bodice and a corset pattern to get the shape of pattern pieces before cutting out in coutil & fitting before boning with spiral boning (as they are more comfortable!) I found this gave a great structure to build the dress around.
    Can’t wait to see your dress

  5. Hi Amy, a gal from Instagram referred me to your post looking for sewists who have made wedding dresses and have blogged about it.

    I made my wedding dress for my November 2016 and I’m currently writing a series on the process. You can check it out here:

    My dress was relatively simple, and I think you are using more complex techniques, but I wanted to offer my support and encouragement! Making your own wedding dress is a very special thing ☺️

  6. Hi Amy, I am planning a pendrell after my next make so great to hear your enthusiasm. Also from the resources point of view for your dress Threads magazine (American) is an absolutely fantastic source of information on couture sewing techniques. There are loads of online resources, videos etc and you can sign up for additional access to make in depth resources. Good luck!

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