The Bubble Sleeve Dress (FREE PATTERN JUST HERE) is everything I love in a dress. It’s loose fitting, finishes just above the knee AND has those 3/4 length sleeves that make it a bit special with their pretty bubble at the bottom. It is EASY to make and has no fastening to contend with.
This version here is made in a light weight silk in deep blues and purples. It hangs nicely (and I have lined it to stop it clinging to my lumps and bumps – although the lining part is not included in my pattern I’m afraid). The fabric is from Fabworks (who now do online sales), and it is still in stock (Feb 16).
It was inspired by some beautiful shift dresses I saw in Mint Velvet. This little navy feather number was one of them, with its sheer split back panel which looks comfortable AND glamorous – what more could you want? I also spied this cute burgundy dress with the bubble sleeves that I really wanted to replicate. Mine are a little longer, but essentially the same idea.
People often ask me whether it is cheaper to make your own clothes or not. Well, my answer is that it used not to be. I made so many mistakes, tried too many over ambitious projects, didn’t really know what I was doing and wasted so much fabric that it was just a break-even kind of hobby. But as my skills have increased and I have found some fabulous suppliers of cheap fabrics, it has definitely swung to be a massive money saver. And where you save is on the posh dresses – the dresses that you would pay £50 – £500 for (depending on your budget!) If you can make them well, then it is a huge financial saving. Although, to be totally honest I make far more clothes than I would probably buy, so…..it is that really a saving? Well if you look it as a form of entertainment AND a source of clothing, then yes. (There’s an article here from Love Money debating whether it really is cheaper or not…and a good thread from here from Reddit)
This blue version of the party shift is the first dress I have ever made that I would happily have paid over £100 for if I had seen it on the shop floor. It cost me about £10 in material. A £100 dress would have to be a pretty special one for me so you can probably tell I’m pleased with the result.
I have gone on to adapt the original pattern, as I often do, into another version. This new one has a sheer back panel, a bit like the Mint Velvet dress, and does look completely different in this highly patterned fabric. Have a look at my separate post about the Bubble Sleeve Shift with Lace Back. It is pretty similar to this blue version but with a lace panel and some false buttons added at the back.