A velvet holiday dress

January 9, 2017


Happy new year everyone, I wish you all the best for 2017!

My 2016 was full of changes, and a true rollercoaster of emotions: a year ago, I was leaving AI research behind to join Eléonore at Deer&Doe. It was a leap of faith to turn my back to an academic carreer after spending so much time and effort getting my PhD, but I haven’t regretted it. Being self-employed is both terrifying and thrilling, and each new day is an opportunity to build and learn new things. I am so proud of the work we accomplished, and even more enthusiastic for the projects to come! Other changes have been harder to deal with: I had to move twice, with a last-minute change of plans that had me living between two continents, far away from my home and my husband nearly half of the year, and my depression resurfaced for a while. But there were lots of wonderful moments as well: a road-trip to New Orleans to attend a beautiful wedding, another one down the East coast with my parents and siblings who visited the US for the first time, a trip to Estonia to celebrate ten years of friendship with my college roomates… Obviously with all of this my sewing and blogging productivity took a hit!

I did sew (and even knit!) a few projects since September, but they were either top-secret tests or Christmas gifts: a Mélilot for my mom, an Archer for my sister, and a bunch of baby clothes for all the newborns that have been popping up around me lately. So with the holidays approaching I felt like taking some time for myself to make something I’ve been dreaming of for years: a velvet holiday dress!


After gathering a ton of inspiration on Pinterest, I was obsessed with the idea of a skater dress in a red/pink hue (burgundy, raspberry, plum…). Unfortunately, so close to Christmas, these colors were all sold out on my usual online fabric shops. I ended up finding the perfect color at Toto, but I had to compromise by getting a crushed velvet, which wasn’t exactly the look I was going for.


Let’s keep things real: this fabric is really poor quality. It’s 100% polyester and very thin, and it’s probably meant for Halloween costumes rather than actual garments. I was very weary of the result, and I was pleasantly surprised at how it looked once sewn up. The one issue I’m having is that this fabric is super staticky, and I can’t wear the dress with tights without wearing cotton shorts underneath (which I’m doing on the pictures).


The pattern is the Lady Skater, which had caught my eye a few years back after Eléonore made it (mashed-up with the Sureau skirt). By the way, thanks to her for helping me all along this project, from lending me the sewing machine to taking these pictures in her super classy living room! 😀


I used my waist and high bust measurements (careful, not the full bust!) to pick a size 3 and sewed it without any modifications. I really like the fit for a first try, there’s maybe just the lower back that could do with a swayback adjustment.


I don’t have much more to say about this pattern: it’s super simple, but it works. I just had one complaint with the pdf file: the size lines are different colors instead of dashed lines and I do not like this at all (it’s hard to read, and also not colorblind-friendly).


I struggled a bit to do a clean hem with a twin-needle on this fabric as it kept rolling on itself, so I ended up folding the hem twice and the skirt is thus shorter than expected (especially since I didn’t lengthen it for my height as I usually do). I would normally think it’s a bit too short, but I think it works well with the style of the dress, and I’ll wear it with thights anyway.


With the scooped neckline, the 3/4 sleeves and the flared skirt, I think this pattern does wonders for my body type, so you can expect more Lady Skaters in the future! I’ve already set aside a lovely jersey with a navy and green foliage print which will be perfect for my next version 🙂


Speaking of future projects, I’m really enjoying reading about everybody’s new year’s resolutions, especially those that involve sewing (Rochelle’s #2017makenine among others). I don’t have any big plans for 2017, as my main goal is to take care of my health (body and mind). Well… you know me, of course I still have a ton of projects in mind (I listed some on Instagram) but I’ll try to take it easy for once 😉

Christmas Dress
Lady Skater – Kitschy Coo
Size 3
Crushed velvet from Toto


  1. ooobop

    - January 9, 2017

    Lovely dress. Matters not that the fabric is cheap. You look a million dollars in it!

    • Camille

      - January 22, 2017

      Thanks! 😀

  2. Lynne

    - January 9, 2017

    Gorgeous dress! Maybe wearing a slip under it would help prevent the clinginess??

    • Camille

      - January 22, 2017

      That’s a great idea, I don’t have one short enough for now but I definitely should buy one!

  3. Caitlyn

    - January 12, 2017

    I’ve never seen a Lady Skater dressed up with a “special occasion” fabric, but I quite like the effect! I found myself in the same situation when it came time to buy fabric for a holiday party dress, and I also settled for a crushed velvet, so I’m relieved to know that it’s not some terrible crime in the sewing community. 😉 I’m sorry to hear that depression set in during all of the transitions last year–I’ve been anxiously awaiting a post to see how you’ve been doing–but I’m glad that not everything was bad, and that you seem well now. I hope you have an exciting and fulfilling 2017 ahead!

    • Camille

      - January 22, 2017

      It’s great to hear from you too! Yes depression is a scary word but don’t worry, I’m starting to do much better now! I miss NC a lot and I’m really hoping we get to go back in a couple years, but in the meantime I’ll try to make the most of the situation 🙂 Just saw your crushed velvet dress today and I loooove it, the drape works so well with the pattern you picked!

  4. PsychicSewerKathleen

    - January 16, 2017

    I think your dress suits you and years ago I took the advice of a savvy older friend who advised not to spend a lot of money on a dress you are going to wear only a few times (ie Xmas time one year) but rather save your funds to really splurge on excellent quality items you wear everyday 🙂 So your fabric fits that guideline perfectly.

    • Camille

      - January 22, 2017

      That’s a really good point!

  5. Anya

    - January 16, 2017

    I LOVE your dress!!! So pretty and such a gorgeous color. Who cares if the fabric is cheap haha No one knows and if it falls apart you can make another one! 🙂

    • Camille

      - January 22, 2017

      Thank you 😀

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