Xenium means a present given to a guest, but I am, as per usual, not letting literal meaning get in the way of using a good word, because in this case, the guest gave me the present. Now that I think about it though, she brought the food, so perhaps I was her guest!

My friend T came to dinner with her husband and brought with her two bags of fabric from her stash. What a xenium! Some of it consisted of garments for refashioning, including an amazing suede jacket, which I will sort out for winter, but there was also some gorgeous fabric. I abandoned my current project and immediately started on a piece of beautiful silk. It was a smallish piece but I knew that I wanted something other than a top – I wanted a dress!


My next decision was which side of the fabric to use as the outside. I consulted widely, and in the end went with what I suspect is the correct side (the more orange side).


I fiddled around with patterns, but in the end I went with this self-drafted shift dress, it is simple and quick to make. Except –  because of the silk fabric I decided to use French seams. I haven’t done this for years, and now I remember why. No matter what I do I get whiskers on the right side. I also put in pockets which had to be French seamed which meant that I had to work out how to do this. I must have unpicked every seam in this dress, some of them multiple times – I kept getting confused as to which side to sew – yes, I’m an idiot!


On my pixellated dress I had added cuffs to the short sleeves, but they just didn’t sit right on this dress. Even Mark said that they looked like pixie ears! I took them off (more unpicking) and used bias strips to finish the sleeves. I had so little fabric left that I could only get 3″ of strips so the neck and sleeves are all finished off with lots of joined up bits of bias.


I have to say though, that the fabric is divine and the dress feels wonderful. It should have taken a couple of hours to make but took a whole day. Totally worth it though…

I decided to wear it to Cavalia and managed to get a photo with Mark in his new shirt


The details:

Silk fabric gifted to me

Pattern is a self-drafted shapeless shift (last one I make, I swear!)

Shoes are Milana from David Jones