The Cherie teddy was another lacy thorn in our side that turned out to be a firm favourite. Rather like the Emerald DeVille set, the Cherie teddy already has lace in all the places it might be sensible to put lace. Since our box of tricks was mainly full of other lace, we were stumped...
... Right up until the point that we noticed a beautiful chiffon in the bottom of the box - white, with a pattern of small black birds flying across it. There was something about that fabric that made us think of Maleficent, and Maleficent made us think of our Elle Robe!
Elle robes and black birds: a match made... somewhere in the sky?!
We decided that the best thing that we could do with the Cherie teddy was leave it alone, and focus all of our attention on the Elle robe instead.
Luckily, the fabric we had was just a bit wider than the waist of the robe that Ditzy would be wearing. We checked the length, cut it to size, and unearthed Joe's ancient sewing machine.
Our Elle robe has beautiful rolled hems, courtesy of a factory that have proper machines and years of experience in handling chiffon. Still, we think we did a great job just by using the zig-zag stitch setting that was one of the few things Joe's machine could handle.
We hemmed the bottom edge first, then spent some time carefully pinning the top edge to the waistband of the robe. Elle robes go "swoosh!", which of course we all love, but it does mean that there is a lot of fabric to wrestle with! Because the chiffon we were adding was wider than the waist, we deliberately introduced small pleats as we pinned it. This kept the chiffon behind the robe, and also meant that it draped nicely - something that we tested rigorously on Mildred the Mannequin before we sewed the layers together permanently.
On stage, Ditzy did lots of swooshing about with this and showed off the inside, and chose an unexpectedly spiky necklace and bracelet with a... fascinator? I'm not sure what to call this - also in silver, and the Tempest stockings from last year. The shade of the silk teddy is surprisingly close to the Tempest Rose (last few cinchers here) so they work well for colour. I love seeing the stockings on different skin tones, as of course sheer stockings show up very differently on different people.
And where did this fabric come from? Another independent brand, Dirty Pretty Things, were selling off their end of a roll fabrics. So the bird print is actually theirs!
Fancy trying this at home? You could hand stitch it, or use a simple machine stitch - remember, if you are using a domestic machine, it's best to stitch onto a garment that doesn't have any stretch, so the waist upwards on the Elle Robe (the skirt of the robe has no lycra in, but it is bias cut to make it swoosh, and that can be tricky to match to), or on the Cherie, around the lace bust is best. For those of you with artistic leanings, you could use due techniques, fabric painting, silk painting or screen printing to create a unique fabric layer to go inside (or outside, if you trim the waist) of the skirt. I'd stick with light fabrics as you're stitching to a delicate chiffon; the DPT bird print is a lightweight silk habotai.