The Great British Bump Off

Lashings of cake, a dress and a murder!

In May I had my *eek* 40th birthday. We’ll move swiftly over how I dealt with the emotional side of that experience (a later post will deal with the resulting physical and sewing challenge) and today I’m going to tell you about the huge party. 🍾🎉

As soon as I found this Bake Off themed murder mystery idea from Red Herring Games I was so excited!  I instantly assigned myself the character of perfect housewife Cherry Cake and began thinking about what sort of dress to stitch for her and what showstopper cake I should bake.

She seemed a perky annoyingly happy kind of woman to me, a retro 50s style domestic goddess. Which just screamed for the New Look 6094.

Bring my first attempt at both a) making a dress for myself and b) fitting it to my brand new dressform, the lovely Giselle, I decided to also make my first ever toile (ooh get me throwing the word casually into the conversation there, just don’t ask me to pronounce it). For this I just used a variety of curtains picked up at a local charity shop.

And it’s lucky I did! As apparently the pattern was meant for somebody with an enormously long body and as far as I could tell, a hunchback. At 5’8 I’m on the tall side myself, yet still had to take 3cm out of the shoulder seams and another massive chunk out of the back centre seam. But still, I was fairly pleased with the (un)finished item:

The real dress was then made using a cotton poplin from Minerva Crafts. First time I’ve ever used poplin and I was surprised by how much stretch it had.

The dress itself was a good choice for a not quite beginner. It came together fairly easily but with some hairy moments (sorry I mean challenging extensions to my skill set) putting in the invisible zip (which I’d wimped out of doing on the toile) and the box pleats in the skirt. The v point at the front of the bodice got a fair bit of loving from my quick unpicker too, but was very flattering once it was laying flat.

Don’t look too closely at the bottom of the zip!

In fact, the dress was so flattering and I was so pleased with it that I wore it out to dinner at the v swanky Atlantic Hotel a few weeks later for our first wedding anniversary.

Fantastic spot for pole dancing!

And then there was the food! I cunningly made the party a real Bake Off competition so that the buffet table was self populating. I sewed 2 chicken polka dot aprons as prizes for the sweet and savoury star bakers but stupidly forgot to get proper photos of them before awarding them to the cooks of the red velvet cupcakes and crab vol au vents. But they were very similar to this red polka dot one that I made for myself.


I’ve since learned that the hunchback pattern issues may be my own deformities after all. Apparently I may be needing to do a narrow back adjustment to my patterns as I have a very erect posture (who knew?). I’m putting this down to all the investment my parents made into dancing lessons during my childhood. They’ll be pleased as it didn’t make me more graceful so at least something came out of it. Will let you know how I get on with my adjustment adventures!

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