Art Gallery Frock

An exhibition opening at an art gallery demands a New Frock. When the exhibition is designer fashion, the Frock specifications get a little more exacting.

Luckily, I had just the fabric in my stash for an Art Gallery Frock: embroidered black chiffon with largish bronzy paillettes.

Technical details


Pattern: 03/2011-106

I shortened it considerably, like 03/2011-104 without sleeves

I like the sleeves, I just didn’t have enough fabric.

Size: 36 to 44. I made a 44. My normal size is 42 with 44 hips and I could have just traced a 42 with this style, but I’ve had trouble before with raglan sleeves being small so I went for a 44. Then I didn’t have enough fabric for sleeves anyway!


The outer fabric is a polyester chiffon with pleather paillettes, from the last Gay Naffine/Lucy Giles fabric sale. It’s lined with poly cotton ‘Siri designer’ lining from Gorgeous Fabrics. This is the first time I’ve used this lining and it’s lovely.


I stabilized the armholes by fusing interfacing on to the lining.

After sewing the side seams of the outer fabric and of the lining, I stitched the lining and outer fabric together at the armhole edges, trimmed and turned and then under-stitched.

The collar pieces had all the paillettes removed except one in the centre. The shape of the pattern pieces meant all the other ones were in odd places.

I underlined the collar with lining and then used lining on the back as well. The back piece was interfaced. It’s stable enough to hold its shape yet comfortable to wear.


The centre back gave me some cause for thought.

If I cut the pieces out so the paillette ‘stripes’ matched at the side edges, I would have a line of paillettes almost perfectly down the centre back. That would look lovely. But could be a bit tricky with the zip.

Perhaps I could cut both the paillettes on each side of the seam in half and they could match up?

I left them mainly intact when I cut the pattern pieces out and gave a few things a try.

Happily, leaving them whole on one side worked just fine, and the zip was functional. Pity I snipped one or two of them when I cut the pieces out!

Sewing with these paillettes was not as tricky as it looks. These ones are large and soft and only attached at the top, so they were very easy to push to one side when sewing. I imagine sequins would be a whole other story.

The invisible zip and centre back seam really does look invisible from a distance!

This photo also shows where the lining ends. The lining was cut to the shorter dress length, with the outer fabric cut a little longer. That Burda pattern is short!

It’s a fun dress to wear. Now I just need to find some more occasions to do so…




26 thoughts on “Art Gallery Frock

  1. I bet people thought you were part of the exhibit!!! Fabulous art piece. Don’t worry, now that you have the dress, opportunities will materialize.

  2. Another stunner! Love that style…so elegant yet funky. I particularly like the neck/shoulder line.and the Fabri! I agree with Sewbusted, people probably thought it was a wearable art piece.☺️

    1. I did get a few questions about whether the dress was a vintage 60s number. I delighted in saying it had only just been constructed in the last few weeks!

      I like this halter neck style too.

  3. What a cool dress (and shoes)! I have a similarly styled dress, and I also wore it to an art gallery opening:) I love it but I’m short on occasions to wear it.

    1. I bought it at a designer fabric sale, so it was a bargain. I think it was less than $50 for the piece. I am sure it would be at least twice that price elsewhere, as that has been the case with other fabrics I’ve bought at the sale.

      This designer sale is held twice a year in Adelaide, Australia but the designer is retiring and may have only one more sale, if that.

      I couldn’t resist this fun fabric, and I am now so glad it was in my stash!

    1. I am trying to channel you with the shoes 😉
      There were several garments at the exhibition that were very you. I need to go back again and check but I think at least one was an Azzedine Alaia from the 80’s .

  4. What a fun garment. Love the fabric, and it’s fabulous in that Burda dress pattern. The one paillette at the CF neckline is a brilliant touch. How wonderful to have occaision to wear such a dress!

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