Not Another Sewing Project: The Vivien of Holloway Rosa White Sarong dress with Shane Miller Photography

Back in 2014, I fell in love with a dress in the Vivien of Holloway online sale…a beautiful “rosa white” sarong dress with matching bolero. At the time my Vivien of Holloway collection was not quite as impressive as it is these days and mainly consisted of sateen halterneck pencil and halterneck circle dresses. I am usually a size 10 in Vivien of Holloway (B32, W24, H36). However, as some of you undoubtedly already know, despite Vivien of Holloway producing only a few styles of dress, you sometimes need to size up or down depending on the fabric itself. Up until this point I had been lucky enough to buy all of my dresses from the shop itself on Holloway Road after trying them on for size first, so I knew I was taking a gamble when I placed my order for this beautiful floral sarong dress. To add to this, while I was deliberating, the dress was rapidly snapped up in all sizes except the 10…so I had no choie and order the 10 I did!

When the dress and bolero arrived I fell even harder in love with the summery floral print, and 1940s style inspired by Dorothy Lamour’s attire in her South Pacific-themed films. The bodice is boned and the sarong skirt draped to one side, creating an overall look of “a fabulously pert, curvy and wasp-waisted silhouette” as described by Vivien of Holloway. As you can imagine I was completely devastated when I couldn’t quite zip the dress up over my bust!

I took the dress to Mother-Flounce hoping and praying that she could do something…anything…to adjust this dress for me. She had a little ponder and she came up with a solution. Having seen several of you ladies post about similar heartache recently on Facebook groups such as “1940’s/1950’s Most Marvellous Meet Ups” and “I have a Vivien of Holloway dress and love to wear it” I thought I would share with you how we overcame this problem. Fear not, there is hope ladies! All you need is a matching bolero (or a matching piece of material which you can often buy from the Vivien of Holloway website under “Fabric”).

As you can see from the images here, the seam on either side of the bust was unpicked and a triangular piece of fabric has been inserted to take the dress out a small fraction and allowing it to be zipped up. We determined the size of the fabric needed by first pinning a piece of tracing paper to the dress and creating a template. We then used this template to cut two pieces of matching fabric from the bolero to insert into the dress.

Mother-Flounce was even able to take this fabric from the inside of the bolero, so I could still wear it as a set and nobody would know any different!

I was so pleased with the result and unbelievably chuffed with the fact that I no longer had to return this item. It was the perfect choice for a Springtime shoot with the brilliant Shane Miller of Shane Miller Photography in Upper Basildon. Take a look for yourselves…and know this ladies: if a bargain dress is a little on the tight size all is not necessarily lost!

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