Made by Marjorie 2 – Party Dresses

This is the second installment of my Made by Marjorie series and there’s material from the archives folks!! Today I’m talking party dresses. Granny has been making them since my very first birthday parties and each one has been different, creative, beautiful. Let’s have a look:

Purple satin dress (1990) – My fifth birthday party dress. A little girl’s dream in purple satin with a big bow at the back. Also note the coordinating hair ribbons for that all important french plait (my childhood self’s party hairstyle of choice). My Mum has many talents but hairdressing has never been one of them; french plaiting sessions would usually end in pain and drama. Fortunately Mum’s best friend Laura stepped in at some point as the party hairdresser, saving both our relationship and my scalp from further strain.

Purple party dress

Yellow party dress (1991) – I love this one. Were it big enough, I would probably wear it still today. Buttery soft cotton, big puffy sleeves, layers of flouncy skirts, little roses around the neckline. And styled with mickymouse slippers, natch. Mum had the dress framed a couple of years ago and I’m looking forward to having a wall big enough to hang it one day (in my “sewing room” perhaps?? I can dream…)

Yellow dress

Bridesmaid dress (1995) – When my Aunty got married, Granny made: My Aunty’s wedding dress, my bridesmaid dress, the two flower girl dresses and her own outfit. All shown below. Amazing non? On a side note, I like how I am distancing myself from the children in this photo – poised and attentive, with all the gravitas demanded of a 10 year old “chief” bridesmaid.

Rowena bridesmaid

Blue raw silk (2005) – This is, I think, the first”grown-up” party dress Granny made for me – for a university end-of-year ball. It was made from peacock-blue raw silk, with an empire line and long skirt. The silk was bought on a family adventure to India and has a delicious texture, scratchy and luxurious all at once.

              Bernadette birthday dress        Bernadette birthday dress2

Easter dress (vintage) – This is a dress Granny originally made for herself, that I was lucky enough to inherit. I have no idea what it’s made from. It’s this stiff, sheer blue stuff with flocked white flowers. I think of it as my “Easter dress” because I first wore it to an Easter party in 2007. This is me atop the “viewing platform” of an incredible Easter maze constructed by bestie (and now fabulous artist/maze expert) Bryony Pritchard, who is incidentally also the gorgeous godess standing next to me in the picture above 🙂

2007 easter

Orange silk jumpsuit (2006) – Another “ball dress” except this time I said I didn’t want a dress, I wanted a jumpsuit. Without batting an eye, Granny created this little number. Orange silk with a green and gold trim, and a floaty organza cape to match.


Blue & Neon cocktail dress (2013) – A more recent creation, Granny made this last year to wear to a summer wedding. The design was inspired by Anglomania’s Sunday Bale dress. The contrast neon green was Granny’s idea and I think it’s just awesome. Saved by the Bell promdress in the best possible way.


My wedding dress (2014) – And of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without the ultimate party dress. The bodice was silk with beautiful corded lace, which Granny carefully cut and worked into wonderfully wide straps. The skirt was silk with a textured organza overlay, which Granny embelished with motifs of lace from the bodice fabric, to make it look like one dress rather than a separate top and skirt. The shape was a gentle A-line that was lovely and swooshy but not too big to move around in. (Wedding photos by wonderful Tarah Coonan).



In the evening I switched the skirt for a knee-length ballerina number (Fanfaronada via Etsy) and an emerald green sash. The bodice transitioned beautifully well. Two gorgeous wedding dresses, one very lucky granddaughter.

Thanks for indulging my trip down memory lane.

Siobhan xx

Welcome 2014!

Happy New Year!! I hope your Christmas was merry and bright and full of good things.


Rufus Reindeer… he deserves his own post at some point

2014 then: another year, another set of resolutions to be set and then achieved, partially achieved, or missed entirely and swept under the rug never to be mentioned again. 2013 was a good year for me in terms of progressing my sewing skills. I made a few actual real-life garments (hurray!) and they fitted me and I liked them and I wore them (double hurray!!)

untitled shoot-004  photo 2 Mathilde blouse-003 IMG_0018_2

Blogging, on the other hand, was decidedly patchy. So once again I am resolving to try and post more regularly. I have a whole host of other resolutions, which are ambitiously chalked on our kitchen chalk board. Some of them are to do with work, some to do with home.

A couple of resolutions are about trying to show people in my life how much I appreciate them, however hectic life gets. One resolution is to be better at remembering birthdays, especially family ones. I have a calendar which I’ve diligently written them all in and I’m going to try hard to send real cards. I’m hoping to find time to make a batch early in the year so I’ll at least be armed and ready!


The calendar

A second resolution relates to this blog, and the woman who inspired it – my Granny Marjorie. I wear the clothes she has made for me pretty much every day. I get comments on them often and love proudly telling people “oh this? Actually my Granny made this. Yes really. Yes she’s amazing.” But it occurred to me over the holidays that I never share those moments with her (you Granny), and that’s such a shame and I’m sorry for it. So this year, I’m going to try out a different kind of post – Made by Marjorie – sharing what I’ve been wearing, and why I love it. I might even try and dig through my mum’s photo albums and do some retrospectives. Of all my resolutions, I’m determined not to let this one go.


Granny and Me
– photo by fabulous friend and photographer Katherine Leedale (

Siobhan xx