Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane



Good news from the sewing room this week! In fact two good news, maybe even three!


Susanna (local girl) of Sea Salt and Stitches found a new online fabric shop and negotiated reduced postage fees for us UK residents to enjoy .  I went perusing and thought it just rude if I didn’t take advantage of the hard won efforts of Susanna and bought two 2m lengths of wool.

Fabworks have some lovely fabrics and all at very reasonable prices. It was hard deciding what to buy; I settled on a raspberry twill wool and an indigo/denim-look wool.

The raspberry is actually called by a much more romantic name of Winter Cyclamen but I thought more of you might be able to visualise raspberries than winter cyclamen and is fine enough for skirts and dresses. The denim-look wool is suitable for jackets and coats

I ordered late on Wednesday night and my purchases arrived by Friday afternoon. To sum up: brilliant fabric selection, brilliant prices, brilliant delivery. The fabrics are categorised by colour groupings which is an ingenious idea in my book as it makes it so much easier to fond stuff. This might just become my new go-to fabric shop. The only downside is that they don’t do threads or notions – maybe soon……..


For 10 years now Roland Mouret’s Galaxy dress has graced the bodies of the rich and famous and has been the most coveted frock in mankind’s existence. At a very reasonable £1,595 it just might be out of reach for the majority of the world’s population but not for us sewers.


The dress is famous because it makes a woman look like a woman, celebrating her curves and shape – the short gathered sleeves balance out the hips, the waist is well defined, the length covers unbecoming and knobbly knees and visually lengths the body, and there are 1Galaxy dress, Petrol Blue_F-200 variations to suit every individual taste and preferenv8280coverce.







Vogue Patterns realised the potential and released 8280 and it was snapped up instantly by women who wanted their very own Galaxy. The pattern is now OOP and is like hen’s teeth. Sometimes it comes up on Ebay but is sold immediately or else it is in extra large or extra small sizes. I’ve been searching for alternatives for years but

nothing ever really came close.


Have you heard of Bootstrap Fashion?

This is an online PDF pattern company who produce patterns to fit your measurements. Based in USA they have been going for a few years now but are running out of money and have started a crowd funding exercise on Indiegogo. Bootstrap do an awful lot more than just making patterns with a  full range of services and products available when you register as a member free of charge.

BootstrapFashion was founded by Yuliya Raquel, a four-time award winning fashion designer, who in the past revolutionized the contemporary plus-size fashion industry segment….. Not only does Yuliya have a passion for innovative fashion design, but she also focuses on empowerment: she wants to transform the way we consider beauty and democratize fashion. 

Yuliya from Bootstrap contacted me a little while a go. I have never bought a Bootstrap pattern and I always turn down offers of pattern testing, endorsements and so on. Although, Mood, if you’re reading this, I’m still waiting on your call! Anyway, I thought I might try out Bootstrap – why? I needed my Galaxy dress, that’s why!

I also like to encourage innovation and independent companies whenever possible, so I also donated to the Indiegogo scheme.

I searched the available dress patterns on Bootstrap but nothing hit the mark close to Galaxy and then I noticed the ‘Create from Scratch” feature. With a quick registration procedure I was in my own design page: choose the garment type, select the style from a collection of basic blocks and then add your preferred sleeves, skirt, darts or princess seams, length, bodice shape and neckline, and throw on as many extras like belt, peplum, frills and ruffles as you want. You can even colour in your finished design.

Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 13.23.59

Here’s mine – Saturn, not Galaxy.


The hardest part of ordering the pattern was the actual taking of my accurate body measurements! Insert your measurements into the table in either inches or cms and a few descriptions about your body type; balance and tummy shape etc and that’s it! And, even better,  it’s not very expensive at all.

Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 13.26.10.jpg

Before I had negotiated my way out of the website, the PDF was waiting in my email – instant! You can order with or without seam allowances. Note: the seam allowances and 1cm – industry standard.

OK OK, you’ve got all that printing and tiling and sellotape but my goodness, if you ever need a personalised, custom design and unique pattern in a hurry  that fits like a glove – this is a mighty fine way to get one – facings and all!


With my pattern ready to go and my fabric arriving quickly, I paired Saturn with raspberry wool and have made a start. My version is not a replica of the original Galaxy dress, I opted for 3/4 sleeves instead of short gathered ones but it’s pretty damn close otherwise.

I have been researching and reading about Galaxy dresses – the inside construction, the design elements and scrutinising every image I can see. Mr Mouret was on a TV show Objects of Desire and he admitted that the secret to the dress’s success was in making the waist 1″ smaller. I can find no information about the use of Powernet or shapewear as being part of the dress’s construction although it is widely rumoured and is like a national security secret – any down and dirty info you may have will be gratefully received and shared….

I made a small alteration to the Saturn pattern by lowering the front neckline by 3″ to have it more in keeping with the original but still daytime appropriate.


The pattern doesn’t come with instructions but I find this somewhat liberating as I can make as I want and place the zip at back or side. Which brings me to my current status – I have no zip or suitable lining but I have got as far as I can without these


The bodice still needs to be attached to the skirt (it’s only pinned here) but I did not have to lengthen or shorten it one mm. The shoulders are a perfect fit, the darts and princess seams line up. So far, so good. I have been in joy this week with sewing.

And maybe the best bit is that my Saturn design is also available for you to buy from Bootstrap but adapted for your own size and measurements – so you too can have your own Galaxy dress. I don’t get a penny only the satisfaction that I may have enabled a few other women to celebrate and showcase their curves.

We sewers have the power and skills and tools to take over the universe – one planet at a time!visata

And what’s even better is that no one has to be killed, tortured, extradited, alienated or left out. Aren’t we brilliant?




40 thoughts on “Saturn

  1. Fun! I’m going to try it.

  2. Saturn looks out of this world beautiful!

  3. Yes, love Fabworks too, and they’re only a few miles down the road from me in Leeds, so even better! Love your fabric oolour and the you can’t really add anything to how great a galaxy dress is. Must try Bootstrap as I’ve so many Vivienne W I inspired ideas knocking around my head. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Oooh oooh oooh make me one! Or several? I love my curves!!!

  5. Another beautiful creation in the making (Saturn).

    Thanks for the info about Bootstrap Patterns. Didn’t even know they offer the potential to become your own designer. I’m in the plus-size range and the big-four companies aren’t quite there yet.

    I might not go to Saturn or Galaxy, but can now explore the universe.

    Please do more designing, sharing your techniques, thoughts and insights.

  6. Interesting post and lovely dress! I do have a question about the neckline. In the line drawing the lowest part of the neckline is at the same level as where the princess seam hits the armscye. Is the dress in green how you designed it and the first picture of your dress how it turned out? That would mean the design was three inches off, as after lowering your dress looks just like the line drawing. I’m interested in creating from scratch at Bootstrap so I’m curious to know if the line drawings are accurate representations!

  7. What you see in the first picture Marianne is cut exactly as the pattern. I agree that there is a discrepancy between the line drawing and the actual but for $5 I figured this was quite unimportant. What I wanted was the neckline shape. I spend $20 or more on Vogue and still have to adapt and change those patterns. I may have done some unintentional measurement error at the beginning but it was easily recoverable. Have a go and see what you come up with. Thank you.

  8. Thanks for passing on the link to fabworks. I’m not buying fabric right now, but this shop looks good. Nice colour for the dress!

  9. THanks for the post. I didn’t know that the pattern I own is called the galaxy dress.I bought it because of the sexy cut. Probabably even in my size 18…. Will finally sew it up, your research motivated me. The pictures do not suggest the use of powernet. All dresses are too tight across the hips. Maybe he uses underlining to squash in tiny wobbles. Dior used waist chinchers but it does not look like there is anything between skin and fabric.
    Have tried bootstrap fashion but find their measurements less detailed than Burda’s made to measure. But they are so dowdy.
    Will use the creative bit though.

    • The basic measurements are pretty good by themselves, but a lot of the patterns also have ProFit measurements that are a lot more detailed (bust span, CB to waist, etc.)

      NAYY, just a happy customer!

    • Most pictures that I see of the Galaxy dress are on size 10 women or runway models – I don;t suppose they have too many wobbly bits anyway. Thanks Viliene, hope you find what you’re looking for.

  10. I love your Saturn! When I see the Galaxy dresses I am bugged by the sleeves, but I love the way your sleeves are. Cm’t wait to see it finished!

    • Have you seen how the Galaxy sleeves are sewn on? It’s like they’re stuck on top of a sleeveless dress and topstitched in place. I think I can even see some overlocking on the edge that is attached to the front. Thanks Maggie.

  11. looking forward to seeing the completed dress on you. Love the fabric I wonder if they ship to the Antipodes for a reasonable fee?

  12. Yulia from Bootstrap Fashion has been brave enough to wade into the shark tank that is GOMI (Get Off My Internets) and engage and respond to a bunch of snarky seamsters. She’s wound up getting some semi-constructive feedback. It was interesting to see the thread go from WTF to “Hey, have you considered this?”

    The great thing about BF is that you can select a large-format download and take it to a service bureau and avoid all the tiling and taping, which irritates me, as it allows so much opportunity for little errors, not to mention it’s a pain in the ass.

    Office-oriented large-format printers, like FedEx Office here in the US, will charge an arm and a leg for their services, but there are all kinds of local firms that specialize in architectural/engineering work that charge far less. Or so I’ve heard. The relevant search term here in the US is “reprographics.”

    Now I feel like that guy in “The Graduate”!

  13. I’ve forgotten about the Galaxy dress but now I remember in my scrapbook, I have a fantastic piccie of (the endlessly watchable) Romola Garai wearing a red one about 3 or 4 years ago. I might do a post about it one day and I certainly think the two dress patterns you gave me both have something in common with the Galaxy.

    I’m worried about your Saturn dress as it’s so long and narrow: will you make a kick pleat at the back? Is it lined and will you be able to walk if not? I can imagine the fun you had sewing it and watching the shape emerge. I love projects that require the matching of seams at the waist. It’s mildly challenging but not off-putting. Look forward to the results!

    • Marianna, I don’t think I’ll sit down at all and only take teeny-tiny steps – sorted!
      I hadn’t thought about practicalities like that – split or kick pleat it’s going to have to be – thanks for bringing me back down to earth.

  14. Your Galaxy dress looks great so far! I am so pleased to hear that it is working out for you. I also made a contribution to the Fund Raiser and I hope they are able to press ahead. I agree with you about supporting innovative entrepreneurs. She has a lot of great ideas for BootstrapFashion.

  15. I’ve thought about bootstrap a few times, I would have liked a customised trouser pattern but didn’t like their styles. The dress is fab, will sitting down be an option ? Love the colour. X

  16. Your dress is going to be awesome Ruth. Thanks for such an informative post.

  17. Winter cyclamen sounds like an antibiotic!
    This dress is your destiny- the shape you were born for- lovely!

  18. This looks like a solution to the many OOP pattern problems – only as good as your designing and measuring skills but you seem to have that sorted. I’m sure the negative comments that the pattern company are getting can be at least in part put down to the client (although they are unlikely to actually say that).
    Your Saturn is looking good so far!

    • That’s exactly what I thought too Kim – all those OOPs are no longer OOP apart from strange shaped one like Koos. I reckon you could even take RTW and make a copy too.

  19. Oh My, I am dreadfully sorry I saw this post as I now will be itching to try this feature on Bootstrap. Your dress will be so beautiful in that raspberry wool.

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