Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

6Nap: The Plot


optimized-maxW950-The-Adventure-of-the-Six-NapoleonsOnce upon a time there were six identical porcelain busts of Napoleon and inside one of them was a black pearl that belonged to the Borgias. The busts were stolen from their owners, one by one, and smashed as the thief attempted to find the priceless pearl.

Sew2pro has gathered together a small but talented team to find the gem by each one recreating their own priceless Six Napoleon dress.

There are few rules; one of them being that we have to at least show a bit of progress……I’m far behind the others of the crack detective squad who have sketches done, bodices fitted and made and are now draping their skirts. The original dress by Dogstar, Japanese fashion designer Masayo Yasuki’s brand is our inspiration (centre below): it has a black organza skirt with a black boned bodice.


Red, white and grey are my colours and all in stretch. The roses is a mesh fabric probably used for underwear and the red is a solid cotton jersey and the white is a burn out cotton jersey.

No time to learn how to bone a bodice right now but I do have Alabama Chanin’s jersey corset pattern. To shape the bottom hem I just cut the bodice longer and will mark the off-centre point later.


I found the muslin pattern from my Vivienne Westwood knock-off (another of Sew2Pro’s challenges).


Put the two together to get a dress.

Then I thought that if I’m using an Alabama Chanin pattern I may as well Alabama Chanin it too.


I’ve got a plot: red jersey bodice with roses underneath, roses skirt with a white underskirt. The bodice is half-way Alabama Chanin’d and should be completed this week. Then on to that 14m skirt………


41 thoughts on “6Nap: The Plot

  1. I like where this is going, the embroidered bodice and flowery skirt sound good.

  2. oooooooooooooooooooh priddy! Me likee!

  3. I never knew the story of the six busts and the hidden gem! You’ve just given this challenge a fantastic literary connection – you’re so totally a class act!

    And the dress will look fabulous. The AC treatment is another interpretation I didn’t expect and I’m impressed you’ve kept your skirt pattern from two years ago.

    Oh, and the VW shoes will go perfectly with the fabrics!

  4. Hi Ruth,
    When you get around to working on a boned bodice, I would recommend the craftsy course…………..the bombshell dress. It got me through my first one.

    This looks like a fun challenge. I have to admit that I am totally in awe of the “Westwood” dress that you designed and made. I have the draping book on my extensive wish list, but fear I don’t have your flair.

    Looking forward to seeing your finished dress, it is going to truly be a one off. I can’t wait to see you modelling the finished dress.

  5. A fascinating story. Good luck with your version. Looks good so far.

  6. Will you make me one hun? xxx

  7. Wow I am blown away! This is going to be amazing! Love everything about it.

    When I think of Napoleon all I can think of is my visit to the Louvre with a bunch Italians grumbling about all of the Italian art stolen by him. I thought I was about to become part of a crack repatriation squad.

    • Ha ha, I didn’t know about that either!

      My mum claims we has a Napoleonic soldier as ancestor; he collapsed with exhaustion somewhere in Croatia, was nursed to health by a local woman and … basically deserted. As proof of this, she cites one surname in the family which begins with Le. Well, it’s proof enough for me!

    • Thanks Stephanie. That would have been an exciting trip. I can just picture you running past the Mona Lisa with an oil painting under your arm.

  8. Love it!!!

  9. This is going to be great! Love your start and the Alabama Chanin really reflects your take, although I am slightly hankering for a pirate version and a bit of buckling of swash! I want to have a go at boning, but not sure when I would wear it. (Actually might make the perfect audition costume worn as twins! Maybe it would make us look more quirky. x

  10. This is going to be gorgeous!

  11. This looks fabulous. I can’t wait to see the skirted version.

  12. He he, You are so creative. I am so excited by all these different versions. I hope Marianna can get the contest written up in a craft or dressmaking magazine as you have added such an interesting twist to the challenge. And I love the story.

  13. Thanks for bringing the whole story together! I’ve started with the skirt. This is a great madness we are in.

    • The skirt makes sense as there’s so much fabric to deal with. I’m really looking forward to seeing the whole finished collection of Six Napoleons

  14. I love how you are all putting different interpretations on the idea. Shall look forward to seeing yours

  15. Six Napoleons – Sherlock Holmes wasn’t it?

  16. I love everyones different variations. I would never have considered AC so I can’t wait to see yours completed.

  17. This is going to be BRILLIANT!! I’ve been following along on Sew2Pro’s blog, and I love that you’ve used Napoleon himself for colour inspiration! Good luck 🙂

  18. Lovely job Ruth and thank you for demystifying the 6nap reference – it had me bamboizled!

  19. Pingback: Special Days | corecouture

  20. Pingback: It’s All About the Skirt: a guest post from Studio Faro | Sew 2 Pro

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