This is Part 3 of a 3-part blog series where I show you how I made my three 2018 Spring Carnival outfits pictured below.
Starting with a Hat
My Oaks Day outfit started with a hat. The hat I had made by Peacock Millinery to match my pleated dress. I absolutely loved it and was super excited to wear it. I rarely ever start with a hat, so this was a fun challenge for me.
Last minute as usual and only two days out from flying to Melbourne, my options for finding an outfit were limited. I needed to work fast! I had a cream tulle dress in my wardrobe, designed and made by Andrew, that I had worn to a few events earlier this year.
I tried it on with my hat, thinking the tulle and crinoline would work well together and was very pleased to see it looked beautiful with my hat.
Finding my Accessories
I was lucky enough to already have blue heels, purchased with the intention of wearing them with my Cup Day outfit, and they were the same colour as the hat.
I had a pale blue belt from Adorne, which I bought a few years ago for $7 and found it was also a good match. As most of the outfit was found tucked away at home somewhere, I managed to save some funds…thank goodness. My limit for race day outfits had expired!
Continuing with the sea theme, I found some starfish and shell earrings at Lovisa. I purchased two pairs of earrings from Lovisa, the first were $18 and the second pair were on sale for $7. I mixed and matched the two pairs to use the two bigger earrings from each set. Everyone thought the star earrings were Christie Nicolaides, which are around $300, so it was fun telling everyone they were $7!
I decided to try finding a clutch in Melbourne because I was out of time.
Spotting a Sale in Myers
When in Melbourne and on the hunt for a clutch, I wandered into Myer in Melbourne City and saw a stunning white Alex Perry Dress hanging on the sale rack. It was made of the most beautiful white fabric, textured with sequins on it.
I couldn’t help but think it reminded me of sand or coral- which would suit my hat. It was $400 reduced from $2000!
The only problem was, it had a big black velvet panel on the waist and was a size 12. I knew I would be able to replace the black panel with something, patch over it or even possibly sew it onto my original tulle dress- this sort of thing is my specialty.
I decided not to purchase it, but showed my mum and brother, who both agreed they really liked the fabric. My mum offered to trade me the $500 Myer gift card I won on Derby Day for it.
Cutting up a $2000 Gown
I ended up purchasing it the day before Oaks Day, then went to the nearest fabric store I could find and purchased some white lace, white tulle, pins, needles and thread.
That night I got to work, nervously unpicking the skirt and bodice, which took forever. Then I pinned the skirt onto my (already existing) tulle dress and widened two pleats on the back to take in the waist, changing it from a size 12 to a size 8. I hand stitched around it.
The bodice, I kept as an additional piece that sat over the top of the dress, as it didn’t need to be sewn down. I liked the way it appeared to be an overhanging piece.
Then I started on the bust area, where I had removed the black velvet from. As the original tulle dress was a cream colour, I used the white lace (with a layer of white tulle underneath) to patch the area.
I cut out random shapes and sections of the white lace I had bought and pinned them on, until the area was covered. I had only purchased 40cm of lace, but it was JUST the right amount.
So, how did it turn out?
I was very pleased with the end result, mainly because I hadn’t just cut up an Alex Perry gown for nothing!! And I got to bed at a reasonable 3am.
Having the new white dress instead of the cream tulle dress meant that I could use my Cult Gaia bag again, and at $500, I was happy it got another outing. The mother of pearl sheen complemented the sequins in the dress fabric.
I didn’t try on the outfit until the morning of Oaks Day, so I was SO pleased to see it all worked together. Phew.
Rozi made me another epic bun with swirls around it.
I even placed top ten!
And that’s the story of how my Oaks Day outfit came together!
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Spring Trends Report
The 2019 Spring Racing Fashion Trends Report. A 54 page, comprehensive guide to what's trending this race season. Plus, you'll receive exclusive weekly fashion tips to help you stand out at your next race event.