Welcome to Part 2 of a 3-part blog series, where I show you how I made my three 2019 Spring Carnival outfits.

In this post I’ll share how I created my Melbourne Cup Day outfit. You can also read about the making of my Derby Day and Oaks Day outfits.

beautiful purple and black dress

My 2019 Spring Carnival Outfits – Left to Right: Derby Day, Melbourne Cup Day, Oaks Day

The Starting Point

My Melbourne Cup Day outfit started with an overwhelming desire to wear an outfit featuring a beautiful pleated skirt.

And that was the only easy decision of the entire outfit.

The rest was a true test of determination and passion, a whole lot of roadblocks, hiccoughs and huge sighs of relief when the final product arrived and it was love at first try-on.

Making a Pleated Skirt

Back in August I made a trip to Melbourne. I wanted to meet my dress maker Mark Blake and also visit a man named Simon Zdraveski, who owns Specialty Pleaters, one of the two last pleating workshops in Australia.

artisan specialty pleaters workshop work studio

fabric pleat workshop high fashion pleats

I was so excited to visit Simon in his workroom and to rummage through all the beautiful molds of pleats he had on offer.

I went there one morning with my dressmaker in tow and spent over an hour in his workroom asking questions, sifting through and touching everything in sight. After viewing numerous pleat molds, I chose my favourite; a beautiful sunray with an intricate detail at different lengths along the design.

beautiful sunray pleats mold spread out on table DIY handmade pleats

Mark had a bubblegum pink scuba-like fabric that I loved the colour and weight of, that we decided to use. The only problem was, there was a black backing on the fabric and Simon did not think it could be pleated due to its thickness. We decided to look for something else.

pink scuba fabric

Mark and I set off to find the most beautiful fabric to be pleated up into what I envisioned to be a masterpiece.

The only problem was…. no fabric caught my eye.

Five fabric stores down and not a single option, not even a maybe! We soon gave up our fabric hunt and I decided to search online.

Hundreds of pages of fabrics later and I still came up empty handed. Could I possibly be…. FUSSY?

Deflated, but still determined to use the original pink fabric, Mark decided to try pulling off the black backing. It came off surprisingly easily!

removing black lining from pink fabric

We thought we were so smart now that we could use the fabric… but discovered that we only had a mere five meters, which was not enough for a pleated skirt, as 3 times the usual length is needed when taking pleats into consideration.

Back to the drawing board.

We both kept an eye out for fabrics, preferably pink to match the pink scuba fabric we already had. Mark came across something and I wasn’t sure from the photo he sent me, but I liked the colour and trusted him.

finding suitable fabric for fashion design

shopping for pink and purple fabric

I purchased the fabric, Mark lay and cut it into the pattern pie