This dress was my 2014 Melbourne Cup entry.
It was the week before Melbourne Cup and I was frantically trying to put together an outfit. I wasn’t sure if I was going to attend the races this year because I had been very busy moving back from Sydney to the Gold Coast and had not had a chance to find anything to wear.
One of my best friends lives in Melbourne, we usually attend the races together and after much debate I decided I would go because it really is my favourite event of the year and I would get to spend the week with my friend. I purchased plane tickets that night and started planning.
A couple of years ago I purchased a beautiful teal silk dress from Aurelio Costarella that I loved the shape of.
It was too short to be a races dress on its own (it came above my knee which is a definite no-no in Fashions on the Field).
I tried on quite a few pencil skirts that I owned over the top of my dress and sent photos to a few friends…
None of them were working- sometimes it really is trial and error and you have to keep changing your idea.
I called my TAFE teacher and asked her to help me take in a gold silk skirt I had previously purchased from an OP shop.
We spent 5 hours sewing and trying different ideas on the dress.
I had some white mesh that we used to fill in the bust cut out and made a collar.
We took in the skirt and added a side panel made out of curtain fabric to give it an interesting feature.
I got it home and decided I didn’t like the look of it anymore and after a mini meltdown and removing all the sewing I had done that day was back to the drawing board.
I had another skirt I loved the print of from Cue. I was pleased to find when I tried it on with my dress that the teal colour was similar and it worked well together!
Now that I had my base ready I had tie the skirt in with the dress.
I purchased a variety of teal, blue, black, pink, red and orange beads and started work on the sleeves of the dress.
The colour of the pink flowers used in the skirt were a pale pink and did not stand out so I used a coral pink which I incorporated into the beading of the sleeves.
The sleeves took me 20 hours and each bead had to be sewn on individually. I was lucky there was already teal wooden beads on the sleeves so I did not have such a big area to cover especially when I had just 5 days left to complete the outfit.
My next problem was the cut out on the bust- I did not want to leave it because I felt by it self it was a bit too revealing.
Earlier that month I had visited a millinery supply store in Brisbane and had purchased half a meter of fine gold mesh. I lined it up and sewed it onto the inside of the bust which was quite tricky and the mesh itself was very delicate.
I started on the skirt next by tracing the outline of the flowers with beads and sporadically placing them around the flowers. The skirt alone was a very tedious task and I spent most nights beading until 3 or am in the morning.
I tried on the skirt and dress together and it looked beautiful. I then had the difficult task of finding the right accessories and millinery to go with my outfit.
Being just 2 days before the race I had no choice but to reuse a hat I had purchased from Kylie Heagney at the Hat Box in Brisbane. I had worn this hat twice before in race events and really loved the shape and the way it sat up on my head.
I went to spotlight to find some inspiration and purchased teal feathers, wire and two packets of mesh petals.
I spent hours working out the arrangements and decided upon an elevated flower using the individual petals I purchased and added the teal feathers behind the hat base. I had to wire everything in place so it would be secure on the day- this was a new skill for me and I was super happy with the results I achieved.
For accessories I usually find a shop called Adorn has great necklaces and I managed to find a teal and dark blue braided necklace (what luck!) which I sewed onto the neck line of my dress. It had beaded fringing which tied in well with the design on my outfit!
The last pieces to my puzzle were the shoes and bag.
I happened to be at the markets near my house purchasing some extra beads and came across a big shed which sold shoes. I did not think I would find anything in here but went in anyway.
I could not believe they had a pair of coral strap heels which matched my outfit perfectly and purchased them for $15!
I had a perspex clutch I had used before and a gold insert for inside that tied in with the gold from the mesh of the bust fabric. I painted some orchid fabric flowers a orangey coral colour and placed them inside the clutch again the perspex sides. It worked well!
On the Monday morning (The day before the Melbourne Cup) I was at the airport early for my 10am flight and was still beading the finishing touches of the skirt- with beading it never ends there is always somewhere you can add more beads to. I was actually sitting in Pace e Luce hair salon the morning of the Cup beading whilst Juliano my hair stylist made me a beautiful big bun suit my millinery.
On the day I was nervous wearing something I had put together in such a hurry and worried I had not done enough but I was fortunate enough to be chosen as the first runner up on Melbourne Cup Day at Flemington Race Coarse- my first ever sash in Melbourne!