Embellishing The Holiday Dress: Topic Overview and Carnaby St Dress Sew-along


Hi Everyone! Welcome to the topic Embellishing the Holiday Dress! 

How do you take something ordinary and make it extraordinary? With embellishments! In this topic I will show you how adding the perfect embellished details not only elevate the design, but really make your garment stand out. We will begin with a look at a few basic dress designs, fabric types to choose from, and embellishment sources to make or create the perfect finishing details. I’ll demonstrate a few different ways to add the embellishments, both prior to construction and after the garment is finished. And finally we’ll wrap up the topic with a look at staging for the perfect photo or packaging for a memorable gift giving experience! I’m excited to share these tips and techniques with you!



Carnaby St Dress pattern. If you don't already have that one, I encourage you to use your November coupon code to get your copy. This dress includes several variations and both are the perfect canvas for adding embellishment!

Quick note for those of you that bought the Pixie Pack to make the black dress: I forgot to add the cutting layout to the package, the sequined fabric provided is just enough to cut the bodice and sleeve cap pieces, the sleeve just needs to be placed upside down so the top of the cap is in between the front and back bodices.

Follow along in this video to learn more about the dress design elements and sew the View B dress. If you're interested in View C, watch for that tutorial in Part 3.



In this next video we will use the dress that we just made and take it one step further by adding a beaded embroidered appliqué. 

You can follow along with this topic with any dress as your base design. The important details to consider are the fabric choices and the types of embellishment to use.  For holiday dresses, I like to use special occasion fabrics such as Silk Dupioni (poly blends work great too!), Rayon blends, Taffeta, Crushed Velour, Sparkly tulle, Sequined fabrics.

Follow along in this video to learn more about the fabric types and tips for sewing with them.

Video Timeline:

Beginning - 3:30 Supplies overview, needles, tools, etc.

3:30 - 7:00 Chiffon Fabric - Freezer Paper Stabilizer Tip!

7:00 - 8:56 Tailors chalk marking for fabrics that can't be pinned.

8:56 - 12:40 Close up look at fabric types

12:40 - 20:20 Example Garments

20:45 - 21:53 Fabrics A to Z Book Review

21:53 - 24:36  Needles and Stitches

24:36 - 26:30 Velvet

26:30 - 27:53 Sewing With Double Sided Quilters Tape

27:53 - End Sequined Fabrics

For a full list of fabric shopping websites, be sure to check out the Ultimate Resource Guide PDF download in the SWC Bonuses Section.

Embellishments can be cut from embroidered fabrics usually found in the special occasion or bridal sections. On thing to note, this type of fabric is very expensive! The good thing is that you don't need very much when sewing at this smaller scale. I usually buy 1/8 yard, that's the smallest cut  I can get. From that one piece I am able to embellish a lot of dresses, or jackets too! Just look at the repeat of the pattern and the overall scale of the design. You can use small parts if you carefully cut them apart.

Here are a few places to browse online:

Mood Fabrics ( Bridal section/ Embroidered Tulle Fabrics) Also try "Beaded"

Etsy (Search for Embroidered Tulle)

Bridal Fabrics (For the UK audience, although they do ship worldwide)


If you don't want to use the Carnaby St Dress pattern, here are a few other suggestions:

Here's the video tutorial for the Blossom/Starlight Gala pattern mash-up. This version uses the bodice from Blossom and the skirting from Starlight Gala. We'll be showing our embellished version later in this topic!


1 Comment

Kathy m
Kathy m

November 11, 2021

Hi can we get cutting lay for pixie pack ?

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