September 18, 2017

My ultimate “fancy” dress: navy overlay Turner Dress

When I was about 28, everyone got married. I mean, it felt like everyone at least. (OK fine, everyone I know, maybe not EVERYONE). So it’s been a while since I was on the wedding circuit, but this summer it perked back up again, and I had the pleasure of popping back to the UK for two nuptial celebrations (including my brother’s!). However, those of you know who know the UK will be aware of my dilemma: what to wear. It could be freezing! It could be boiling! Who knows! And, these days, I’m extremely intolerant of constricting or uncomfortable clothes, especially at epic 13 hour British weddings (I kid you not, 11am – 1am is standard; thankfully, most of them have a bacon sandwich break mid-evening).

Enter: my navy burnout velvet overlay Turner Dress!

Dears, this is THE SOLUTION for what ails you, “fancy” garments wise. It’s brought me boundless compliments, and yet, it’s a jersey dress. Meaning: super comfy, doesn’t crease in the suitcase, and for British purposes, it’s reasonably warm without being boiling. Perfect!

I wore it to both weddings (I KNOW, but I’m just not posh enough for “one time only” per dress, folks), and didn’t regret it for a second. I paired it with these amazing handmade-in-Italy M.Gemi nude-on-me block heels, which are the shoe equivalent of this very dress: totally comfortable, chic, but deceptively fancy (check M.Gemi out here and get $50 off your pair!). For those interested, my trusty gold belt is from J.Crew online, where they have plus/extended sizes that they don’t have in-store.

The navy burn-out stretch velvet was quite the find: I snagged some at Rimmon in LA (wholesale-only), but I know that Stitch Sew Shop in Alexandria had some for a while too, so it may be hidden away in fabric shops all over the land. It doesn’t fray, so I decided not to hem it, and let the hem and sleeves just show the pattern in all its glory.

Constructing an overlay Turner Dress is super easy, so long as you have a decently stretchy overlay fabric:

  • Cut the bodice (front & back) and skirt out of your jersey underlayer
  • Cut the entire dress out of your overlay
  • Sew the lined bodice using the overlay as the “main” fabric and jersey as the lining
  • Sew in the overlay-only sleeves
  • Make two skirts, one of jersey and one of overlay, then baste them together at the waist
  • Join to the bodice, and voila! Easy peasy.

You may also be thinking to yourself “my, Jenny, what an incredibly coordinated backdrop you found there!”. Well trust me, I did a little yelp when I saw it. My brother Tom took these great photos and was a little underwhelmed but I had to explain that in blogger land a door that matches your dress, and a complementary pastel coloured wooden stable door is what dreams are made of. I’ve always aspired to a somewhat “Boden” feel with Cashmerette (my #1 source of RTW clothes, pre-sewing) and when we were wandering around Chelsea it became totally apparent that this is in fact where they take all of their London pics. Watch out for this charming door in the future!

Of course, you always feel pretty stupid taking blog photos on the street, especially with various casual observers. But at least no-one answered the door…..

Have you made an overlay Turner? It’s rapidly becoming my default for when I need a new special-occasion dress (remember my polka dotted one?). I predict more in the future! Now I just need some more people to get married…

10 thoughts on “My ultimate “fancy” dress: navy overlay Turner Dress

  1. WOW Jenny such a gorgeous dress! I love that pattern on the burn-out and navy has always been one of my favourite colours. It looks so beautiful I imagine you’ll be wearing quite a bit on this side of the pond too 🙂

  2. Robin Townsend says:

    Love this look!

  3. Sheila says:

    Very lovely

  4. Marianne says:

    Wonderful wedding guest outfit!

  5. Kathi Sorensen says:

    What a knock out, great, head turner of a dress! I wish I had seen your post before my son got married in June!

  6. kaylalena says:

    Love everything about this dress!!!

  7. Kristen says:

    What a beautiful dress! You look fantastic in it!!

  8. Thanks so much for this. I’m about to make one in red burn out velvet. When you baste skirts together did you have wrong sides facing or lining right side to overlay wrong side – if you know what I mean! Did you add length to overlay or shorten jersey? (I’ve made about 10 Turners so far!)

    1. You baste them together as they’ll be worn – so the inside of the overlay faces the lining. I think I shortened the jersey an inch or two on this one (it was a long time ago!) but you can go either way.

Let me know what you think!