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Lorenza the Label is a hand made, individually crafted, made to order fashion label based in Melbourne. Using bespoke fabrics and high quality notions, every piece is cut, sewn and hand finished by Lorenza herself.

Sewing blog

Blog about dressmaking and sewing in the life of Lorenza.

Blog 1.4 - Cutting with conviction

lorenza thelabel

I went fabric shopping on Saturday at GJ's fabric in Fairfield which I've only just realised is 10 minutes from my house - amazing. I was looking for fabric to make wrap dresses for work and then stumbled across something far dressier and knew this was no work dress but I needed it in my life. 

It was roughly made black netting over the top of very brightly coloured fabric. I turned it over to see it was a crazy floral print that I'd never buy but the black over the top made it tactile and mesmerising and it had a bit of stretch in it. yaY!

I cut out my usual long sleeve Vogue dress pattern thinking the stretch would be enough for a good fit. Alas I finished it and it looked like a total rectangular sack. I couldn't wipe the disappointment off my face. Mr J thought my annoyance was hilarious but was also very careful about agreeing or disagreeing with how good or bad the dress looked.

I was so annoyed at myself thinking why didn't I make a strapless dress or a skirt or something that didn't need the stretch! But then the more and more I looked at it I thought it looked like a dress your grandmother would wear and I couldn't believe how badly I had misjudged a fabric.

I decided then and there to throw it out... OR  take to it with the scissors. If I could make it tighter and more figure hugging I might get away with the fabric looking more Dolce and Gabbana than ill fitting and grandma.

I cut straight up the centre back free hand (something I would never do!) turned it inside out and pinned out the fullness around the waist at the back. Then pinned in the side seams in as tight as I could to make it fitted and snug.

I roughly sewed it, put it back on and it was looking better but still dowdy. I took to it with the scissors again, this time the neckline and cut it lower... still dowdy, cut lower again. I was scaring myself with the way I was cutting into this beautiful fabric and thought this is going to look either amazing or like a total disaster.

Neck line looked good, it was fitting like a glove but now I couldn't walk because I'd made it so tight. I had to give it a huge split up the back to get a good stride in. And now it looked cheap and tacky from behind! It needed a vent or a pleat to cover up the giant split.

I made a few variations of pleats. Again I was free hand pleating, ironing and pining until it worked. I refused to get out a pattern and make it properly as I thought this dress was becoming a scissoring, draping piece of art I wasn't going back to the rule books now.

I sewed on some additional buttons to the pleat covering, gave it a good press and told myself to stop looking how roughly it was sewn as no-one except me would ever be able to tell. I hung it up, admired it and went to bed exhausted.

The end.