It's party time!! Which is all the excuse I need to make a new dress. This year, I wanted to make my own version of a little black dress (or in my case, a little navy dress as black doesn't really suit me). Something classic and elegant, with sleeves and a bow on the front. I've been swooning over these two dresses on Pinterest for weeks, so I decided to see if I could combine the two similar styles into one dress.
|Fitted navy party dress|
|Red party dress with bow|
For fabric, I chose a beautiful stretch cotton sateen, which was kindly gifted to me by The Fabric Godmother. The slight stretch makes it super flattering (important if you plan to stuff your face with pies as I do this Christmas) and it has that subtle touch of shininess essential for party wear.
As I only had a week or so to make the dress, I thought it safer to go with a pattern that already fitted me well - the Colette Patterns Peony. When I initially made this dress here, I made a lot of changes to the back bodice, getting the fit pretty much spot on on my second version. My measurements are still the same, so I thought it would be a simple case of sewing the amended pattern up for a perfect fit. Wrong! What I failed to take into account was the stretchiness of the fabric. It actually has a lot more stretch than I realised, and when I sewed the dress up it was just way too big. I had to take the bodice side seams in by an inch each side, which sorted out the front, but still left the back flapping about. In a bit of an unorthodox move, I joined the back neck darts and the back waist darts together to make two giant darts/tucks down each side of the bodice.
|Neck darts and waist darts joined together|
It sounds horrific but as you can see from the photo above, it looks absolutely fine - they actually look like princess seams and help give the back bodice a nice fitted look.
Other changes I made were to completely re-draft the neckline to become a round neck as the original bateau neckline was just too uncomfortable for me. I used the neckline from the Sewaholic Alma pattern as a guideline and then drew new facings to match the revised shape. I also chopped six inches off the long sleeves and made them tighter as they looked far too baggy and shapeless for such a fitted bodice. So quite a few last minute changes, but worth it in the end as I love the fit now.
To incorporate the bow detail, I decided to make a removable Tilly-style bow belt rather than just add one to the front. Tilly's tutorial is simple to follow and I'm really pleased with the resulting belt. It does involve the sewing on of two sets of hooks and eyes though, and you all know how I feel about those little buggers. My solution? I simply sewed on a set of bra fastenings, so much less fiddly and as they already come with different size options, you can still adjust to fit!
Fabric was given to me free of charge for review. All views my own.