Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Amazing Fit Little Black Dress

One thing high on my autumn sewing list was a little black cocktail dress. Despite having a bulging wardrobe of dresses, I still have moments (often ten minutes before we're due to go out) when absolutely nothing in there seems quite right. A little black dress seemed like the perfect solution.


The pattern I used was Simplicity 1249 - the princess seams and raglan cap sleeves of View B were exactly what I had in mind for my cocktail dress. The pattern is from the Amazing Fit series which come with a choice of pattern pieces for cup sizes (B to DD) and separate cutting lines for  different hip types (Slim, Average or Curvy). Cup size is determined by the difference between your full and high bust measurements, so based on this I went for a C cup in size 14 and used the Slim cutting line for my hips. The pattern pieces were almost identical to my dress block which was really encouraging.


The theory behind Amazing Fit patterns is that you partly construct the dress, then baste together key areas such as side seams and shoulders. The seam allowance in these areas is a generous one inch, which gives plenty of room for fine tuning the fit. Once you've adjusted the fit to your liking, the seams are sewn as normal, basting stitches removed and seam allowances trimmed down. This seemed like an awful lot of faffing about to me, but to be fair, I did end up making some fitting adjustments so it was worth doing it this way. The instructions also included lots of fitting guidelines which were handy to refer to.


My basted together dress was perfectly wearable, but a bit mumsy, so I made a few adjustments for a tighter fit. I took out some fullness underneath the bustline by pinching out the front side seams and I also took in the waist and hips at the side seams by about ⅝". The general bust area and shoulders were a great fit, as was the front neckline, YES! I often have to make adjustments in this area to combat gaping, so this was particularly satisfying.


Construction wise, everything went to plan and amazingly there were no mishaps! Princess seams are a bit of a plain to construct because there's so much clipping and pressing involved to achieve a smooth line. I spent a long time at the ironing board with my tailor's ham, but it was time well spent as the seam lines on the finished dress now lie nice and flat. For fabric I used Prada crepe-backed satin from Minerva. The crepe sheds a lot of fibres, but otherwise it's lovely to work with and a really nice quality, perfect for a cocktail dress. The other big advantage is that it's self lined, so no separate lining required, yay! The dress closes with an invisible zip and the neckline is finished with a facing, all very straight forward.


This dress is only the second black garment I've made (this skirt was the first one) and I don't think I'll be making another one in a hurry. Karen's tips for sewing with black fabric were helpful, but I still found it a very difficult colour to work with. It was a nightmare to pick out stitches, even wearing my reading glasses, and there were times when I just had to make a stab at where they were as I literally couldn't see a thing! Thank god the zip went in first time, that's all I can say!

I hardly wear black as I don't think it does much for my colouring, but I'll be making an exception in this case. I'm so pleased with the fit on this dress, it's a simple design but it really does flatter your curves. From now on if I'm stuck for something dressy to wear, this will be my answer - just sling on a necklace and I'll be good to go!  x



82 comments:

  1. Wowser it's knockout Jane! Looks like a goyjus fit - incredibly flattering in all the ways an LBD should be. Love it xx

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    1. Thanks lovely! your LBD from last year's Xmas party inspired me! x

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  2. Gorgeous! I love the bodice and sleeves

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    1. Thanks Rebecca! Yes, I love those bits too! x

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  3. Swit swoo! Great fit Jane, looks really good and a great staple "going out" dress! Loving the sound of self lined crepe, might have to look for some myself!

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    1. Thanks so much! You should definitely try the self lined crepe, it's pricey but worth it considering you don't have to buy lining fabric. x

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  4. Hot stuff, Mrs! I love this dress and it is indeed an amazing fit. xxx

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    1. Thanks Janene! I'm so pleased with it. x

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  5. Stunning! Looks like a great pattern!

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    1. Thanks! I was really impressed with the pattern. x

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  6. Your LBD looks stunning on you!

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  7. Oh this is so perfect on you. I absolutely love it! And with the statement necklace? YES! :)

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    1. Thank you! I'm all for a statement necklace! x

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  8. I ,too, will have to look into this one. This is gorgeous on you; and I know what you mean about the colouring aspect. When one is very fair, black can see a bit harsh, but this looks really nice. Another consideration is dark brown, which can be less harsh and a bit more flattering for us fair types, but this is great on you.

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    1. Thanks. Yes, I think it's the harshness of black when my skin's so pale that makes it unflattering. I don't care though in this case! x

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  9. This is a pattern I would have skipped RIGHT over in the pattern book, but it looks so great on you! Very nice.

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    1. Yep, definitely one I would have skipped over ordinarily too, luckily the line drawings are on the front of the pattern are what caught my eye! x

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  10. I think this is very pretty and it is indeed an amazing fit! I very rarely wear black either because I am so pale - it always seems harsh against my skin - but I like the way you've broken it up with that statement necklace, so maybe that is the way forward!

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    1. Thanks love! It's pretty plain without the necklace so I think full bling is definitely the way forward! x

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  11. I have overlooked this pattern many times, but I am sold. Hot stuff, amazing fit! Thanks for explaining the amazing fit patterns more. Always wanted to know how it worked before buying into the hubbub.

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    1. You're welcome! I wasn't quite sure how they worked either so it was good to finally see it explained. x

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  12. That is one flattering dress. Good job. Jo x

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  13. It looks really lovely on you Jane, great fit and I really like the sleeves. I know what you mean about black, I just blogged about black top and feel it is not the most flattering colour, but sometimes other things like practicality overrule that! I know ink/navy does more for my colouring. I think your red lipstick helps make this work so well on you!

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    1. Thanks so much Sherry, I really like the sleeves too. Just caught up with my blog reading and saw your lovely top, we share the same sentiments about black! I agree, sometimes you just have to make an exception to the rule for certain things! x

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  14. Wow this dress is beautiful. I disagree and think you carry off back very well.

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  15. I think this is my favorite item you've made for yourself. It looks terrific on you!

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  16. Ooh it really is the perfect LBD, looks like it'll go with just anything and looks fantastic on you!! I really need to follow suit, it's an item I don't own either yet always seem to think I'll find one in my closet...

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    1. Haha, I was hoping one would magically appear too, no such luck, I had to make my own! And thank you! x

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  17. Actually, I think you look great in that color. Is it just me or does it have a slight gray tinge?

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    1. Thanks Lynn! I had to lighten the photos slightly so that the seam lines were visible, which is why it appears slightly grey. The fabric in reality is pitch black. x

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  18. Lovely dress. You look sophisticated and classy!

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    1. Oh wow, thank you! Two things I don't get called very often! x

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  19. You did a beautiful job! I love the way it fits you.

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    1. Aw thanks, I love the fit too! x

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  20. Black is certainly hard to work with but a result like this makes it worthwhile. A stellar performance, and I think you should wear more black!

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    1. Thank you, I might just be tempted! x

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  21. Wow! It look fabulous and a perfect fit.

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  22. It looks really lovely. I'm sold!

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  23. looks great, now your ready for the party season!

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    1. I know! Just need a few party invites now!

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  24. Lovely dress! This post has just made me realize that I no longer own an LBD, either. I'm going to have to remedy that.

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    1. Definitely something to remedy, I can see this being super useful. And thanks! x

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  25. Wit woo! Looking fab, fits you perfectly.

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  26. Perfect LBD, chic understated elegance, enhancing fit and then , POW!, the necklace and the lipstick. Love it.

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    1. Thanks, I like your use of the word POW! x

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  27. That is an amazing LBD, to be able to create from scratch must be so satisfying.

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    1. It was very satisfying Rachael! And thank you. x

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  28. Mirroring all the other comments - lovely dress and looks great - well done

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    1. Thanks Chris, it's so encouraging to get all this positive feedback! x

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  29. You look so incredibly gorgeous in that dress! Never take it off. That is all.

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    1. I don't get called gorgeous very often so THANK YOU! x

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  30. Wow, that is a really great looking dress! Nice fit, perfect for accessories, and I think you could dress it down too - I bet you wear it a lot!

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    1. I think I will wear it a lot, I've worn it out for dinner already and felt fab in it all evening! x

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  31. Wow this is simply gorgeous! You look amazing, I hope you have lots of fab times wearing it xx

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    1. Aw thanks Jenna, I hope so too! x

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  32. Wow, that fit is amazing! You look stunning!

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  33. Superb fit, you look gorgeous, definitely a dress that would look great on lots of occasions 😀

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    1. Thanks Jacq! I really think it will be a dress for all occasions! x

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  34. Wow, this is absolutely gorgeous. I love the pattern, it's such a nice classy dress and you look great in it!

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    1. Thank you, I can't recommend the pattern highly enough. x

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  35. A self lined fabric? That is a new one on me. What an elegant dress - bet you get lots of wear out of it.

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    1. Thank you, elegant was what I was aiming for so that's a lovely compliment! And the self lined fabric is fab, will definitely use it again in another colour. x

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  36. I agree with everyone else, beautiful elegant dress -love the lines on this pattern. It doesn't hurt to have your beautiful blonde hair to offset it either. Thanks again for another great creation that just makes me have to have this pattern! You look FAB!

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    1. I love the lines of the pattern too. Thanks for the lovely comment Nancy! x

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  37. Oooh, fancy! What a great dress!

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  38. Adding two things to all these superb compliments (I agree with them all)
    1. you looking stunning and
    2. May I be so bold as to say taller!!
    Must get me an Lbd like that asap. Do you think it would work for me too?
    Ash x

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    1. Thank you! I was wearing giant heels in the photos which is why I might look taller, but anything that adds a few inches to my midget stature is always appreciated! And this dress would totally work for you, you'd look stunning in it. x

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  39. Stunning! You have got the fit just perfect on this, you look amazing. And what a great LBD - everyone needs one in their wardrobe, they are so versatile. Come to think of it...I don't have one that fits me anymore...oh dear, I think another project has just been added to my to-sew list!

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    1. Thanks so much! I agree, everyone needs one in their wardrobe, sooo versatile! x

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