A little black dress, yes I've sewn a pretty plain looking black dress, but the construction of this little dress was more than simple. Well that's what it felt like while I was in the middle of it.
This is Marfy 3358, one of the free patterns in the 2014/15 catalogue - I see that these patterns are now available for PDF download. I was drawn to the pattern by the style lines - the empire line taking on a chevron rather than being parallel to the ground under the bust; the bodice princess seams and the high neckline.
I started by making a muslin of a straight size 46, which required the following alterations:
- removed 1/8" from the side front at high bust and 3/8" from centre front at the high bust - this was to account for my hollow chest, which I recently learned is such a thing and not uncommon.
- 1/4" added to the centre back at the neckline, tappered into the bottom of the bodice at centre back. Apparently need a little more room for my shoulders.
- added 1/8" to each skirt front piece at hip and 1/4" to each skirt back pieces at the hip. This gave me that little bit extra I need to get my hips in!
- added 1" to the skirt length
With all those changes made I thought the fit was about as good as I was going to get, and whipped out the real fabric. I picked up this cotton pique from Global Fabrics, now The Fabric Store, but creases terribly, as you can see from these picture.
To add some stability to the bodice I interlined it with silk organza. I kinda wish I had also interlined the skirt to reduce the creasing, but I didn't!
Anyway, I got the shell of the dress put together, I'd even catch stitched down the seam allowance! Then came the 'in progress' fitting, only to discover that I had too much excess fabric on the bodice side seam under the arm. Buggar!!! Out came the trusty seam ripper and I removed 1/4" from each side seam at the under arm graded into the existing seamline where the bodice meets the skirt.
Yay, no more flappy wings! Although in hindsight I wish I had also removed some fabric from the side front armseye - or maybe I just need to get those shoulders pulled back and improve my posture!
To finish the dress I fully lined it with some DKN acetate, also picked up from The Fabric Store. The lining was fully inserted by hand-stitching and under-stitched around the neckline.
To add a bit of interest I hand stitched some lizard sequin trim around the chevron empire line. This is the first little black dress that I've made for myself - a nice fit for my work wardrobe which I can mix and match with jackets and shoes.
More photos on my Flickr -->