One of my sewing goals for 2017 is utilizing patterns in my stash that have been overlooked for one reason or another. I can’t really reveal how many patterns we may be talking about or Hubby might ban my Seamwork subscription. Eeek! Over the break, I happened upon the Day and Night Dress Challenge, hosted by Elizabeth (blog here), one late night I was up thinking about our end of year work blitz.
The description for the challenge is posted on the blog link above, but essentially, you make two dresses. One for day, sky’s the limit and one for night with only one requirement – it must be black. I had several chuckles at the comments on the Facebook group for this challenge. You wouldn’t believe (maybe you would?!) the audacity of people asking the host to change the rules to be dark colored, etc., because they don’t look good in black. Um. Ya. Then don’t do the challenge. Ha! Elizabeth must be a preschool teacher or something equally as patient in her spare time because she handled the comments with way more tact that I would’ve in her shoes.
On with the dresses….
My Day dress is the Painted Portrait Dress by Anna Maria Horner. I purchased this pattern as we were moving to California two Summers ago, but Hubby mentioned it was too maternity looking and while he might be right, nothing says Day Dress like a Muumuu. I love Muumuus, especially in the Summer, when it’s roughly the temperature of the sun here in Northern California. And a Muumuu with pockets!! Big time score.
This is the original fabric I purchased for this pattern; a lightweight cotton voile. I know, not too flashy or sky’s the limit, but something I would definitely wear. I used bright green facing for the inside and added a thin green tie for the waist. For those times I want to wear said dress to work and don’t want them thinking I was in an all night binge eating Burrito Bandito. Or worse, expecting. I’m almost 42 now and that ship has sailed. Unless I could be guaranteed a girl… Kidding Hubby, only kidding! *maybe* No. Definitely. Kidding.
The Night dress is my own personal White Whale. (queue Sienfeld fans) I have loved this dress for a few years now. It was my first purchase from By Hand London, Indie pattern company, who’s descriptions of patterns make me giggle and I know I’d love them in person in an instant. The Sophia dress. I made a test (muslin) dress the Spring before we left Hawaii. Altered it and sewed it up in some beautiful jade green brocade I’d been carting around for 10 or so years. As I attached the bodice to the skirt, the bodice came up too short on each side. I was perplexed, yet I pressed on. The whole dress had been topstitched and fully lined. I was sure it was going to be just fine.
Waahhhh!! It was not. It is in fact so tight, when I had it zipped I was trading breathing for looking chic. I had visions of altering for my sister, who is probably the only candidate for it, but I am no good at going back to tormenting projects. There it still sits in my closet.
This time around, I made a new muslin bodice. Too small. A size larger complete muslin dress. Too big. (I might also note, I was so confident in my skills previously, I actually cut up my original purchased printed pattern, boo!!! So I purchased the pdf version this time. Now I see why people like pdf patterns so much) After a round of alterations, I made the real deal dress in crinkly black taffeta. I know this sounds terribly time consuming, but each test dress ran a night in the making. The worst of it was asking Hubby to pin up the back with his sausage digits. I think he’s getting me a dress form for my birthday. If not, he should seriously reconsider.
What do you think happened when I attached my carefully sewn bodice to the skirt. YES! to my horror, it was once again too short. How did this happen?! I left it sitting for two weeks and when I decided I really was running out of time to finish this for the challenge, put the zipper in against the edge of the opening, not 5/8″ in like I did on my test dress. The result. An elegant dress that is a little roomier than I’d like; I’ll take it.
It’s not perfect, but alas there is room to grow if I decide to wear it to an event where a buffet of fried shrimp and cupcakes is on the menu. I fully lined the dress due to the lightweight nature of the taffeta used. So glad I did. I could see wearing this dressed down some for a more casual work outfit; maybe with a shirt or sweater over and using it as a skirt.
Oh and did I mention, I also added pockets! Every dress should have pockets. I used my trusty Emery dress pocket pattern. There was a minor panic attack when I couldn’t find it, so I promptly made a copy when it surfaced. It’s my go to. The perfect pocket pattern.