Monday, January 6, 2014

The Not New Year's Eve Dress Nearly Done

Is it chilly where you are today? Or perhaps extremely cold, much too cold to get fixed up to model a short sleeved party dress?

It's not just the cold--my dress also still lacks a hem and it may do so for some time to come, since I have no definite occasion for wearing it in sight. As I mentioned yesterday, this was intended to be my New Year's Eve dress. Even though it's not over-the-top glamorous--and there were definitely some OTT dresses at the party I attended, from glittery to beaded to backless, from full-length to tiny and body hugging and every place in between--I thought the emerald color would make a bit of a statement in a dressy crowd.

Even though I've made Simplicity 1882 before, I managed to find ways to struggle with this one. First, the sleeves just did not cooperate with my desire to set them in smoothly. I tried three times with the first set of sleeves, trimming the caps just a bit more each time and finally feeling that they had become too distorted to be going on with. So I redrew the sleeve pattern pieces, reducing the height (via a horizontal tuck about 2" down from the top of the sleeve) by 1/4" and the width (via a vertical tuck at the center of the sleeve) by 1/4" before cutting the pieces in my extra fabric. I also departed from the pattern instructions by not self-lining the sleeves. In this fabric, the seam allowance felt bulky with two pieces of sleeve fabric plus the bodice fabric. Instead, I cut a 1 1/4" bias strip of the fashion fabric to face the sleeve hem edge (sewed right sides together, turned to the inside and then edgestitched to the inside of the sleeve), which I then hand catch-stitched in place.

Oh, and I meant to note that the shoulders felt a bit narrow in this edition of the dress, so I sewed them with a 3/8" seam allowance rather than 5/8". My previous version of this pattern was made from a stretch woven, which would account for a different fit through the shoulders than this polyester crepe-back satin.

The other way I made things hard on myself was by deciding to use the shiny satin face for the waist section as well as the collar and pocket facings. I thought it would make the dress more fancy by functioning something like a cummerbund. But when I finally had everything put together, I wasn't happy with the contrasting waist. For my figure, it simply drew too much light and attention to the last place I would want it. So out came the midriff and the zipper. Cutting new midriff pieces enabled me to shorten the waist section by 1/2", which subtly improves the fit.

Although it is several days late for its intended function, and still not entirely finished, at least I feel that this dress is finally coming together in a satisfying way. As a red-headed teenager in the late 1980s, I wore lots of emerald and forest green. But then those colors fell out of favor, both in fashion and with my then-boyfriend, now husband. I've been longing to try emerald green again. I hope I will enjoy it as much now as I did 25 years ago!


  1. It's so lovely with the matt and shiny contrast! Like a tuxedo. Good work!

  2. It's a beautiful dress. I'm sure you will look fabulous when the occasion to wear it comes around!

  3. This is beautiful. I love the color and the satin adds just the right amount of sheen.

  4. I too think it is beautiful! You looked so good in your other version that I'm sure this one will be a hit, too. Since you missed New Year's, it would be a gorgeous Valentine's Day dress:)

  5. You struggled with the dress and looking at it now I can say the struggle was worth it. The dress looks so pretty, the colour is amazing and those satin details add more charm to it.

  6. this pattern is in my stash, still waiting to be made. Yours looks great!