Dresses for coffee and cocktails

A couple of weeks ago I came across The Day and Night dress challenge organised by Elizabeth Made This. I thought that is a challenge I can do!

The challenge asks you to create two looks:

  1. A dress with a day look: This should be a casual dress appropriate for your everyday life.  This dress should take you out to have coffee with a friend (long black please!)
  2. A cocktail dress: of any kind and style.  This does not have to be an ultra-formal affair.  Your cocktail dress should take you to a nice dinner or to a less formal wedding.

There are a lot of challenges in the sewing community, some have lots of restrictions. This challenge is great as it gives you the freedom to select the pattern and fabric that best suits you. It has been interesting to see how people from all around the world interpret the challenge.

I did find that the advertising a little unclear. The advertising image that I saw stated February 22 – 28th of February so rushed to get my cocktail look finished. Instead, this was just the blogger portion of the event. The community challenge had a much longer period which ends today 5 March.

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My day dress is made from a cotton/linen banana leaf printed fabric. I have seen so many amazing garments in this fabric so needed some for myself! My local Spotlight had run out. Thankfully, I was able to get hold of some during our recent holiday in Nelson.

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I used a new-to-me pattern Vogue 8786 . The pattern is described as a loose-fitting, pullover dress (fitted through bust) has princess seams, front and back yokes, dropped shoulders, back keyhole closure with hook/eye closing and narrow hem. I didn’t make a muslin as I find princess seams easy dresses to fit.

I went with a straight size 14 hoping there would be enough ease in the hip area. The fit through the back of the dress was fine, However in the front was a bit tight across my stomach. I decreased the seam allowances in the centre front panels from the waist down to .5cm from 1.5cm. I wanted the fabric to skim over my stomach rather than cling to it. I also removed a small wedge from the centre back as I had a sway back.

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The neckline and sleeves are finished with bias binding. Which I buy in bulk from Aliexpress Kele Store.

I love this dress! I’m so glad the print worked out ok being so broken up. The dress is perfect for work or weekends. Hopefully, summer won’t end too quickly and I’ll still have a few more opportunities to wear it. You will see more versions of this pattern in the future!

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My cocktails dress for the Day and Night Challenge is the Kielo Wrap Dress worn with a velvet Kochi Kimono.

I love making and wearing the Kielo dress as it feels really effortless to wear.

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I have previously made other versions of this dress blogged here and here. The Kielo Wrap dress pattern is designed for knit fabrics rather than wovens. I purchased the rayon fabric not knowing what pattern I would make with it. In hindsight, I wish I had purchased more and gone up a size to give my girls a bit more room.

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One of my favourite things about the Kielo dress is that it can be tied at the front or back. I always prefer the ties at the front as I love the silhouette that is created.

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I love this dress and will wear it heaps. If I can get more of the same fabric I will change the top of the dress to use the yoke pieces from Vogue 8786 (my coffee dress look). I  would add this section to the top of the dress to achieve a better fit through the top section. I prefer to give my arms a bit more coverage so I created the velvet kimono as a lux evening jacket.

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The polyester velvet Kochi Kimono was really easy to sew! I sewed it all on the overlocker and topstitched the bands and hem. It came together in a couple of hours. I used the same pattern pieces as my first version and didn’t add any ties.

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Thanks to Elizabeth for hosting a fun, accessible challenge! I look forward to taking part next year.

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