New Zealanders are quite casual in the way that they dress. I’m used to being too dressed-up at most occasions unless it’s a ball and then I feel very uncomfortable as I never feel dressed up enough!
Initially this pattern didn’t interest me as the stitching lines threw off my eye. The photos above shows the pattern with the highly visible stitching around the bust area.
With COVID changing the nature of life as we know it, I aim to make more dressy garments and wear them regularly rather than saving them for good. We only live once so why not wear things that bring you the MOST joy?! I find that more and more I am drawn to garments which are far more quirky than jeans and a T-shirt.
Once I had seen a few more versions of this pattern (viewable via the hashtag) I realized how versatile the pattern is. The dress has moderate volume but isn’t too form fitting. Waist darts on the front and back of the dress give shape through the torso.
The bust darts of the dress are shaped to create bra cups which can be highlighted with visible topstitching or are a subtle detail if you match the thread. I was drawn to the deep square neckline -it shows off my décolletage, which is perfect for a dressier garment. The dress is designed to have a hidden zipper and be partially lined.
I have sewn up two versions of this dress using two different hacks. The first version I made in a jacquard woven fabric sourced from The Fabric Store it has a 5% stretch which makes it very comfortable and no ironing required! The fabric has a slight sheen to it – perfect for evening wear! – with a slight leopard print woven into the fabric.
I decided to change the sleeves from fairly plain to a more statement sleeve from the Viki Sews Deborah pattern to give create more ‘drama’ to what is otherwise a very simple dress.
Viki Sews has asked me to be a brand ambassador for them. If you are interested in purchasing their patterns please enter code my discount code EMMA20 at checkout for 20% off. Please note you need to be on the English site, not the Russian site.
To give the sleeve volume I used some silk organza to create a sleeve head – see tutorial here – which stops the sleeve from falling on itself. The Deborah pattern has a band that pulls in the sleeve to the arm however I wanted the sleeve loose and architectural looking to contrast with the form-fitting dress.
I was worried the dress might look a little plain so used a metal zip down the centre back to create a bit of drama on an otherwise simple shape.
Every time I wear this dress I feel incredibly elegant. I wore this dress to the Best Design Awards where Paul and his team picked up second in their category for the persona tool they have developed. You can find out more about his side-hustle here.
I wanted to create another version of this dress which was more wearable for everyday events. My friend Rosie gifted me the tencel fabric which was originally purchased from the Wilson Trollope Fabric sale. I love the colour and had a long length of fabric so thought it was best used as a dress.
I was inspired by the version of the blue dress above by ertel_buro_marina. I decided to hack the pattern to replicate the design. I sort advice from The Foldline Group on Facebook who advised me to create a two-piece sleeve. Using the original sleeve pattern I drew an extension to create the shape. Once sewn it looked a little too costumey so decided to reduce the angle to a softer curve. The photo above shows the pointy version.
The sleeve is only wide at the sleeve head and narrow towards the rest of the arm. Instead of sewing the front and back darts as the pattern is design I left the fabric loose. I allowed extra fabric for a button-down dress and matching belt. I used shell buttons which are my favourite type of buttons.
I love how this dress turned out it feels lovely and elegant. It’s also swishy but not too swishy which is ideal as I live in a windy city.
I hope these projects inspire you to get hacking your patterns and create a fancy garment!