Sunday, November 10, 2013

2013 Party Dress!

Every year I like to whip up a Christmas parties' party dress. One dress that I can throw on for all social occasions over the silly season. This weekend I made my 2013 party dress. I wore it last night for the first time to a cocktail party. I also plan to wear it to my staff Xmas party, my playgroup Xmas party, my neighbourhood Xmas party,  Christmas day and New Year's Eve. Apart from my husband, guest-wise there are no double-ups. 6 occasions, one dress - thank goodness I'm not a celebrity. It I were, Who magazine would have a field day with this one. Imagine the scandal at being seen in the same garment more than once, let alone 6 times - truly horrifying! Come to think of it, maybe celebrities could learn a thing or two from home sewists - sewing your own original clothes means you'd never have to suffer the humiliation of being featured on the 'Who Wore It Better' page.

I originally bought this beautiful silk fabric to make a dress for my sister's wedding. Once I received my J. Mendel floral gaazar (see previous post) it got pushed aside. I decided that a more structured, fitted dress was far more flattering on my body shape, which is what you want when an official photographer is present. A flowy, less-fitted dress however, is a great choice when you're going to be indulging on cocktails, canap├ęs and rockin' it on the dance floor.

I've kinda been eyeing off sleeved shift dresses and woven tees for quite some time now. Ironing aside, they both look comfy, stylish and easy-to-wear.  I decided that if I could find the right pattern, I could use it for both - shortening or lengthening as required. Unfortunately, I couldn't quite find a pattern that was really doing for me. Then one morning a gorgeous, young teacher at work rocked up in this:

This is exactly what I wanted. The raglan sleeve made it far more appealing and achieved more of the shape and look I had in mind. I also loved the slit down the back. After another unsuccessful pattern search, I returned to my trusty dress block and asked my sewing teacher to help me draft a dress based on the Zara Bird Print Dress. For those that would like to know, this is what we did:

We drew a line on the front and back bodice where we wanted the raglan sleeve seamline to be. Chopped off those bits and added them to the tops of the sleeves as shown in the diagram above. If I'd remembered to add seam allowances,  it would have been a perfect fit first time - live and learn!

I hemmed the sleeves with a machine rolled hem. The armholes are bound in self-made bias binding that runs from the front necking all the way around to the back neckline. I hand-stitched the bias binding down. I also hand stitched the hem of the dress. The hem of the dress appears a little wonky. It is a little on one side. Mostly though, it becomes uneven when the dress does not hang evenly from my shoulders. The only way around this is to either make sure I either stand still all night or stick to the dance floor!

 Styled with:
wooden & fabric wedges - 
ceramic bangle - local artist

Slit is finished with a fabric-covered button.

Next project: a woven tee using the same pattern and maybe another one of these, possibly two!  I picked up a few designer roll ends from The Fabric Store recently that are screaming to be part of my new Summer wardrobe. I think this my just be my Summer 2013 go-to pattern.

Happy weekend!


  1. Love this to death!! I've been doing a lot of my own drafting lately. It is time-consuming but liberating.

  2. LOVELY! Oh you can definitely make a couple more of these dresses, it looks great on you. It's great t have a sewing teacher to help you with drafting.

  3. Beautiful! Love these big florals on you.

  4. Another gorgeous dress Bernice! You're on fire.

  5. I agree, you are on fire. This is a great dress and perfect for you. I love it.

  6. It looks lovely - will be perfect for all your events.

  7. Great style! Now that you have made this pattern, you will use it over and over I am sure. Very pretty print.

  8. It's beautiful! Definitely a party dress :)

  9. What a beautiful dress - love the fabric choice. You're all set for the party season!

  10. OMG I love this - I think I love it even more than your last dress!! Amazing fabric, and the dress style is the perfect showcase for it.