Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Pair of LBDs

So I'm slowly wrapping up the leftovers of my summer sewing. Here are two Little Black Dresses I made (in July!!). I guess they'd actually each deserve a post of their own but you know how it is - I can't believe that it's Christmas in less than three weeks...

Little Black Dress No. 1
This could also be called my Choir Dress. I've been meaning to make one since we agreed on our current dress code for concerts: a nice outfit consisting of equal(ish) portions of black and either of the following colours: red, green, blue or yellow. I usually go for either red or green, so I could have made a dress in one of those colours, and I may do so yet. But black gives me maximum versatility, and I usually pair it with some coloured tights and accessoires/jewellery and a matching fabric flower.
My choir dress is made of black jersey (because I can, it's so lovely when comfort and style go together - and for optimum breathing ability while singing ;) ). I used stretch lace for the yoke and midriff band.
It took me a while to figure out how to best treat the edges of the stretch lace. Then I had the bright idea of having a look at my one RTW lace dress and do you know what, it's both easy and pretty: a scalloped elastic zigzagged to the edge and then turned under. Looks great and gives nice stability! And so much easier than binding with self-fabric, as I tried with my first lace dress...
The only other "special technique" I included was to iron a knit stabilizing tape to the seam that connects the sweetheart neckline to the yoke, to keep the seam allowance from showing, and also to the turned under seam allowance of the sweatheart (which is then topstitched to the lace). The rest of the dress was made on my overlocker and the hem and sleeves turned under and stitched with a twin needle. (Btw, remind me to never try to sew with black fabric in less than full daylight. Those twin needle hems feature one black and one dark navy line of stitching. It's hard to see and if anybody asks, it's a design featur, but oh boy...)
The pattern, by the way, is my usual knit top/dress pattern, and I used my (modified for fit) Macaron bodice to copy the sweetheart neckline (and the construction method for attaching the yoke).

The dress has held up well for the past few concerts. :)
in-action shot of our last concert :)

Little Black Dress No. 2

Polka-dot LBD! This spring, I got the Ultimate Wrap Dress from Sew Over It and decided that a polka-dot wrapdress would be a brilliant idea. For some reason I very much like the idea of wrap dresses, but in the end I usually have problems with gaping, so I don't often wear them. (The exception to this is Colette's Crepe dress, obviously, which wraps in the back. Such an ingenious concept, maybe I should try that one in jersey, one of these days...)
I'm not quite sure if this pattern gapes naturally, if it's my fabric choice or if my pattern alteration (shortening the bodice by 4 cm right at the point where the wrap ends) aggrevated the problem. The facings definitely didn't help. In the end, I just bought a lace bustier to wear under the dress, to prevent indecent showings of cleavage and it's quite wearable like that, even if the waist ties still sit a tad too low for my taste. I did wear it quite a bit during summer, though.
I'm pretty sure that there will be a next version, possibly even a long-sleeved one for winter/spring. Next time I will try to remember to add an elastic waist stay and I will bind the neckline instead of doing facings, which should help with the gaping. I'm also almost sure that I can go down a size. There are a few more bodice tweakings I'll try: change the angle of the neckline and raise the waist ties. I'm also going to shorten them, since I have a feeling that they're almost ridiculously long... ;)
So that's two Little Black Dresses down. The Choir Dress really filled a wardrobe gap, whereas I'm not so sure about the wrap dress... Is it the fit? Maybe it's just not quite my style? Maybe I should have made the tie in a contrast colour? Anyway. I feel like there might be another LBD (or two) in my future. One a bit classier, because every time I want to wear something elegant(ish) that isn't quite a taffeta cocktail dress (ahem) or a ballgown, I'm a bit stumped... But I have the perfect pattern! Now I just need to find some really slinky black jersey...


  1. Cute! The sweetheart neckline is gorgeous!

  2. two great dresses! i don't really see the fit issue in the polka dot one... but in my (very limited) experience of knits, facings are not the way to go. binding, applied with a bit of stretch, tends to yield better results. i can see though that these will be two well loved dresses!

  3. I love your choir dress! The lace looks great. I like the wrap dress too, very cute. The only way I know to keep a deep neckline like that from gaping is to ease it into a binding or a stay which is a little bit shorter/too short to gape open. It usually works like a charm for me, but then I'm not very busty ... still I think it would be worth a try!

  4. oooooohh Love your first LBD is soooo cute! The lace turned out great.

  5. Two great dresses. I like the way you used the lace on the choir dress. I think the wrap free style suits you too. :) x