Ralph Lauren Blue Polka Dot Party Dress
Howdy Y’all! I hope everyone is having a good month so far. I’ve always been partial to March because it’s my birthday month, and this year I’m turning 30! So I thought a little party dress was in order. I’ve been undertaking a few complicated, or at least time-cosuming, projects as of late and was in need of a palate cleanser. This dress was exactly that. From cut to finished in two days flat – that’s about as ‘instant gratification’ as my sewing gets!
A few months ago I snatched up this Ralph Lauren Dark Blue Polka Dotted Silk Crepe from Mood Fabrics online with the intention of turning it into a sundress as soon as the weather warmed up. As any fabric enthusiast knows, a good polka dot is hard to find! So when I spot one, I jump! And this is a good one. The blue is one of my favorite shades to wear – a brilliant deep cobalt – and the scale of the polka dot is perfect. Plus, silk crepe is one of my all-time favorite fabrics to sew with. If you’ve ever been intimidated by silk, do yourself a favor and pick up some silk crepe de chine. It has all the luxuriousness of silk with none of the finicky handling.
This particular crepe is lightweight, but still opaque. So opaque, in fact, that I chose to forgo a lining altogether! This is truly a ‘little slip of a dress’. It’s practically weightless!
I wanted to pair this fabric with a pattern that would be simple, timeless, feminine, and flirty. For the bodice I used By Hand London’s Holly jumpsuit bodice, variation 2. For the skirt I just used a half-circle skirt, my favorite of all the circle skirts. I can’t speak for all the ladies out there, but I’m pretty sure circle-skirts are a one-way ticket to feeling womanly and subtly sexy. The natural bias cut of circle skirts just skims and flatters the figure like no other. After letting the skirt hang overnight I hemmed this skirt at my preferred midi-length using a narrow folded hem. Overall I think the look is classic, and slightly retro without being overt.
For such a fast sew, I actually did a surprising amount of hand stitching on this dress. The entire neckline and all the bias-binding was slipstitched in place. I happen to really hate sewing bias-binding by machine, I can never get it to look neat! So this time I didn’t even attempt it, I just stitched the binding to the bodice right sides together, then folded over and slipstitched to the wrong side, including the straps. I actually really love how it turned out!
And speaking of those straps – the original Holly bodice has a regular spaghetti strap, attached at the back bodice. I had intended to do this, but when I put the dress on for the first time to do a test fit I just quickly tied them around my neck to keep them out of the way. I ended up really loving the way the neckline looked as a halter so I decided to keep it like that. I can always tack them down later if I change my mind.
And there you have it! A couple hours at the sewing machine and I have a fun new dress to ring in a new decade! It’s a birthday present to myself!
What do you turn to for ‘instant gratification’ sewing?