I got started on my Easter dress early this year so I wouldn’t run out of time like I usually do.
I fell in love with this Pamella Roland designer Vogue pattern the minute I laid eyes on it. I had to have THE EXACT SAME DRESS as the example on the envelope. But, you know, I have a lot of projects swimming around in my head at any given time, and I was willing to wait for just the right fabric to come along. When Mood Fabrics posted this Theory black cotton guipure lace a while back, I shouted “perfection!” at my computer monitor and snapped up 3 yards. Sadly it sold out while I was swatching the other fabrics I used for this project and there’s nothing else comparable listed at the moment. They do post them from time to time, so keep your eyes peeled if you are interested in making this pattern.
The body is made from Mood’s Jason Wu whisper white blended double faced crepe, of which only the blue colorway is currently available. (It must have sold out yesterday because I just checked on it on Friday in preparation for this post. This just proves yet again that if you like something on Mood’s website you’d better buy it quickly. It won’t be there for long!) Crepe remains one of my favorite fabrics to work with and wear. This one is made from a blend of viscose, cotton and nylon and is really beefy but drapes beautifully too. Because of that thickness I was able to leave off all the interfacing, underlining and horsehair braid the pattern calls for.
This pattern is fairly straightforward. I muslined the top and had only a few slight tweaks to get a perfect fit. I added 5/8″ to the bottom of the bodice for a long torso adjustment but probably could have done without the extra length. This dress is heavy, and the weight is pulling the bodice down slightly. I also took about 10 inches out of the width of the skirt due to fabric limitations from a cutting error. I sewed the top of the lace invisibly by hand to the bodice, a necessary step that is not addressed in the directions.
Vogue’s example dress has lace that is twinning on the back bodice which makes my eyes twitch, so I was careful to match mine up so that at least the top edge of the lace is uninterrupted from one side of the zipper to the other. My eyes also twitched from the lace that is swinging about below the hem of the dress, but after making this garment I can tell you that it is somewhat unavoidable. The lace is simply too heavy. I cut mine to so that the longest edges would be 1 inch above the hemline, but you can see it dipping down to the bottom edge in the first picture.
I love the pockets on this dress. I’ve not always seen the point of them but I’m coming around to the pockets-in-dress loving side.
The trickiest part of making this dress was attaching the skirt to the bodice. There is so much fabric to wrangle and it is a super thick seam. I had to aggressively grade the fabric so that it would lay as flat as possible against my waist. You can kind of see the various layers on the inside through the lining, which was made from Mood’s antique white silk habotai.
I opted to hem the lining and outer skirt separate from each other. There are certain times when it makes sense to hem the skirt to the skirt lining, but for the most part it is a recipe for disaster. Different fabrics drape differently, and unless you get it just perfect the hem will look bubbled and home-made. For this dress I whip-stitched the skirt invisibly by hand and machine stitched the lining. Oh, I forgot to mention that I took a 2″ hem without adding anything to the hemline. Per the pattern directions it is only suppose to be a 5/8″ hem, so my dress is 1 3/8″ shorter then drafted.
Whew! That was a ton of work! I wish I had sewn some sort of waist stay during construction to help with the weight. I might still do it if I can figure out how to add one without creating more bulk in the waist area. However I am really pleased with how this dress turned out. It feels expensive and is well fitting. Black and white is timeless, and I plan to be wearing it for years to come.