So today is the first day of the Day and Night Dress Challenge. You may start linking up your projects here between today, January 8th and the 28th. To kick things off, I’m posting my projects. I made a video even with an intro! And I found MusOpen to add a little music to the video, which means, I’m totally spending way more time than necessary listening to obscure classical works. Oh, my happy nerd heart.
Day and Night Dress Challenge: Elizabeth Made This
I love day dresses! If I’m not in jeans, I’m wearing a dress, and probably it’s a knit dress. I love how easy it is to don a dress, throw on a few accessories, a great pair of boots and be done.
For this project, I had a piece of Art Gallery fabric that I bought from Hawthorne Threads. I’ve been wanting to try out Art Gallery knits for some time, and this fabric did not disappoint. The cotton/spandex knit is very soft with vibrant color. It also has more recovery than a lot of cotton spandex knits. For those of you that struggle with wavy hems on cotton knits, this fabric will not do this. The only thing that was tricky about it is that the edges curl up. After you add fusible interfacing to the hem, the curling stops, and it’s very easy to get a crisp hem on this fabric.
Patternreview Winter Street Dress
I had such a great time with Patternreview’s Lillian dress, that I wanted to try out the Winter Street Dress for my day look. I like the sleeve flounces which are super trendy at the moment, and I realized that I have no current knit dress patterns with a bodice and a skirt. All of my knit dress patterns right now have no waist seam. How does that happen?
I graded down the neck and shoulders 1 size to fit. I’m slowly learning that it’s not difficult to grade patterns. I’ve done it for years on my Burda patterns, but I’ve been hesitant to do so with PDF patterns for no particular reason. I think I’ve been overly worried that I would have to start from square 1 with fitting. Not so! I compared the dress to others that I’ve made, and I altered it in short order.
I made a small addition of pockets in the skirt that I bound with foldover elastic. The bulk of the pockets forced me to move the pleats closer to CF.
As much as I love the sleeve flounces, I like to push up my sleeves when I’m eating and cooking. Otherwise, I’m definitely the girl who dips her arm in ketchup. I wanted a sleeve with a flounce that could be full or not so full. My solution? Zippers!
A zippered flounce
To create the zippered flounces on the sleeves, I decided how much I wanted the sleeve to close. After marking that, I sewed the zipper tape to the flounces in an inverted V. The seam is then closed up behind the zipper. The zippers function as a dart. When the zipper is open, the flounce is at its fullest. When the zipper is closed up, the excess fullness is gathered beneath the zipper.
I really like the variability that the zipper offers, and they add a nice decorative touch. Speaking of decorative touches, I added some more with embroidery.
If you follow Jen Hewett on Instagram, you know that she sometimes adds embroidery to her beautiful blockprints. She calls these #warmupstitches, and I love the dimension that the embroidery adds to print. It reminds me of adding shading with pen and ink drawings. It’s a different way to look at coloring; you’re just using thread and a needle vs. markers or pencils.
For my embroidery, I used a marker to block off areas on the fronts and backs where a side princess seam might be. Next, I extended the lines of the faux princess seams down into the pocket areas. Within the boundaries of this, I alternated between broken stitched wheels and full wheels. There’s lots of other possibilities for stitching inside of a circle, but I kept things simple since I had already created a focal point with the sleeves.
Overall, I’m really pleased with this dress, and I can’t wait to put it to work in my wardrobe.
For all of the fun and joy in my day look, my night dress is rather austere. I’ve needed to have a plain black dress for performing with my violin for some time. Because my dress is plain, I decided to add two pieces in an overlay skirt and a bolero jacket. I knew I wanted to use a knit for this dress and a full skirt. Knit fabrics allow for freedom of movement in my upper back that’s really necessary to avoid pain while playing and rehearsing for long periods of time.
I chose a lightweight poly sweater knit that I bought with my Fabric Mart winnings for the dress. When talking about the contest, Julie generously offered to send me some fabric. This abstract dots lace immediately popped out for me. Lace is about my favorite fabric to work with, so I did not hesitate at the chance to add some to this project. The lace is the perfect fabric for the little overlay skirt and the bolero.
Jalie Bella dress
Jalie’s Bella dress is a great choice for a concert dress. I love the elegant lines of this pattern, and the flared skirt is precisely what I need for playing. Full skirts allow for comfort since violinists often have to sit in a less than ladylike manner while playing. This helps give your body a wide base of support for playing for long periods of time. People don’t really realize that being a musician is to be in a way an endurance athlete, and we have to do everything to avoid pain and injury so that we can keep going. I’ve played in everything from pants to really narrow pencil silhouettes, and I really prefer wide skirts. Narrow skirts leave you crossing your ankles leading to lower back pain after 3 hours of playing in the same position. Ask me how I know.
I went with a cap sleeve. I thought about a long sleeve, but I figured a shorter sleeve would make for a 4 seasons dress. When I’m wearing this in colder months, then I will add a cardigan, or possibly the bolero.
I kept the length of the dress long, but next time I will shorten it more than the 3/4″ I already took off at the hem. The upper back on the pattern dips quite low. I raised it enough to make sure I wouldn’t have to fiddle with it while playing (ha!), but enough to still keep the idea of the scoop neck.
This pattern comes with an optional leotard lining that you attach in the armholes. This is totally a bonus pattern. My knit really needed some kind of a lining, but a full lining would be too heavy on such a full skirt. The leotard adds the right amount of opacity with minimal bulk. I will definitely be using the leotard for a stand-alone bodysuit that I can wear with skirts.
One thing I learned about my body while making the leotard is that I need to lengthen the torso slightly. At 5’2.5″, you wouldn’t think that I’d need length anywhere, but I am definitely relying on the stretch of the knit to get all the way around me to attach the snaps. The snaps are Kam snaps. I have plenty of them leftover from making booties for my daughter. I’m curious to see how secure they are vs. metal snaps. The edges of my leg bindings are not as neat as I’d like. I didn’t have any black picot elastic, so I went for the purple FOE.
The best thing about this dress? This dress was made for twirling!
My overlay skirt was inspired by this Butterick pattern that I’ve had for a number of years. I love the look of the full gathered skirt overlay in lace on top the slim wiggle dress, but the bulk would be too much for this project. The Bella dress, with it’s full skirt would’ve looked ridiculous with a gathered overlay. Perhaps I’ll take this pattern on for real some day. This time, I took the inspiration of the pattern and opted for a circle skirt as the overlay.
From my waist to the hem is about 28″ on the dress, so I drafted a 14″ circle skirt. I cut it out of the lace and then I underlined with vanilla tricot. I had wanted to back the lace with black, but the dots pattern would not show up against black. Something about the mesh of the pattern makes it disappear entirely. Because it’s not backed in black, I don’t know that I’ll be able to perform wearing the overlay (or the bolero for that matter). Concert black is just that, but I think either piece will work elsewhere in my wardrobe.
I opted for foldover elastic as a waistband because it’s minimal and easy to sew. A white invisible zipper is a better solution as a black zipper would show through the tricot. The pull got a pain job with nail polish. I sincerely hate the pokey parts of invisible zippers, so I sewed a zipper guard from Petersham ribbon behind the zipper. To finish, a tiny snap holds the waistband together at the top of the waistband.
There’s two rows of black velvet ribbon at the hem that I added for some decoration. It’s amazing that though this is a wee tiny skirt, it took the better part of 4 yards of ribbon to go around the skirt twice!
The bolero pattern is a 1953 Vogue pattern. I bought it years ago when Gertie was working her way through all of the Vogue patterns for her blog. This isn’t the bolero pattern that she used, but it’s from the same era, and it’s very similar. I’ve avoided it because I wasn’t sure about the size; nay, I avoid all vintage patterns because of just being available in 1 size.
Still, the size 30 bust is not a crazy size for me. My full bust is 31″, and it’ll go down a bit when I stop nursing in a few months. After making up a muslin, all I needed to do was reduce the seam allowance at CB to 3/8″. That extra 1/2″ ensures that the back doesn’t pull.
This time, I backed the lace with white linen. It is heavier weight than most linens, making it perfect for a little jacket like this. The lining is bagged through one of the sleeves for a nice clean finish.
I really like the vintage feel of this ensemble. This outfit could easily go full vintage with this look with a pair of black satin gloves and a fascinator of sorts. Perhaps if I’m not playing in this getup, I’ll go to my next opera performance in it! I think the drama of this ensemble would go well with Tosca!
Keep reading with the Day and Night Dress Challenge Blog Tour Schedule:
Don’t forget to enter your day and night looks into the community challenge for a chance to win prizes from these wonderful sponsors:
You can enter your projects here. Only projects that are entered through the linkup will be eligible for voting.
The linkup is available from Sunday, January 8th until Saturday, January 28th.
Voting will be available on the entry page from January 29th-February 4th. After all of the sponsors have been notified, the winners will be announced.