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Closet Case Fiona for all occasions: Crafting a Rainbow for The Day and Night Dress Challenge
Closet Case Fiona for all seasons
My base dress for this challenge is a Closet Case Patterns Fiona that I sewed as a pattern tester last summer. I have a full blog post about it, if you want to know more! I wore it a few times in the summer, but then packed it away for winter. This challenge was a great excuse to restyle it for colder months.
Defining my style
I sew and wear 90% knits, so a dress like this (even in a stretch denim) is definitely something out of my comfort zone! I like to bright, bold, colourful prints, so as a summer sundress this feels a bit chic and classic for me. The great thing about layering it for winter is that I got to mix in more textures and prints, and the solid black became the perfect blank canvas for day or night!
Day look: Starting with a fabulous accessory
When Elizabeth proposed this challenge, my sister had already started knitting me this stunning wool scarf. It was the inspiration for this whole outfit! I pulled in an old Cashmerette Concord tee that had the right shade of oatmeal – I also love how the stripes add in a print and tie into the gradient stripes in the knitting, I made a pair of oxblood leggings from my TNT Cake Espresso pattern, and voila!
Let’s talk pros and cons, shall we? I really like this outfit, but it’s not perfect. The dress is quite snug (ie. almost tight) at the top so that it doesn’t gape as a sundress… which means that there isn’t much room for layering over a tee. The shirt does stop the straps from falling off my shoulders though! This is the kind of outfit I’d wear to look cute on the weekend going to a craft fair, where I’d be walking around for a few hours. I wouldn’t wear it to work though, where I need to be able to sit and move around a lot. Overall, it shows me that I’d enjoy an overall type dress specifically made for winter layering, which is good to know!
Night look: Cashmerette Concord + glitter
And now, here’s my night look!
It is… wait for it… another Cashmerette Concord! I mean, why use two patterns when you could just hack one? Cropped cardigans are great for layering, and this crazy polyester metallic-brocade-with-glitter was perfect!
Oh dear reader, I wish I could show you how truly tacky and fabulous this fabric is! It’s photographing much more elegantly than it is in real life! I finished the edges with self-drafted facings.
When I see the night look head to toe, I keep thinking I should have made some slightly sheer black tights to go with it… but realistically, I don’t ever go anywhere fancy, so this is more like a dressy-casual look for a work Christmas party or pub night. (Neither of which I attend, but hey, at least I’ll have an outfit ready if I decide to be more extroverted next year!)
Now, you might be saying, “Gillian, you just made two outfits you like and then said you wouldn’t wear either of them!” Well, yes, that’s true. But this was still a good learning experience! Now I know that I’d enjoy a looser overall dress for winter, and I remember how great I do feel in this pattern. As I mentioned, this dress was sewn as pattern testing, so it might be worth making another version with the tweaks to make it perfect!
I’ve already worn my new leggings with a few other outfits, and the gaudy knit cardigan is ready to be paired with a tank and jeans. I’m totally in love with the shawl, and now I know it pairs well with this top. The dress itself is the part that wasn’t perfect… but coming up with ways to wear it in winter was still inspiring!
Dressing is about experimenting
I love the format of this year’s Day and Night Dress challenge. It reminded me to play around with my clothes, and I had lots of fun making two whole new outfits with just a pair of leggings and a t-shirt pattern!
Beachy vibes +Madison Cardigan: Sew So Petite for The Day and Night Dress Challenge
Sound simple right? Not exactly for me. I had my ideas for weeks and when it came time to execute, it didn’t work out for me. So I was left stranded with no ideas. (insert sad face).
Have you ever made something that you absolutely knew would turn out great, but ended up in a failure? It takes a toll on your confidence level. But I was able to get myself together, give myself a pep talk and become the boss chick that I know I am.
And this is what I have:
These are my day to night looks. Let’s start with the day look.
Let’s talk about it shall we? I wanted to go for a very casual, beachy look. Dreams came to me of being in the Florida Keys, during the day, hanging out. I had this dress in my closet for about 2 years. I’m not much of a dress girl, so finding a dress in my closet that I don’t wear was the easy part.
I consider my style to be very classic. Bold prints or loud colors are not me. I like a simple, well put together outfit. So for my day look, I was going for the “girl next door” look.
I chose Vogue 8772, View C. There were a few things that I changed about the pattern. This dress is a strapless, sleeveless tube dress with a really pretty print that I purchased from an online thrift shop. The last time I wore this dress was last year at my daughters high school graduation.
The major thing that I omitted from the pattern was the buttons. I did sew the button plackets but I did not sew on any buttons or buttonholes. I plan to wear this top exactly how I have it here; tied up, which looks super causal. I also shorted the sleeve length. Even I chose the short sleeved version, I felt as though the sleeves were way too long to be short sleeve. (or maybe my arms are too short)
This pattern was super easy to construct and for a Vogue pattern, I found the instruction very beginner friendly. I think anyone with basic sewing knowledge can tackle this one. I chose a very light weight cotton, with a small amount of stretch and I have no idea where I got it from. LOL. I think that your accessory really make or break a look. By pairing this dress and shirt with a straw hat, it was really tied in well together.
My night look
I chose to make the super popular Madison Cardigan from Sew Style Me. I have admired Eryn from afar for quite a while now. She’s very classy and I just love her style and I feel super appreciative that I had a chance to make one of her patterns. Let me tell you…. if you have never made any of her patterns, please do yourself a favor and try it.
The instructions for this one were literally only 2 pages, and I think it only took me about 1.5 hours to complete, including cutting time. This is a cardigan that you NEED in your wardrobe. I envisioned myself going out to dinner with my husband after a busy day of shopping in the Florida Keys, hence the straw tote. You know those summer nights where it gets too cool to wear a sleeveless top? Yeah, that’s what you need this cardigan for.
I sewed a size small with absolutely NO changes, which is different for me. Bonus: I didn’t even shorten the pattern!! I chose a textured sweater knit that has been in my stash for a long time, which I think I purchased from JoAnn’s.
Piecing a wardrobe and considering layering
Doing this years’ challenge really forced me to think outside the box. It’s super easy to just sew a dress or a top but what I struggled with was piecing items together. Layering isn’t something that I do, however I really like my looks so maybe this might change things for me.
I had an awesome time with both of these looks and I’m super happy that Elizabeth asked me back again for the 3rd year in a row. I can’t wait to see what next year brings.
A Boring Basic Gets Some Edge & Glitz: Elle Gee Makes for The Day and Night Dress Challenge
Hi all! I’m Linda from the blog, Ellegeemakes, and I’m so excited to participate in Elizabeth’s Day and Night Dress Challenge again this year. I love the twist to the premise this year, a challenge that was timely for me as I’ve been curating my wardrobe of late, inspired by Marie Kondo’s show, ‘Tidying up’. As part of that effort, I’ve been analyzing my me-made dresses to decide what brings me joy and donating those that don’t. I was definitely on the fence about the dress I chose for this challenge.
MY BASIC DRESS
Even though I used a lovely rayon knit to make this dress last year, I never wore it. I guess it’s because it was just too plain for me, and the color made it feel a bit like I belonged on the flight crew of a local airline, LOL! Yet, the rayon jersey is as comfortable to wear as silk, so I just couldn’t toss it!! My first order of business for this challenge was to modify my original dress slightly, to give it more style by adding a ruffle to the sleeve, a design element I noticed in the Max Mara Spring line – – there are cool ruffles everywhere!
The basic pattern for this dress (McCalls 6886) is simple, so embellishing it is always fun. To add the ruffle to the sleeve, I sewed a long, double faced ruffle 1 and 1/2 times the length of the sleeve and three inches wide. I gathered it, then, to insert it on the sleeve, I first unpicked the sleeve from the bodice. Then, I unpicked the sleeve seam itself so that I could lay the sleeve flat. From there, it was easy to sew on the ruffle, aligning it with the center of the shoulder, extending the ruffle to the wrist. Then, I resewed the sleeve seam, and inserted it into the bodice of the dress. The process was time consuming, but the sewing was easy.
Once modified, the dress had more appeal to me, but it still didn’t feel that versatile. For my lifestyle, a dress has to go from the grocery store, to a business meeting, then to dinner with friends. So, to make this dress more versatile, I added my favorite go-to accessory, a ‘topper’.
DAY LOOK: Adding some edge
For my day look, I used a Lisette pattern, Butterick 6169, a basic moto jacket pattern I know I’ll use again. My fabric is a casual, lightweight wool blend and I love the cozy feeling I get just looking at its fleece-like pile.
For added coziness, I lined it with a remnant of silk. I’m pleased that this cropped jacket is so versatile. Not only will I wear it with this dress, but I’ll wear it with ginger jeans and skirts…with everything I own! I love how its funky animal print vibe gives a bit of an edge to my fussy looking dress.
NIGHT LOOK: Adding BLING
To create my night look, I added another topper, a jacket with some sparkle (hard to see in the photos, but it’s there!)PHOTO 5I used a long-favorite pattern of mine, Butterick 5569, a coat with a vintage vibe and a big wide collar. The fabric is a Chanel-style Boucle with sequins sprinkled throughout.
I fell in love with this glitzy fabric without thinking much about how it would be to work with. Wow – – It was a challenge and a half. This fabric unravels if you just look at it wrong and it doesn’t move easily under the presser foot. So, I had to layer tissue paper over each seam before sewing to keep the fabric from bunching. It was a time consuming effort, but I love the result. Not only that, but I learned how to sew with a special fabric, something that normally intimidates me. I’m so glad I decided to line this coat with silk. It will always feel special to wear it. I know this jacket is going to be in heavy rotation…It will work with dresses, skirts, even with my Ginger jeans!
Don’t fear the glitz and toppers for the win
I loved this challenge, and I learned a lot from taking it on. From a wardrobe perspective, I’m definitely a girl who loves to wear a good ‘topper’! For me, a jacket/sweater/wrap can take a basic dress from Ho-hum to a keeper. I also learned how to sew with a challenging fabric (sequins!). I know I’ll never be intimidated by glitzy fabric again:).
Thank-you Elizabeth, for the invitation to join and for hosting the challenge. It’s an honor to be featured here with these talented sewing friends.
Sustainable remix of a treasured dress: Sewrendipity for The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019
If we haven’t met somewhere in the sewosphere before, I’m Alex and I blog at Sewrendipity.com about sewing a sustainable, meaningful wardrobe. As I am all about making clothes that have meaning and that will live in our lives as long as possible, this year’s challenge spoke to me like never before. I am advocating styling as a way of bring back to active life garments we have made before and maybe no longer love, so this was a perfect opportunity to put this principles into practice, AND take part in a community challenge, which I don’t do very often.
Creating a meaningful wardrobe: My philosophy
Before we skip to my outfits, I wanted to share a bit more about what a meaningful wardrobe means to me – and I promise it all makes sense and links in to my take on the challenge (you can also read more on my blog).
When we learn to sew (especially if it’s later in life), we have a tendency to sew all the dresses, usually in quirky quilting cottons. That definitely happened for me, and I actually have very few items from the early days of my sewing journey. But what also happened, at least in my case, was that as I got a bit older (I started sewing when I was 27, I am now 36), my tastes changed significantly and the garments I had previously made were just not ‘me’ anymore.
Now, from a sustainability perspective, the best thing you can do for your clothes, once you made or bought them, is to wear them for a long as possible. And, as I mentioned, I am definitely firmly into the sustainable closet camp. This meant I had a bit of a conundrum on my hands. I have clothes I don’t like any more, but I also don’t want to be sewing like mad to replace everything I already had. But I love sewing. And I love wearing clothes that represent me… Hmmm.
The solution I came up with was to slowly sew a few curated pieces that will stand the test of time in both quality, techniques, physical and emotional longevity and also versatility (the 30 wears test). Plus, coming up with ways that I could mix these new, meaningful garments with things I already have. I’m not gonna lie, I did have to part company with a few items (mostly passing on to my friends or my sister, but also a few to charity shops). But for the majority, I found creative ways to bring them back into rotation.
And this brings it back to our Day and Night Dress Challenge. I have a bit of a different interpretation to most other bloggers, in so much as I chose not to make something new to go with my old dress, but made a conscious effort to find a few meaningful items I have made recently that will complement and enhance my now forgotten ‘past me’ garment.
So, about my dress…
This is one of the garments that I was most proud of making. Ever! It’s the first seriously difficult one I made, one that I designed myself, constructed and fitted to perfection. It was the first time I worked with faux leather, the first time I lined a garment, the first time I did a toile, the first time I pattern hacked, the first time I wore a me-made garment to a significant event in my life. Also, fun fact, this was the garment that I took to my Great British Sewing Bee audition (and that potentially got me on the show).
I made this dress while going through an incredibly stressful period at work and every night, to be able to fall asleep, I would think about sewing and dream up new designs. And one night, I had a brain wave, and so this dress came to be.
It’s a mash-up of Vogue 1102 for the top part and a Burda Magazine 02/2009 skirt for the bottom. The fabric is a stretch cotton that used to be printed, but I dyed it black. This was also the first time I overdyed something. The red pleather accents are in fact upholstery pleather, but I really did not know better back then. It still works though.
I wore it to my best friend’s wedding back in Romania, and it was the first time I showed all my friends a garment I made myself that I was truly proud of.
You can tell this is a pretty special dress to me, with a lot of emotional load!
But I haven’t worn it in years! It’s just been sat like a relic in my closet, loving looking at it from time to time, but never coming out. It’s a bit too revealing to wear to work, a bit too fancy to wear on a night out and I can’t really wear to weddings anymore because many people would have seen it (I know, we all have those hang-ups).
So it was the perfect candidate for this challenge.
But I must confess, I was really struggling to think how could I make it more day-friendly. It was meant to be an evening dress, which was easy, but the low back was in no way suitable for going to the office, for example.
THE DAY VERSION
My recent style is quite minimalist, a bit oversized sometimes, streamlined, polished, yet comfortable. Which is what this dress was not. It’s tight, figure hugging, low back and has pleather! Plus, I must admit, I was definitely waaay skinnier in 2013, so it’s a bit too tight for comfort right now.
So for the day outfit, I decided that the most important thing was to fill in the back. So I needed something to layer it with. In comes my trusty self drafted viscose jersey turtleneck.
This is the perfect wardrobe stable for the colder weather. I have worn it many times under pinafores, short sleeved dresses, under jumpers, and even on its own with more colourful bottoms. It’s nice on the skin, wears well, looks good and so comfortable.
And so there I had my solution to sort out the revealing part. I think it works really nicely to turn my dress into some sort of a pinafore-look.
I also added the biker jacket for a bit of an edgier look. This is one of my all-time favourite items, a Mona biker jacket from Make My Lemonade. My sister once told me ‘now that’s a piece that truly looks shop-bought’. I’m pretty sure she meant it as a compliment…
To complete the look, I wore my favourite boots, these platform Zara boots that I got for £12.99 in the sale. The look towering, but they really are the most comfortable high heels I have ever worn. I liked that the studs on the boots go with the hardware on the jacket for a bit of an edgy feel.
I won’t be wearing this combo to the office in a hurry, but I can definitely see myself going out in it for a dinner date.
THE NIGHT VERSION
For the evening part of the challenge, matching the dress with the occasion was not the issue. My challenge was what else to add to make it an outfit.
One of my best loved, most worn and most praised items came to my rescue again. The red coat, which is almost famous in my group of friends. My husbands jokes that this coat got me a seat in business class when I was travelling to the states once (not true, I actually had the ticket as it was a business trip). People stop me on the street to tell me how much they love it. This is a Butterick 6244 Lisette pattern in red wool, which I had originally bought from a charity shop (Oxfam).
So here we are pairing two pieces that are very dear to me, and yet, it never occured to me to put them together! I feel it’s a match made in heaven! The reds are not quite the same shade (the dress is a bit more orangey and the coat a bit more blueish) but somehow I think it still works.
I was going for a classy look, so I paired them with stiletto heels, of course. I don’t wear heels that much anymore (unless it’s platforms), but there is a lot to be said about pencil skirts and high heels.
Well, I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge which allowed me to reconnect with a garment I love dearly, but also pair it with some other pieces that are now staples of my wardrobe. A win-win overall and I hope some inspiration for you all to challenge yourselves to do the same!
Evaluating my handmade wardrobe: Made By Laquana for The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2019
Hi! My name is Laquana and I blog over at Made by Laquana! I’m super excited to share with you my day and night dress challenge looks! When Elizabeth reached out to me about the challenge, I was super excited! I’ve recently looked through my closet and I’ve been evaluating my makes over the past few months.
Evaluating my handmade wardrobe
With reflection, I’ve slowed down a bit, and I’ve focused on classic pieces and also technique. I’m transitioning into slower fashion to ensure my garments last and that they fit my needs longer. My thinking has taken a pivot to ensure I don’t just make, but I enjoy my garments over and over again. There are some great garments, some cake, and some frosting, but what holds true to all is that I have a few that I’ve only worn once. I was so tempted to style one of last year’s day and night challenge dresses for his years challenge. Why didn’t I? I found a dress deep in the back of the closet that I haven’t worn in over two years, I know, right!
My goal for this challenge was to pull out the dresses I’ve made and put them in order by age. Once I had my dresses in order, I chose the oldest two and then I picked the one I’ve worn the least. I thought this was a good way to show how to give new life to what’s in your me made closet.
I consider my style classic chic with pops of color. In spite of my style, over the last few years, I’ve made dresses in bold colors and prints, not much cake. Usually I like semi fitted dresses with sleeves and open necklines, both short and long but usually knee length. I love that I can make these types of garments, but I struggle with rewearing bold prints and colors to my conservative workplace . For me, I also find that prints and bold colors are more noticeable and they tend to get worn less often. So, why do I keep making these one hit wonders? I don’t know, but this year I will find fresh ways to style them and make more “cake” dresses,
When pulling together my looks, I kept things simple, I looked at my lifestyle and grabbed layers that would work with a variety of dresses and looks. The dress I chose is Butterick 6425, I made it a few years ago to wear to my uncles birthday party and the review is on my blog. I love this dress but struggled with wearing it to work. I could have worn it on a date night, but I just kept making new dresses! This is a T Shirt dress with cold shoulder cut outs and a belt.
My day look approach
When looking at a day look, In the fall and winter, I tend to wear a light jacket/blazer or cardigan and comfortable shoes. That’s it, there are additional layers based on preference: necklace, hand bag, comfortable shoes, scarf, etc… I hung my dress up and pulled a few complementary items from my close (both handmade and ready to wear) and just started playing around until I got the look I was going for.
Pinterest is a great resource for ideas on how to layer and color coordinate if inspiration is needed. There were several looks that would have worked, I just picked the look that’s closest to my everyday style. The Denim Jacket is RTW but this could have been a handmade jacket, cardigan or wrap, I wear this jacket often and I have two ready to wear denim jackets in my closet. I didn’t want to make another jacket when these work for now. To finish the look I went with my go to suede low heel boots (a must for a casual day for me) and a hand knitted wool blend “outlander” inspired cowl. I knitted this cowl a few years ago and it’s soo comfy and the color is dreamy. It’s around 65 degrees here so this outfit worked perfectly.
My night look
Finally, for the night look, I pulled some accessories that I could leave in my car for a quick after work look. I tend to go from work to dinner without going home so I wanted to ensure I could quickly and easily get ready for dinner from the office.
For the night look, I grabbed another oldie but goodie cape out of my closet, I made this cape for 1920’s themed birthday party, this was all the fringe I was willing to wear lol. I paired that with my black heels and a long necklace and earrings. I will typically wear a darker lipstick in the evening, but all of this fit nicely in small bag and made getting ready super quick. I’ve worn this dress without a jacket or wrap the first time and because it’s chilly, I wanted something cute to wear over my shoulders without being too hot.
That’s it, my day and night dresses, what do you think? This challenge has encouraged me to think outside the box and find new ways to breathe life into my garments.
Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.