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

dress challenge

Day look

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.

dress challenge

Fabric

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.

dress challenge

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!dress challenge

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.

dress challenge

dress challenge

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.

dress challenge

Doodle stitching

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.

dress challenge

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.

dress challenge

Night look

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.

Fabric

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.

dress challenge

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.

Leotard lining

dress challenge

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!

Overlay skirt

dress challenge

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.

dress challenge

dress challenge

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.

dress challenge

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!

Vintage bolero

dress challenge

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.

dress challenge

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.

dress challenge

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!

dress challenge

Keep reading with the Day and Night Dress Challenge Blog Tour Schedule:

Sunday, Jan 8th: Elizabeth of Elizabeth Made This, Brittany of Brittany J Jones

Monday, Jan 9th:  Maria of How Good is That?,  Tonya of Sew So Petite

Tuesday, Jan 10th: Je’Tua of Robertswife, Meg of Cookin’ and Craftin’, Melanie of Its Melanie Darling

Wednesday, Jan 11th:  Linda of Elle Gee Makes, Tee of Maggie Elaine

Thursday, Jan 12th: Bianca of Thanks I Made Them, Daniela of On the Cutting Floor

Friday, Jan 13th:  Melissa of Mahlicadesigns, Rachel of Sew Redy, Renata of Runnningnstyle, Sonja of Sewing ala Carte

Saturday, Jan 14th: Doja of Elewa blog, Judith of Judith Dee’s World, Tanya of Mrs. Hughes

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.

35 Comments

  1. Both of your dresses are lovely, Elizabeth! I especially like the stitching detail you added to your day dress and the overlay for the night dress- it really changes the look and makes a third look!

    • elizabethmadethis Reply

      Thanks Meg. I loved adding the embroidery, and variability was just what I wanted out of the overlay. I’m looking forward to seeing your projects as well!

  2. I have to agree with Meg – I love both dresses! That coral is a beautiful color on you and I love the special touches you added. Those zippered sleeves are really cute and super smart! I’m also going to have to take the inspiration for the embroidery and use it on one of my makes this year. I love how it adds interest and texture. 🙂

    That night look is also stunning! I love how it’s an interchangeable look and it’s so chic! I’m imagining taking that lace circle skirt and wearing that with a fitted top and leggings to bring it to a day look. I’d probably throw on some combat boots with it but I’m a little crazy, LOL.

    Great job and I’m super excited the Day and Night Dress Challenge has officially begun. <3

    • elizabethmadethis Reply

      Thanks Rachel! Embroidery really is so good for adding depth on fabric. It’s a deep rabbit hole, but an enjoyable one. I’m going to check out that book that you bought. I would totally wear the lace skirt with leggings…I’ll have to find the right color since I don’t really wear black…I like the idea of combat boots–a little punk, no? Lace with a side of Green Day.

      • Haha I can’t get away from wanting to wear 90’s fashion all the time! I rocked a skater dress with a choker at work today… and knee high black boots. I never want to grow up :-p

        • elizabethmadethis Reply

          😀 Chokers look amazing on women! Why did they ever go out? My violin teacher growing up totally wore combat boots (nay, now that I think about it, I’ve known a crap ton of Doc Martens wearing violinists) while performing. I have a soft spot for that look, though I’d be the one who biffed it and fell on her violin.

  3. I love both dresses! I especially like the embroidery you added to the day dress and the clever zippers. That night dress overlay is so cool. What a great way to change the look of a simple dress! And I love that lace.

    • elizabethmadethis Reply

      Thanks! Your my lace sister Linda! I keep asking the question, how much lace do I actually need in my wardrobe? My conclusion–I’ll stop adding lace when I stop finding cool lace to work with. I’m looking forward to all of the pictures of your dresses!

  4. Elizabeth, your dresses are fantastic! I agree with the comments, the zipper detail is so smart. I also like the night dress and how many variations you have by just adding those lovely pieces.

    • elizabethmadethis Reply

      Thanks Daniela! I was glad the zipper worked out just as I had it in my head. And the concept of wardrobe sudoku is real–extra pieces really do mix and match in ways you wouldn’t normally think of if you just have them available to do so. I’m looking forward to your Victoria B dress!!

  5. nancy mcmahan Reply

    Love both dresses and the music. Your night dress can be worn to many functions. Your day dress is fun with the added zipper.

    • elizabethmadethis Reply

      Thank you Nancy! Adding the music was really fun. I really enjoyed making both dresses as well.

    • elizabethmadethis Reply

      Thanks Judith! You’d always be welcome here in CO.

  6. The coral dress is SO flattering on you, and the zippered flounce is genius. I love it from a functionality standpoint, but I also just plain like the way it looks. The black dress is also beautiful.

    • elizabethmadethis Reply

      Thanks Masha! I love that color, and adding the zippers was a fun engineering problem.

  7. So good! The zippers on the flounces is a great idea– I love statement sleeves, but they can be really impractical sometimes, so that’s a great way to keep them from getting into stuff. And that is a perfect performance dress. It really is amazing what you have to think of for clothes when playing! I don’t need quite the range of motion that you do, but I have learned that I can’t wear things that are too tight across my back so I can hold my arms properly, and I definitely have to be careful about waistbands being too snug when sitting. A flutist needs room to breathe! 🙂

    I still wish I could have participated in this challenge, but that’s life. Maybe the next time you run a challenge, I’ll be baby bump free and able to play along!

    • elizabethmadethis Reply

      Thanks Becky. I could see that across your back. Flute position is similar to violin in being asymmetrical on the body–it’d be hard to hold that with added tightness. And next time! A challenge will be something to look forward to after your guy is born.

  8. Great dresses. Both makes suits you well. The zipper details in the sleeve of the day dress is fun. Your transformations for the night dress are very clever.

    • elizabethmadethis Reply

      Thanks Sonja! It was a challenge to make a black dress that worked for me. Black is not a color I wear ever, so I decided to go for something my style since I couldn’t control the color. The zippers are my favorite part!

  9. Elizabeth, you are so creative with your pattern hacks. I can’t decide which look I like more because they are both fantastic. Mind if I share it on PatternReview instagram?

    • elizabethmadethis Reply

      Thanks Deepika! Of course you may share!

  10. mizzsmartypants Reply

    I love your dresses! I used that Jalie pattern to make my last dance dress, since I like my dance dresses to have built in leotards and I hadn’t had the best of luck with the ones I drafted myself for previous dance dresses. First off, I found that the girth measurement was spot on. When I measured my girth I found that I needed 2 more inches than the pattern said for my size. I lengthened the torso front and back by an inch each and it fit absolutely perfect.

    But I have a question. The instructions didn’t have an option for a snap crotch and since I’ve never done one before, I just made the pattern as is, but I had planned on making my next dance dress with a snap crotch. What alterations did you need to do to the pattern to put in the snap crotch?

    I’d also be interested to see how the Kam snaps work out for you. I just got a tool and a set of snaps for Christmas, so I was thinking I would try them out. But I’d hate to have a wardrobe malfunction in the middle of my next competition! haha. I’ll probably make up a practice dress after my move is done and wear it to my lessons for a while to see if there are any issues before making a competition dress.

    • elizabethmadethis Reply

      Thank you! I remember seeing your Bella. It looks beautiful on you and after my own twirling expeditions, I can only imagine how great it looks on the dance floor. Now that you say it, I wonder if Jalie left out the directions for a snap crotch just so it was 100% secure while dancing. Still, not having an opening really cuts on the wearability. I simply folded over the seam allowance and added some lightweight cotton folded and pressed over and stitched down to give a good base for the snaps so that they don’t rip out of the knit. Heather Lu does something similar in the sew along for her Nettie bodysuit. http://closetcasefiles.com/nettie-sewalong-pt-9-finishing-bodysuit/
      I’m really curious about the Kam snaps too. They have more clutch power (to use a Lego term) than sew-on snaps, but I know snap tape does pretty well too. Ultimately, as long as you have the fit right, I don’t think they’ll be enough stress to pop anything. Still, it’s good to test out that one. 🙂 When do you need to have a competition dress by?

      • mizzsmartypants Reply

        My next competition is at the end of April, but I do have another event on February 19th. I’m literally in the middle of moving and I even delayed packing up some sewing projects thinking I’ll get a chance to work on them, but honestly, I have not had any free time at all and I don’t know if I will get a chance to sew anything up in time for the Feb. event. I might just rent a couple dresses for that and maybe I’ll have a chance to take in my purple dress since I’m down about 60 lbs since I made it. I’ll have to see how this next week goes.

        I don’t really have much experience with snap crotch garments. I was watching the Nettie bodysuit and considered buying it to use as a built in leotard, but then found the Jalie pattern. The only garments I’ve ever owned are foundation garments and they have hook and eye closures on the crotch. So, I was more or less thinking that would be the safest way to go. But certainly snaps seem easier to deal with. Although to be honest, at the competitions, I rarely get enough time to use the restroom and when I do, it’s usually only because it’s time to change dresses anyway. So, it’s not like it’s a huge priority. I need to remember to scope out the crotches of the dance dresses for sale at the events I go to and see how the pros do it. I’m usually too distracted by examining the bling to remember all the practical parts to look at.

        • elizabethmadethis Reply

          I’d be really curious to see what the closures look like on professional dresses.

  11. I’m finally getting round to having a look at what everyone else has produced!
    First of all, the opening to your intro video, did you play the violin in that?!!! You should definitely move on over to YouTube, you have such a lovely personality, people would love watching you 🙂
    Now onto your dresses! Your day dress is cute! I don’t know if it’s appropriate calling someone older cute, but you definitely look so nice in it! It really suits and I love the two different fabrics you used, you can’t almost tell that they’re different, they work so well with each other!
    Your night dress is my fave, I’m not trying to take anything away from your day dress, that one is lovely, but this one is lovelier! If I ever sat to watch an orchestra play and I saw you there with your violin, your dress would definitely catch my eye. I really love how the whole outfit was orchestrated (hehe ;)) You did a great job with it!

    • elizabethmadethis Reply

      I wish I had played the intro…I wanted to, but I was pressed for time, and I couldn’t find a proper editing software in my turnaround time, so I went with some royalty free music that suited me. I’m seriously considering the YouTube bit. I see you and all the other ladies in the challenge who are doing that and I’m totally inspired. I’ve gotta do some more research about video editing. Thanks so much! I hope I’m 80 and people still call me cute, LOL! That’s about my favorite color, and I’m glad the night dress worked out exactly as I wanted it to. Using black is a major challenge for me as I don’t wear it.

      • Yes yes! Join us! Video editing isn’t too difficult, it’s basically just cutting out the things you don’t want and leaving in the things you do. I use a Mac and the iMovie software, which is pretty basic and more than enough for me. I’m not sure on what would be best on a windows PC but I’m sure the girls will help you out!
        Haha you’re the complete opposite to me, if I could have a whole wardrobe of plain black t-shirts and black skinny jeans, I so would. I mostly add variety by wearing shades of grey and whites 😛
        But the black suit you too. You definitely should be glad, it turned out PERFECT!

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