The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2018: Judith Dee’s World
I’m glad to welcome Judith of Judith Dee’s World to show off her beautiful dresses today for The Day and Night Dress Challenge. I’m so glad that Judith decided to join in, especially in the midst of her wedding planning! Thank you Judith!
I’m excited to take part in the #dayandnightdresschallenge for a second year. I had a lot of fun creating my looks last year and this year is no different. I was very pleased to hear this year’s theme for the now annual day and night dress challenge: Coffee and Cocktails.
Lately I’ve had to catch up on life with a couple of girlfriends. I’m definitively a “tea every hour of the day” type of girl so we always go out for a tea when meeting in day time (most of my friends are tea drinker too). Most of my tea dates, I reach for a comfy knit dress. So for this challenge, I decided to work with McCall’s 7574, which in my opinion has some interesting features that made it different from the traditional t-shirt dress. Raglan sleeves, uneven curved hem with side slits and inseam pockets, this pattern was a no-brainer for me. Being that this pattern is a Melissa Watson for Palmer/Pletsch, it had all the pattern adjustments line printed. Made it so easy for me to do a quick 3/4 ” sway back adjustment.
For the fabric, I went for a light weight coffee rib knit with a lot of stretch. As I started working with this fabric, I quickly realized that I would have to leave out some of the details. In facts, I was not able to enjoy the pockets. It would have been too bulky for my thin ribbed knit. Overall, I’m pretty pleased with this dress and it will surely be worn a couple of times until summer!
For my cocktail dress, I wanted something simple but chic. To reach my goal, I decided to pick a simple knit pattern and play with colours and textures. I used M7683 which offers different bodices and skirts options. I went for the off-shoulder look with a ruffle cover-up and a circle skirt.
The bodice is made out of left over stretch velvet I used for a Christmas dress. The skirt is a scuba knit I bought a year ago! I’ve been keeping this scuba in my stash to create a circle skirt. This was the perfect occasion. It gives my cocktail dress great volume!
I have a little confession to make: both the skirt and ruffle edges are left raw! I did not want to mess those hemline and have them becoming after the hemming process. Plus, both fabric are looking great raw then cut with my rotary cutter. I’m still on the fence about the raw velvet… We’ll see if I leave it like this!
I really love both looks and cannot wait to actually wear them! My coffee date dress should have its moment within the next 2 weeks. If I don’t find another occasion before, I know that my cocktail dress will make me twirl on the dance floor at any wedding or Holiday party later this year!
Thanks to Elizabeth for inviting me on the blog tour again this year! It was a pleasure to work on those two dresses this month. Also, let’s give a round of applause for this amazing blogger tour! Looking forward to next year’s challenge!
The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2018: Gray All Day
I love seeing Helena’s projects! She is the creative sewist behind Gray All Day, and she sports a wonderful style that’s equal parts girly, edgy, and cool. I had such a lovely time on her podcast, Clothes Making Mavens, and I’ve been so looking forward to seeing what she’d be making for The Day and Night Dress Challenge. Welcome Helena!
Hello, this Helena from GrayAllDay.com and I am thrilled to present my coffee and cocktail dresses!
The first thing you might notice is that my coffee dress is black, and my cocktail dress is the colorful one. Of course it is so dependent on the styling, and they are both cute and comfy, but I made the coffee dress out of such a cozy, snuggly sweaterknit that I thought it was obviously one of those dresses that I could throw on after waking up on a chilly morning and I could run out to the coffee shop.
The coffee dress was inspired by a plain over-sized sweater dress and, even though the design was simple, I couldn’t get it out of my mind how great I would feel wearing it. This squishy cable knit fabric is so soft that I decided a Sew House Seven Toaster lengthened to a dress would let my whole body snuggle into the fabric, instead of making a cardigan or just a top. I was right, this is amazing to wear!
Unfortunately during these photos it was very warm, but as I write this it has cooled down again and this dress will be so cute with tall boots! I’ll style it that way soon and post it to my Instagram.
I have made a Toaster Sweater before, and the construction is very easy. My seam allowances in this double ply knit were too fluffy to tame with the serger, so I just trimmed carefully, especially around the turtleneck and sleeve cuffs. I finished it off with a blind hem so the skirt stayed smooth. Such a fun, quick make!
And since I am so fabric motivated (isn’t that nicer than saying fabric addicted or fabric obsessed?) my cocktails dress was driven by this amazing lightweight knit gifted to me by Stylish Fabric for the tour. The colors are so wild for me! But I couldn’t resist the chance to play with the horizontal and vertical stripes to make the V1482. I love a challenge!
I centered the top front vertical stripe so it was symetrical, then shifted those stripes over on the bottom piece for contrast, keeping the horizontal stripes lined up.
Across that blasted pocket is where things got very tricky. The contradiction of this unique pattern is that it must be made in a very drapey material so the batwing sleeves hang gracefully, but this results in the pocket sagging. I used heroic measures to save the pocket from the sagginess. I used staytape, I pulled my pocket tight, I even shrunk the pocket a bit for more control. In the end, I think you can see the stripes do match up, it just isn’t as sharp as I’d hoped. The inside pocket lining is distracting, but after my strategic cutting for the stripe matching, my pocket pieces had to be cut from scraps!
But it was an engrossing challenge and I love the pattern, so I’m sure I’ll make it again. My husband and I decided it wasn’t so much a cocktail dress as a buffet dress, right? Plenty of room for a feast – I just love sack dresses!
The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2018: Mrs. Hughes
I always look forward to seeing what Tanya of Mrs. Hughes is up to. Her vintage leaning garments are always chock full of beautiful details and she tells a wonderful story about each of them. Her dresses for The Day and Night Dress Challenge are indeed true to her style, and I’m so delighted that she decided to join in this challenge. Welcome Tanya!
I’m excited to take part in the Day & Night Dress Challenge hosted by Elizabeth! If you follow my blog, Mrs. Hughes, you’ll know that I love sewing dresses. Both of these patterns were already in my sewing queue and fit right in with this challenge. Along with that, they were also on my #makenine2018, so it was a triple score!
For my patterns, I chose a 1940’s mail order dress pattern and Simplicity 1587, a 1940’s pattern re-issue. Both patterns are a similar style and at first glance appear quite similar, but are actually very different.
My “Coffee Dress” is made out of a vintage 1940’s rayon with a white floral print. It has gathers on the shoulders and at the waist on the bodice along with scalloped cap sleeves and a gored skirt. I don’t often drink coffee (nor much caffeine at all), so my mug is actually my cereal mug and just a prop. 🙂
I had limited yardage for this pattern and as it’s vintage fabric, there was no way to get more. To make it work, I shortened the skirt by 6”, slimming down the skirt gores and piecing the sleeves. I didn’t have enough fabric to cut the bow, and had to make a slimmed down version which wasn’t long enough to tie into a bow. Due to my fabric shortage, I also didn’t have enough to cut out a self-fabric belt, which I would have loved to include on this dress.
I added a button to the “ribbon” adornment on my bodice and I actually prefer this to the bow as I’m finding that I really am not much of neckline bow gal. This was a pretty simple dress and I think that the fabric is perfect for pattern. I’m not sure that I’d make it again as I prefer a fuller skirt, but you never know. The skirt is meant to be fuller than I was able to cut it, so I might test it out again to see how it fits or perhaps just change the skirt to a gathered one as I do adore these sleeves.
My “Cocktail Dress” is made out of a lightweight silk that’s almost the same weight as China silk. I envision wearing this one out out for cocktails or out to a nice dinner with my husband. We didn’t have any limes, otherwise I would have made myself a gin and tonic. Instead, my favorite blackberry cider from a local brewery will have to do.
I don’t think my version looks anything like the pattern sample, although I didn’t make any alterations other than grading it up. The pattern would probably fare better with a fabric that’s a little heavier, even though it includes crepe de chine and georgette on the list of suggested fabrics on the back envelope. I think this mostly due to the “V” and the gathers on the skirt yoke.
The bow construction is quite interesting, even though I think it’s not really my thing. It has a “knot” sewn on to the neckline that creates those lovely gathers. The bow is then slipped through that knot and tacked on. It can be omitted as seen in View B on the pattern.
The sleeves have a piece of elastic sewn underneath that pulls up and makes gathers on the sleeve. It’s a cool detail, but although I did a full bicep adjustment to the sleeves, I would have liked a little more room. The drawing on the envelope shows the sleeves rather fitted, so perhaps that is just how they’re supposed to be. I’m also not a huge fan of the skirt due to the gathers below the yoke. I was aware of this going in as I have some *ahem* bulk there and I don’t need gathers accentuating that, but as I like to try out different designs, I went ahead and sewed it anyway. I pressed the gathers down so that they aren’t so prominent, but if I ever made this pattern again (which is doubtful), I would change the skirt.
It was nice to sew dresses that are a little different from what I usually make and I will definitely wear both of these! Of course, my rayon “Coffee Dress” is going to get more wear as I don’t regularly flit around in silk. 🙂
The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2018: Cookin and Craftin
When Meg of Cookin and Craftin moved from Thailand back to the US, I was secretly really excited to see her make more clothes for her new snowy climate vs. the super heat. Her dresses for The Day and Night Dress Challenge look like they’d be just perfectly at home in a Vermont winter. Welcome Meg!
I had so much fun with this challenge last year, I was delighted when Elizabeth asked me to join in again for the Coffee and Cocktails edition! The climate where I live now (Vermont) is pretty much the opposite from the climate where I lived last year (Bangkok, Thailand) during the challenge, so it was bound to be a whole new challenge for me…
I agonized a bit over which patterns to make for the challenge. Vermont is a pretty casual place and the messiness of Vermont winters (salt, slush, snow…) necessitate a relatively casual wardrobe. Even when going out for cocktails here, you can (and sometimes must!) do it in a flannel shirt and a beanie. But, practicality aside, the challenge is dresses and I have several dresses on my to-sew list!
For my cocktail dress, I decided to go for the Named Clothing Agate Pencil Dress, a sleek mid-calf length, batwing sleeved dress, with an opportunity for some cool colorblocking. I have had this pattern in my queue since it was released and even purchased fabric to make it last fall. It kept falling by the wayside, though, as I sewed up more sweaters and warm things to suit my new climate. The Day and Night Dress Challenge was the perfect excuse to finally sew this dress!
For fabric, I went for two beautiful shades of tencel twill from Style Maker Fabrics: jade for the main bodice and black for the side panels. I didn’t make any fit changes to my size 48 Agate, and lucked out with a pretty fabulous (albeit slim) fit. Love those body skimming darts! I did skip the leg slit’s invisible zipper and the belt.
For my coffee dress, I cycled through several pattern and fabric combinations (you can see a previous contender here on Instagram) before making a last minute decision to keep it simple, stupid. I went with an old favorite, the Cashmerette Concord t-shirt (see my Concords here and here and here). It is #Cashmerettechallenge month, after all. I’ve been meaning to make a dress version of this classic curvy t-shirt pattern and I’ve also really wanted a sweatshirt dress!
My Concord dress is the high neck option with long sleeves, lengthened 16” at the lengthen/shorten line. Sleeves have an addition 3.25” in length so that I could hem the sleeves by an inch (the pattern has them finished with a band at the cuff). The fabric is this fabulous quilted knit that Joann Fabrics had this past fall- I love this stuff after having sewn it up a few times (here and here).
I am so happy with both of my dresses! Thank you to Elizabeth for including me in this fun blog event and to all the other bloggers and vloggers for being so inspiring! I can’t wait to see what everyone makes for the community challenge event, too! It’s sure to be stunning.
The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2018: Sew Old Fashioned
I discovered Katie of Sew Old Fashioned through her lovely vlog where I found a sweet demeanor and dry wit to go along with her insightful thoughts about sewing. I’m so glad she said yes to participating in The Day and Night Dress Challenge. Welcome Katie!
The Coffee Dress
In her introduction to the challenge, Elizabeth described the coffee dress as a “casual, wear it anywhere day dress” and advised us to think of it as secret pyjamas. So you may be wondering why I decided to make a fitted dress in a woven fabric that is anything but casual.
Essentially, this is the go-to casual outfit for me and my friends: a pretty dress with a cardigan (although the cardigan very much depends on what the weather’s doing). It’s our sartorial answer to almost every question. Going on an interstate roadtrip? Pretty dress and cardi. Going to visit lighthouses and a treetop walk? Pretty dress and cardi. Going to explore caves and wander around ruined buildings in paddocks? Pretty dress and cardi.
Obviously, that’s not going to change when we’re going for something as simple as a coffee. But really, is there anything easier than grabbing a cute dress out of your wardrobe and pairing it with a cardigan? It looks as though you made an effort but it really only took you five minutes to put your outfit together.
The Pattern: Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book – Basic Bodice
The Day and Night Dress Challenge came at just the right time for me as I was in the middle of trying to create The Ultimate Dress with the help of Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book. Firstly, I made a toile from a fun printed fabric using the basic bodice pattern. This involved using size ten for the bust and hips and grading to size twelve at the waist… and anticipating a full bust adjustment in my future.
I basted it together, tried it on… and it fitted perfectly! Well, it was a little snug and I decided to sew a 3/8” seam instead of the standard 5/8” to see how that went. I altered the neckline to be wider at the front and lower at the back (it is Summer here, after all!) then drafted an all-in-one facing following the instructions in Gertie’s book. All I needed to do next was ruffle up some skirt pieces and add in some pockets and I was done with my toile.
Making the Coffee Dress
Following the success of my toile, I cut straight into my lovely Cloud 9 organic cotton fabric. The print I chose is called ‘Royal Swan’ and it has a beautiful feel to it. I have a premonition that I will want to wear this dress all the time (and not just because it has swans on it).
I used an all-in-one facing for my toile but I knew I wanted to do a lined bodice for the official coffee dress. It’s nice to be able to leave your bodice seams unfinished because you know they’ll be hidden away eventually. On the other hand, you know there’s an awful lot of hand-sewing in your future, although that just gives you an opportunity to catch up on your watch later list on YouTube.
When it came to the skirt, I simply cut two pieces from the full width of the fabric. I measured my toile skirt (I was happy with the length of that), added some extra for seams and hems, then ruled out my two rectangles. Simple!
And I made sure to include pockets. Don’t tell anyone, but one of my pocket pieces is cut on the cross grain to minimise fabric waste. It still works fine!
The Finished Coffee Dress
Whenever I finish putting in a zip, I feel a mixture of excitement and trepidation. Excitement because I can finally try the dress on; trepidation because I’m worried it might not fit (despite doing a toile). I won’t leave you in suspense: it fitted perfectly. In fact, I didn’t want to take the dress off, despite needing to sew the bodice lining in and hem it. I ignored all of these facts and popped on a belt, then checked to see how nicely my newly knitted cardigan would go with it.
I’m so happy with this dress, and not just because that cardigan is a perfect match. It’s my exact style of dress and I’m delighted with how the Gertie bodice fits me. I am ready to go whenever someone needs to meet me for a coffee!
The Cocktails Dress
I detoured a little when thinking about my cocktails dress, mostly because cocktails don’t feature much in my life. On the other hand, my friends and I are rather keen on wine tours. We frequently choose our holiday destinations based on wine regions and love to spend part of said holiday being driven around to interesting wineries where we can sample the wares.
This also gives us a chance to dress a little fancy (well, fancier, given that you’ve learned how we all dress up just to go for coffee) and that’s what inspired my choice for my cocktail dress. It also helped that I re-discovered a pattern I’d bought ages ago at a secondhand shop purely by chance. The pattern is from the seventies, it has a fun little shoulder detail, and I had the perfect floaty fabric for it (also bought from a secondhand shop).
More importantly, I could see myself swanning about wineries in it, so it was clearly the winning choice!
The Pattern: Butterick 5969 (Vintage)
The pattern packet makes a bold claim: “Super quick!”
It would have been super quick if I hadn’t needed to do French seams on everything. Oh, and baste before sewing to make sure the slippery fabric didn’t wander off in the middle of a seam.
Around half-way through, I started to worry that the dress wouldn’t suit me – it’s essentially a sack tied with a belt – and I developed a vague fear that it would render me all boob at the top. When you start thinking like this, you begin to resent all the effort spent on making your seams look nice and un-frayed!
Fortunately, all fears were allayed when I tried the dress on and discovered that it was actually quite nice. In fact, I needed to take it off straight away so I could get it finished and start wearing it for real.
The Finished Cocktails Dress
The only thing I don’t like about this dress is the fabric. On the up side, it’s perfect for the style of the dress: it’s floaty and floral and fun. On the down side, it’s highly synthetic and doesn’t breathe at all, so it’s a good thing the pattern comes with such large sleeves!
Here I am, posing with my luggage and camera while waiting for the wine tour bus to arrive. I was actually trying to remember one of the poses on the pattern cover, but my other arm should have been on my waist, not aimlessly sticking out of the frame of the image. Oh well – at least you can see the sleeves in operation!
Speaking of the sleeves: how fabulous are they? I normally make sleeveless dresses so I can easily pop a cardigan over the top (see: Coffee Dress), but every now and then, I’ll be tempted by magnificent sleeves such as these. How could I resist?
There are no closures on the dress at all, which is one of the reasons it’s so quick. You just sew some channels along the top of the dress, thread a couple of ribbons through and you’re done! This neatly creates another design feature: a tiny cold shoulder affect. A slightly chilly shoulder, perhaps? Whatever we call it, I like it.
It’s a fun dress and I’m proud of how I finished it (my French seam techniques have reached newer levels of accuracy after this make). Now all I need is a chance to wear it and put my wine tour theory to the test!
Thank-you to Elizabeth for hosting this fabulous challenge and for inviting me to be part of this team of talented sewing bloggers and vloggers. It’s been a lot of fun!
The Day and Night Dress Challenge 2018: Dream.Cut.Sew.
Along with Helen, I met Diane of Dream.Cut.Sew. through Sleeve Fest, and since then I am utterly amazed by her keen eye for design. She finds THE prettiest fabrics too, and she’s put them to good use here in her dresses for The Day and Night Dress Challenge. Welcome Diane!
After weeks of anticipation and sewing since I got the initial exciting invite from Elizabeth to be one of the blogger team for the Day and Night Dress Challenge (AKA coffee and cocktails) my turn is finally here!
To begin with the cocktail dress decision had me more stumped than the day dress, but once I found Vogue 1518 it had me smitten from the start. This Zandra Rhodes dress was a perfect shape for my style. When I found the fabric on Minerva Crafts website it sealed the deal. I haven’t worn a poufy sleeve in years but we are heading into the second year of Year of the Sleeve so I thought why not?
With careful marking of the sleeve pieces they actually went together well. There are horizontal folds as well as gathers at the crown of the sleeve head, but in the georgette fabric it sits nicely. Overall, I was quite impressed at the fit of the pattern on me too. It’s been a while since I made up a Vogue design but this was a breeze.. I didn’t need to make any major changes and the amount of ease was spot on.
There are tiny neck bindings and very narrow hems which although fiddly to do were rather satisfying as I took my time over them and basted everything, and inside, all seams are french seams.
I’ve actually worn my dress already too when hubs and I went for a Valentines meal and I can report that it’s very comfy and meal friendly!
Now, onto my coffee date day dress part of the challenge. I instantly knew it had to be a sweater dress and it fitted in with Elizabeth’s guidelines about the coffee dress which mentioned that it ought to embody the idea of secret pajamas. I had already bought some great cable knit from Higgs and Higgs so all I had to do was find a pattern. To carry on the theme of a slim silhouette like my cocktail dress I eventually decided on the Paige dress by Style Arc. I imagined contrasting zippers and piping so I printed off the pattern…my first time using Style Arc.
Now the last time I used my printer and printed off a pdf, I had no problem with scale, so I ignored the little square size checker thingey (technical term..ahem!)….oops!…after cutting out and basting together for a try on the dress was enormous! I ended up totally re-cutting the front and back panels to size down. Thankfully it worked out fine though, so I could then carry on with the rest of the project.
I used charcoal grey zips for the pockets and charcoal ponte to make an in-seam piping to accentuate the side panels. For extra design oomph I used my fabric cross-grain for said panels as well…though a bit of inventive thinking ensued as I also decided to do without side seams..yes, I’m a sucker for punishment, why can’t I ever just make up a pattern as it is??. As a result I had to add a vertical dart just under the armpit for shape and there is actually an underarm seam too.
Although this dress gave me a few headaches I love the end result and it really is as comfy as pj’s. I’ll try not to let this experience put me off Style Arc as I do like a lot of their modern designs and would like to try more.
I’m all set for ‘Coffee and Cocktails’ now, except in my case it would most likely be green tea (and cake of course) and for cocktails it would be Rose wine…or maybe a Tequila Sunrise..or a gin and tonic…or Pina Colada….
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.