So I was considering joining in the Sew Frosting challenge hosted by Closet Case Patterns and True Bias but didn’t really get that far in thinking about what I was going to sew and then I got thinking about possibly sewing another Christmas outfit* for this year and I can’t get deep forest green out of my head at the moment, my Pinterest wardrobe colour inspiration board is looking gorgeous at the moment btw.
I couldn’t get the image of a dark green dress out of my head and when I was putting in a fabric order I searched out a green coloured fabric and the only one that they had at the moment is the super cheap and thin crushed velvet but I already had a meter of it in black that I got out to test the pattern and as thin as the fabric is it held up to being cut out and sewn for edging of the bodice which was the bit that I was worried it wouldn’t have enough heft for.
Searching through my pattern database for a wrap dress pattern I came across the Erica Dress from Seamwork which I thought would produce a nice bodice. So I tried this with my single meter of black crush velvet, adding the Geneva pants to the bottom of the bodice to produce a nice very swanky wrap bodice body suit. (I added about 2″ of height to the pants pattern to lift the top edge to my natural waist)
From this wearable toile, I decided that I would need to take a bit off the bottom of the edge of the wrap bodice front to stop some gaping and modify the armscyes/ sleeves. Now I’m not one for jumping on the pattern slamming bandwagon but when looking up reviews of this pattern to see if it was what I was actually looking for I did see a number of comments about the shape of the sleeve head/armscye and I did think that the cut was weird when I compared my Neenah sleeve and my Renfrew sleeve the other week. Seamwork sleeve heads are much wider and flatter. I don’t know what change this makes to the fit but I did find I had a lot of spare fabric under my arms in my toile.
So when I came to cut out my dress I used my Renfrew sleeve and merged the armscyes from my (highly modified) Renfrew pattern to ensure that it is something that fits my body better. There is still a bit too much fabric just in front of the armscye but I think that might be because the wrap front doesn’t have any fabric pulling the front bodice back to the centre. But I’m not going to be wearing this in front of the Sewing Bee judges and I’m sure that most people wouldn’t even notice this. Also I potentially need to take a little out of the height of the shoulders.
I drafted myself an A-line skirt to go with the bodice so that I didn’t have to modify the wrap skirt from the pattern and it wouldn’t take up as much fabric as a more swishy skirt. This skirt has a length of 25″ and a sweep of 8″ if I remember correctly. I still need to hem this skirt (and the sleeves) but that required finding suitable thread for the sewing machine and needs a bit more concentration than I had at this point.
This extra length also lets the back hem of the skirt hang lower and I have already added some length to the back skirt to accommodate my rear end but this only sits nicely if the waistband is actually on my waist. To help reduce the amount of stretching out that occurs to the bodice I serged some thin elastic into the waist seam which is making me less likely to take the seam out and redo it on this version, but we will see…
Since I took these photos I have made a self-fabric tie belt which I will use to hide the join a little and to give it more of a wrap dress silhouette. I will need to decide on belt loops, possibly tiny velvet loops or possibly making thread loops but they take soo long to knot up and never feel sturdy enough to me.
The only thing that I didn’t add to this dress that I feel I will miss is some pockets, but I am not sure that the thin fabric with the slim silhouette would be able to handle pockets without them being too obvious.
I am looking forward to having somewhere to wear this dress. I think it could be a staple this festive season, being able to be dressed up or down depending on what it is worn with. Although you can’t see them that well in these photos I went for the dress down approach with leggings and snow boots (mostly because I don’t have any high heels in this house!, literally two pairs of steel toe cap boots, one pair of trainers and two pairs of snow boots…) but I feel it could be dressed down further with a big cardigan and a scarf or up with high heels and some jewellery.
I almost always use metallic pens to draw the patterns onto dark stretch fabrics, as they show up and don’t stretch the fabric like chalk can, and the bronze that I used this time went soo well with the green that I think I might need to look for some bronze/copper jewellery to match.
*it seems that crush velvet wrap dresses are going to be a bit of a Christmas sewing theme.