Tag Archives: dresses

Smart Office Dress

I was in need of some creative sewing fun this week after the disappointment of my Blue Dress. Therefore I went right back to my favourite way of working which is to select a look as my inspiration and take it from there. The inspiring look I choose can sometimes come from the runway and other times from collections in fashion stores. In this make, the style of dress I have chosen as a starting point is this tricolour dress which was snapped on Victoria Beckham. I think it will make the perfect smart office dress.



Smart Office Dress Front image
Smart Office Dress Front

The pattern which I have chosen is from my existing favourites pile, therefore I have made the fitting alterations to it before and know it stands a fairly good chance of fitting me well.

Smart Office Dress Layout image
Smart Office Dress Layout

That said I went about cutting it up into pieces to give me the new pattern for the tricolour dress I wanted to make. When you don’t have to be concerned with the pattern fit because you already know it works you have the freedom to play around with it more and make it yours. If you do start cutting up your patterns however, please remember to always add seam allowance for the seams on the edges that will then need to be attached back together.

Smart Office Dress Layout image
Smart Office Dress Layout

The downside of making this dress with contrasting colours was that I had to keep changing the colour of the thread in both the sewing machine and in the overlocker/serger. I was uncertain what colour zip to choose and in the end went for a black regular zip with a lapped insertion, this seemed to conceal the actual zip quite well.

Smart Office Dress Back image
Smart Office Dress Back

Even though I have used this pattern before as I have said, I am not entirely happy with the look of the bodice. The bust darts are a bit too visible on the white fabric and draw the eye to that area too much. Guess I can always wear a cardigan like Victoria…

Smart Office Dress Front image
Smart Office Dress Front

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Happy Sewing

Smart Office Dress with Tape Measure image
Smart Office Dress with Tape Measure

Purple Bodycon Dress

Do you wear your dresses in the winter months?

Do you need more winter dresses so that you can be warm and comfortable?

Finished purple body con dress with piping
Finished purple body con dress with piping

I’ve decided to make a series of warm winter dresses over the next two months of this New Year. And I’m starting with a simple bodycon style made from purple Ponte di Roma.
The pattern that I have chosen to use consists only of four pieces, the back, and the front and the two sleeves. Because it is such a simple design I felt that I wanted to break up the body of the front of the dress to create a bit more interest. I looked around for ideas and inspiration from a few of my favourite recent fashion shows and came across the Christopher Kane Spring RTW 2015 collection. I’ve pinned two of the pictures from that show here and here

It was both the colour of the fabric and the directional lines, which dissect the body at differing intervals, which appealed as a starting, point for my own ideas.

Sketch of purple dress ideas
Sketch of purple dress ideas

So maybe my sketch doesn’t look as dramatic as the designer’s, but I am making a new winter dress and it has to be a practical day wear outfit too.

I’ve used a basic sewing pattern, which I have used before so I know that it fits me. I drew it out onto paper and played around with it, drawing the piping lines onto the front until I was happy with the placement, then I cut it up!!

purple dress pattern
Purple dress pattern

I numbered the paper pattern pieces and marked them with the straight grain line so that it would be easier to keep them in the correct order. It was important that I remembered to add the seam allowances onto these new pattern pieces as well. I used an allowance of 15mm / 5/8 inch.

I’ve selected to use a Ponte di Roma fabric for this make. It is a warm double knit with a directional stretch. It is very easy to sew with and comfortable to wear. It is also simple to wash and press.

Inside front of dress
Inside front of dress

When I was cutting out the fabric it was important to get the straight grain of the fabric on the vertical but also to check that the stretch was going to be going around the body and for the sleeves, around the arms. I numbered all of the fabric pieces as I cut them out to save confusion when it came to sewing them together.

Front of dress with piping detail
Front of dress with piping detail

I handmade my own piping from a darker shade of purple, to add an accent. I wasn’t sure about it at first so played around with a few options on a small scrap of the fabric. As well as piping with the accent colour, I tried piping with the main fabric, it would have worked well, but I was after a bit more punch.

Piping samples
Piping samples

I was pleased with how easy it was to put the main front section of the dress together. The seams were overclocked/serged before sewing the back and front together with the sewing machine, it gives a neat finish.
I decided to sew a single line of piping on to the sleeves as well. By simply measuring my arm length and cutting the sewing pattern where I wanted the placement of the piping to be and not forgetting to allow an extra seam allowance so that the tapered sleeve would still fit my arm.

Was this a successful first winter dress of the New Year? (@sewingavenue)

Finished purple body con dress with piping
Finished purple body con dress with piping

I think so. I am happy with the result; it will be fun to wear inside and with the addition of boots and a cardigan under a coat it will be great for outdoors too.