Welcome to the second of my winter dress blogs for this new year, 2015.
I’m trying to keep nice and cosy as the weather gets a bit chilly while continuing to wear my dresses rather than reverting to trousers/pants to keep out the cold. Im super excited about adding more fabulous garments to my winter wardrobe.
The inspiration for this black and grey dress comes really from looking at some pictures of “celebs” in their winter wear, in particular Victoria Beckham, and noticing how she manages to dress in warm winter skirts and dresses but still manages to look as stylish as always.
To be my starting point. I don’t usually do vintage but I think there is a bit of the vintage pencil skirt about this design idea. I’ve also made a quick sketch, which I always like to do as part of my making process. This helps me make better fabric and pattern style choices.
The two fabrics I’ve selected for making this dress are both heavy weight jersey. The grey jersey has a woven floral design on it, not printed, and the black is simply a solid colour. Both have a two way stretch, although a lot more so in width than the length, which will be good for the comfort and fit.
I made the pattern pieces by redesigning my basic sheath dress pattern. I wanted it to give the illusion that is was a high waisted skirt with a little black, long sleeve top. So I cut the pattern in two at a line 3 inches or 8 cm above my natural waistline. Then I added the seam allowances onto both the new skirt part of the pattern and the new top part so that they would still be the correct length when sewn back together.
The jersey fabric was extremely easy to sew together with my sewing machine and it went together fast. When I cut out the fabric pattern pieces I was mindful to make sure that the widthways stretch was going around the body. I keep trying the dress on, checking for the fit. I wanted it to be quite snug and figure hugging but at the same time not too restrictive.
While doing the fitting I decided to take the waist in by a total of 4 inches. WOW! This was because of the stretch in the fabric which was probably a little more than I had anticipated. Jersey fabrics do vary greatly in this respect. You can measure for the amount of stretch before starting a project and next time I use jersey fabric I will do this better. I also took about 6 inches off the seams tapering down towards the bottom of the hem just below the knee.
The original dress pattern has a zip in the back seam however, much to my delight, when I was trying the dress on I realised that the stretch in the fabric would allow me to sew the back seam up and have the dress as a pull on over the head.
I made the pattern pieces for the back and front neck facings by cutting up the bodice pattern pieces. Because I draw out my own pattern pieces I don’t mind cutting into them and making alterations. If I want to make the same style of dress again in the future, there would probably be an aspect of it that I would want to change and do differently anyway. However, if I invest in a commercial pattern someone else has produced then I don’t tend to cut into it, I trace it off and alter it from there, especially if it comes in multiple sizes. Look carefully at the sizing on commercial patterns, they are usually not the same as clothing sizes for shop bought RTW. The pattern sizes tend to come out a size or two smaller. Old vintage patterns can come out even smaller so always check the measurements against your own body measurements and make any necessary alterations to the pattern before you begin.
I am very pleased with the finished fit of this high waisted black winter dress. The vintage look certainly shows off the waist. It’s nice to be able to wear a figure flattering outfit at this time of year. So often winter clothes are shapeless and baggy. The fact that there is no zip to worry about is a big bonus too. I shall enjoy wearing this mock 1950 vintage pencil skirt/dress everywhere. It is everything I wanted it to be, comfortable,warm and a little bit stylish.
What do you think of this dress? Do you think I should have put the zip in the back after all? Please let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading