I wanted to go to the Air Force Ball and I typically rent my gowns because they are reasonably priced and it prevents me from having a closet full of formal wear I wont wear. in the heat of the moment, I decided to make my gown. I originally wanted a woven gown with all the frills, but I also knew with work and home life, I would need a month or so and then I would probably get bored with working on the same thing. I scanned through IG for the last ball gown I wore, and it was a Carmen Marc Valvo design, and yes, that silhouette looks great on me! He's one of my favorite formal wear designers.
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I went in search of a simple dress and amazing fabric, because in my opinion, that's where it's at, simple designs + amazing fabric or unique designs+ simple fabric. I wont lie, the former is much, much easier. I like a challenge, but truthfully I don't like to fiddle too much with stuff, I like simple classic garments that wow. Maybe one day I'll get to the point where I'm patient enough to deal with the overly complicated (insert eye roll) lol, but for now, I'm good with my choice.
I originally ordered a novelty knit from FabricMart, it is tough to order online without swatches and you guessed it, I waited until the last minute (insert quadruple eye roll), what had happened was, I wasn't going and then changed my mine (this seems like a trend with me, not going and then going -insert eye roll). I always had it in the back of my mind that if I don't get the dress finished, I'd wear the gown I had in my closet (and yeah, it fit woop, woop!!!) or I'd rent one. I think that mindset prevented me from getting my a@# in gear. Any who, the fabric that I received was novelty but more of a sweater type knit and that wasn't the look I was going for so I went to Joann.
And the rest is history...
For the folks that like a review, I will tell you I partially picked this dress because it was a simple design with just the right amount of drama and scandal (did you see the back? POW!!) and partly because I didn't see a plus size body bigger than a 16 make this dress, challenge accepted. I mean, I'm sure voluptuous bodies wanted to know if they could go backless and wear the heck out of the dress, right? Well, my dear you can, I got so many complements,from men and women. The curvy ladies pulled me to the side and asked where I got, my dear, I made this and the amazement. The ability to make things that fit your hips without falling off your shoulder is the pear/spoon figures wildest dreams and one of the reasons I sew.
Close-fitting, lined, pullover dress has bias neck binding, shoulder yokes, long sleeves, back pleated drape with weighted tab, French darts and back extending into fish tail hemline with slight train.
For two-way stretch knits only.SEWING LEVEL: Intermediate, the drape is very fiddly.
SIZING:16-22, I cut a 22 and graded up.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
For everything except the back drape, the directions were not that great. If you look at the line drawing and follow the markings you will be OK. The drape actually hangs from the back portion of the yoke so in knowing that, things should line up good. My lining kept peaking out in the back and truthfully the neck binding was used sort of like piping. But, I think it needed to be under stitched and I could have done that without the binding, but this could just be preference.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like the simple glamorous design and the fact that it is a designer pattern. I like the yokes because with my forward shoulders, it saved me some adjustments.
Stretch velvet burnout
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
-I did my customary one inch full bust adjustment and this dress already had a dart.
-I added an inch front and back below the bust to add length.
- I graded the skirt portion up 4 inches total (this is customary for my 49 1/2" hips, I don't do tight, but I do fitted) and blended to the size 22 from just below the hip to the hem to peg it in a bit.
-I based and fit the hip to avoid the flaps I tend to get when the sides are too curvy before finalizing the seams.
-I cut the lining about 20 inches shorter hitting at the knee (this was velvet and hot!).
-I made adjustments to the back piece # 5, upper back. I slashed and spread just above the waist marking and adding three inches. Then, I slashed the top portion (about a third of the way down) and overlapped two inches so the total length would be the same and that it would fit the back piece (I lengthened an inch when I did the FBA so I only need to adjust by two inches). I was trying to raise the "U" shape without changing the back piece or the drape or add a panel.
-I cut the front hem an inch shorter and graded to nothing at the side seams. I'm 5'9" and it was still too long for me, but I wore flats (hubby is shorter than I am and I didn't want to tower, although he doesn't mind lol). I think this drafted for someone who is 5'7-5'8" at least who will wear 3in or more heels.
-I shortened the sleeves to 3/4" again, hot velvet and I like 3/4" sleeves on me.
-I added should snaps (here's a link from Itch to Stitch) to keep my bra in place and I used this bra thing a ma jig to keep my bra straps low, one of my sewing friends slid this in my DM when I was complaining that I have to wear an over the shoulder boulder holder (let me know in the comments if you know the movie reference).
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Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, and yes, classic design that will highlight fantastic fabric and awesome curves! This dress draped back dress from Badgley Mischka ran around $650 with coupons, discounts, fabric and the pattern I paid around $50 that's a $600 savings!!! whoop!!
What do you think of the dress? Have you/ do you made/make special occasion attire?