We had a wedding to attend on Sunday and I needed a dress. I have such a difficult time finding dress patterns for my aging body that are stylish but not too exposed. That make me feel chic and not dowdy. My arms have seen better days but my shoulders are still fine. When I saw Hot Patterns Metropolitan Urban Gypsy Blouse I bought it immediately not thinking about making it into a dress for this wedding but thinking that it was a chic top I would wear all summer. Looking for an idea for a dress I looked at my favorite fashion sites and kept coming back to dress versions of this top. I drew a couple of different dresses on my croquis and sent them to my daughter. She immediately picked the off the shoulder one. I am so glad I took her advice. Two muslins were necessary to work out changing this to a dress and some fitting details, but it was really easy to get this to fit me. It's a good pattern. There was too much ease even though I made it a size smaller. I rotated the fba I made into the neckline so that I have 4 darts now in front instead of two. Not having gathers was a big plus for me in this pattern. Darts much more flattering to my large bust than gathers above it. In all I think I took out about 4 "in the waist and hips. Instead of being straight the side seams now curve in at the waist and I pegged the bottom. There was still plenty of room for the back gathers to fall gracefully.
Everything for this dress was from my stash. The print is a silk crepe de chine that was wonderful to work with. It stayed put on my cutting table, the print was on grain and it's just great quality and a nice weight. I bought it on clearance sale from a pattern designer who was phasing out fabric and I can't think of who it was. I had 4 yards and used most of it including two samples to practice the narrow hem that I haven't done in years. Of course I could have just used scraps but I wanted to see how hemming the opposing curves would work. The original does not call for lining but it does have instructions for putting in a shelf bra, which I used to a point. My lining isn't stretch, it's one of the nicest Bemberg rayons I've ever worked with. It's heavier than what I see now. It was also on sale from a website that closed. Can't remember their name either; both pieces have been in my stash for a good long time! I attached it at the neckband and I finished the armscye openings tacking them at the underarm seam and French tacks at the lower seams.
We had to drive almost two hours to get to this wedding and I was sure I would be a mass of wrinkles by the time we got there, but there weren't any and after a whole day and more than two hours to get home there still weren't very many wrinkles. If you ever think that you don't want to bother lining something, remember my wrinkle-less dress and think again. I do think that the weight of the lining helped.
I love this dress! Was it Donna Karan who said that the last thing to go are a woman's shoulders?
Trudy of Hot Patterns designed a fantastic pattern that's exactly what's being sold all over the place in RTW. I am in the process of making it in blouse form, also in black and white, but cotton. It's a top, or in my case a dress that I think can be worn by almost any woman. For once I'm thrilled with what I wore to a wedding. I'm also happy with my sewing. I make so many really simple knit tops and simple pants that I felt like I was losing my sewing skills. This, while not a particularly difficult dress, was more challenging than my usual fare.