My childhood best friend and second sister, Sara, is getting married in April. (Yes, MORE weddings....) Although Sara and Derek are our neighbors in NYC, they will wed in our South Carolina hometown. I am very excited!
My parents co-hosted an engagement party in honor of the happy couple in October. What to wear? I was on the hunt for a conservative silhouette suitable for cocktail conversation with our parents' friends.
I decided to go with a fit and flare. The pattern is a rub-off of a much-loved H&M dress: 1/4 circle skirt, waistband, bodice with bust and front/back lengthwise darts. See the initial version here in black ponte.
The fabric is an Italian matelasse knit from Mulberry Silks in Carrboro, North Carolina. The weight is similar to a light ponte. The dress is unlined.
I constructed everything on my sewing machine using the walking foot. To stabilize the shoulder seams (which hold the weight of the dress) I sewed in seam tape along the seam allowance.
I sewed all seams using a straight stitch (not zigzag) before reading in a back issue of Threads magazine that zigzag is the stitch of choice for knits. Apparently the zigzag stretches and recovers with the fabric. In contrast a straight stitch easily breaks knits. Is zigzag really a hard-and-fast rule for knits?
I stay stitched all the pieces. I thought this was probably overkill at the time, but it seems the neck gaping is from the fabric stretching out and not because I need to make additional tweaks to the paper pattern. Next time I work from this pattern, I will try to be extra careful to not stretch out the neckline and stay stitch immediately after cutting.
I really love how the sleevecaps stand off the shoulders.
|In process picture of the sleeve caps|
The sleevecap insides are not my best work. If I had not been pressed for time, I would have made a bodice lining to hide the sleevecap construction, but admittedly I "franken-sewed" the sleevecaps to the armholes 2 hours before the party. Luckily, it's not visible from the outside.
The horsehair hem is my favorite part of the dress!
The horsehair makes the skirt stand slightly at attention while still encouraging wavy movement. Quite party festive, don't you think?