Monday, June 17, 2013

Little Black Concert Dress (Butterick 5748)

I have a significant section of my closet that is aaallll black! Black tops, black skirts, black dresses. I didn't go through a goth phase or anything, lol, I've just been performing in concerts (band, orchestra, or choir) since I was around 10, and unless we had a uniform, concert dress was typically always black. I never miss a chance to dress up a bit, but I try to keep it understated. It can be hard to find a dress that isn't too formal or too casual for my liking, that is also comfortable enough to play my instrument in, and suitable for the concert setting. I like the traditional 3/4 sleeve, and I like the skirt long enough that I don't have to worry about any flashing going on. In short, I'm picky! And good choices in stores tend to be severely lacking.

 Since I've been on such a sewing spree lately, before my last orchestra concert I decided I would make myself a new concert dress! I looked through my stash, and decided on Retro Butterick 5748.

It's sleeveless, but I have several shrugs and bolero type cardigans to layer with it for my 3/4 sleeve preference.

I really love the simplicity of this dress, the scoop neckline, a basic bodice with darts, and a full circle skirt. I decided to make the view with the notch in the front neckline just for a little interest, but I didn't use the bows or have a notch in the back. I also decided to move the zipper from the side to the center back, so I could easily use an invisible zipper. And, as I'm a firm believer in pockets whenever possible, I added pockets as well.

This was the first time I was able to use my duct tape dress form (post on that coming soon), and it was a great help! Thanks to it, after fitting the pattern on it, I decided to alter the front bust darts to a diamond shape, so that it was a more fitted look. I also decided to go with a size smaller than the pattern suggests, taking the ease into account. I adore the pattern art on retro and vintage patterns, and it seems to me the only way to get anything close to that gorgeous silhouette is to fit the bodice as closely as possible. So with the help of my body double, that's what I did!

I actually decided to wear this to a ballet my husband took me to for my birthday, and I was sewing up until the last second. I wasn't able to finish the hem, but I decided to wear it anyway to the ballet, lol. So here I am after the lovely ballet, wearing my unhemmed dress!

And here are some pics of the final product, hemmed and all. ;-)




MarieBayArea said...

The beautiful neckline really makes the dress unique. You look lovely.

Melody Murdock said...

The dress is simply stunning. I love your blog, I've nominated you for an award.

agirlnamedmaria said...

I absolutely love your style. You're lovely.
I'm an "I wish I could sew" girl with a beautiful Bernina machine sitting in my craft room. I'm scared to even try. How do I get over it? And I'm a plus size. How do you adapt vintage patterns?
Or can I hire you to custom sew for me ;o)
P.S. The wedding dress you made was gorgeous!

Stephanie said...

Thanks Maria!

The only way to get over it is honestly to just jump in and start sewing something, even if it's just a pillow with straight lines to start. :-) I worked my way up from pillows and curtains, to very simple aprons, to more complex aprons, to skirts, and finally when I felt ready began to tackle real patterns (mostly dresses). I always check to see if there are reviews of the pattern, it will be rated by difficulty so I just stick to easier stuff.

Youtube has some great tutorials anytime there's something you don't know, and I love searching for easy-to-make tutorials to practice with.

As for vintage patterns, I have not yet ever bought a true vintage pattern precisely because I don't feel up to redrafting it in my size, yet. All the patterns I've made so far are reproduction vintage, which typically have larger sizes available.

Just jump in and go for it, good luck! :-)

agirlnamedmaria said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to respond. Great info! You're right...time to just dive in :o)