All this month the Simple Sew Bloggers will be making party dresses to celebrate The Dressmaker’s Ball coming soon on 12th May…
This month I took the challenge of making a easy, yet red carpet-worthy Simple Sew Skater dress for #TheDressMakersBall, which is being held on 12th May in Leicestershire. I’m not only excited about the ball because our very own Gabby will be performing with her band, but because I am going to be on the dress competition Judging panel. So no pressure about making a beautiful dress then!
As mentioned before in my Gwen sewing tutorial, i’m a super snuggle bunny and wanted to make a jersey dress that could be worn comfortably all night. I have already made a Bardot dress in luscious woven fabric, so this time I reached for the Simple Sew Skater dress pattern after seeing a lovely version here.
This dress states woven fabric only but, as proved, it can be sewn up in jersey. If you are planning on making a Jersey Skater variation, I very much suggest using a stable knit jersey such as Pointe or something without 4 way stretch and reinforcing the waist band with either knit stay tape or non stretched clear elastic.
I was super lucky to be supplied with jersey from Sew Essential who have a lovely range of plain and patterned jersey to choose from.
I opted for 3m of Cadiz Lightweight Cotton Elastane Jersey, which is actually a lot sturdier than the name suggests. I’d say it’s more mid-weight with a lovely drape and just the right amount of stretch to be comfy but stable enough to keep things under control. I’d use this fabric for dresses and tops without hesitation. In fact, because it’s so wide (170cms), I may be able to squeeze a top from my scraps!
Size-wise I currently sit at a size 16 according to the back of the packet. I measured the pattern pieces over and over and decided to do a straight 14 top and grade out at the hips, keeping in mind that I’d get a bit of room with the stretch in the jersey.
I didn’t make the bodice longer, as suggested by many, because I am only 5’2’’ and have a short torso. I also like my waists to start a little higher as this makes skirts ‘fall’ over my hips rather than jut out over them. That’s the secret of making a full skirt look flattering when you have a round lower half, as I do.
My three biggest modifications were purely for design reasons. I wanted a high low skirt so it would have a bit of movement on the dance floor and I did away with the zipper and facings giving me the ability to raise the neckline on the back bodice a little and made it less V shaped so I could simply turn over the hem and cover-stitch it down.
To create the high low design I drafted the skirt pattern longer by 2 inches at the front (the skirt is quite short otherwise) and then graded to 9 inches longer at the very back, which was the most my fabric would let me extend to.
There is a sew-a-long already available for this dress, so head over here for a detailed blow by blow, but I did notice that the armscye doesn’t have any notches to help you line up the sleeve top to the arm holes on the dress. I made my own simply to remember what was front and back and suggest you do the same. This picture above demonstrates which is the front and back.
All in all I have ended up with an evening dress, which can be dressed up and down giving it more wearability than your classic ball gown. This pleases me as I am very much an advocate of slow fashion and never make garments for one wear.
To make the outfit a little more glam, I made a little bow belt using Crafty sew and sew’s tutorial and paired with my favourite heels and bag she became a very British summer affair! I wore her to a Wedding whilst she was still hot off the press and one of the guests said I looked like a British strawberry advert. I’m taking that as a compliment!
Although I am happy with the dress, there are a few things I would change next time around. I’d probably get away with making a straight 12 in jersey and 14 in wovens. Although I was on the fence about which size to cut and erred on the edge of caution, I think I should of thrown caution to the wind. At least there will be cake-eating room!
I also would make the high low affect more pronounced. Although I had to work with the constraints of the fabric width I’d probably not add the two inches of front length meaning it would be a little more dramatic. None the less, it moved beautifully on the dance floor.
I hope I have demonstrated that you can make a lovely evening gown using a simple pattern and it gives you a little more confidence if you are considering buying a ticket. Ticket sales end on April 30th, so don’t delay!
Dressmakers Ball info:
Friday 12th May 2017 at The City Rooms, Leicester.