Monday, December 2, 2013

Fantasy to Reality: Cobalt Dress

When my "Cobalt Fantasy" started, I knew that I wanted a cobalt and black sheath dress.  I couldn't be happier with the final result.  Donna Karan cobalt wool gabardine (2 yards, Haberman Fabrics) trimmed with faux leather (Joann's), this sheath is a marriage of two patterns.  Simplicity 1802 (bodice) and Butterick 5566 (skirt).  I wore it today with my black cashmere (vintage pattern) jacket.
I love the back of the bodice, the deep-v back is so feminine, but not too revealing. No special undergarments required!  The skirt (16) and bodice (14) matched up perfectly with no special adjustment to marry the two together at the bottom of the waistband.  To get a neat finish on the sleeve, I lined it and stitched the layers together at the hem right sides together. Then I turned it right side out, understitched along the hem, and pressed it.  When I inserted the sleeve, I treated the sleeve as a single unit, and used my serger to neaten the armhole seam. Not perfect or couture, but it was less of a headache and just as sturdy with a very clean finish.
I cut the faux leather into 1.5" strips, folded them in half wrong sides together, and stitched them wrong sides together. Stitching the piping in place was easy enough, but made me nervous, as the pattern piece edges were diagonal and I didn't want to stretch it out of shape. I topstitched on the blue alongside the "piping" to help flatten and neaten the seams.  Pressing was done very carefully, as the faux leather didn't care for direct heat!
Look at the matching of the seams with that piping! The invisible zipper is hidden along that side seam, too. There's a fair amount of bumps there, but I managed to insert the zipper without drama on the first try! Please pardon the wrinkles and bumps, these pictures were taken after a full day of work!
The piping on the bodice and the skirt is positioned to point downward, but the center front strip faces left and the trim on the waistband points up on the top and down on the bottom. I can't get over how the leather trim really makes this dress look amazing, and I'm so glad that I decided to use it! I cut about 8 vertical strips, so I used less than 1/2 a yard of the faux leather.

All in all, it's a great dress with professional flair and strong design lines.  I'll be able to get continued use out of it come spring, as it's a light to mid-weight wool with short sleeves. Today a student complimented me and asked if I got my dress at Guess or BCBG. I think that equates to a sewing win!