I know that I swore up and down this spring that I was going to get myself in gear and sew up a bunch of cute work appropriate pieces that would get me through this summer filled with dinners and parties associated with Jim's work. Ha! Yeah right! I've pretty much accepted the fact that unless the deadline is looming right in front of me, it doesn't get done because there are too many other projects that seem to need attention first (namely gifts recently). Which is what led me to last Friday, finishing up a workout and realizing that I really didn't have anything that I was keen to wear to the wine tasting party the following night. And with a dress code of "cocktail casual" (I can say this because Jim helped to come up with these bogus dress codes, what in the hell does that mean anyways?!), the first order of business was just to figure out what I should wear.
I remembered a dress that I had been planning to make for several months, even going so far as buying the patterns and fabric, but just never getting around to actually putting it together. After double-checking with Jim, we both thought the dress would work well for the event and give me an excuse to bust out my pretty Ferragamo heels that I pet on a weekly basis because they are so lovely. ;)
The dress itself is a combination of Vogue 1057, a DKNY designer pattern (now out of print) and Vogue 8633. I loved 8633 when it was released, but thought that I would like it even more with a tank-style bodice, hence "borrowing" the top of the dress from V1057. Since the cut of both dresses is similar, the melding the two seemed simple enough.
For the fabric, I've been loving the mock two-piece style dresses that are all over the stores currently and wanted to try my hand at something similar. I wanted the dress to be a "neutral", but something other than basic black. Navy and cream became my colors of choice - not only because I'm loving all things navy recently, but also because it would match a ton of accessories that I already own. (For some more navy and cream beauties, pop over to Carolyn's blog and check out her winning midnight blue collection at Stichery Guild.)
The navy is a Rayon-Poly-Lycra (RPL) doubleknit from Mood, while the cream is a RPL doubleknit from Fashion Fabrics Club. They felt pretty similar in weight when I purchased them, but the navy softened up considerably after a run through the washer. This actually wound up being a happy accident, as the skirt darts hung a bit more like small pleats when all was said and done. I don't think this was the idea behind the pattern, but it turned out looking really nice so I went with it.
I cut a straight 12 in the skirt and midriff band of V8633 and a 10 in the bodice of V1057, cutting it off at the shorten line noted on the pattern piece. I'm so happy to say that even though this project required tweaking along the way, it was probably my smoothest sewing project to date with one of the most polished results. :D I sewed up all the pieces individually and then basted them together to play with the fit. The skirt was perfect, but the midriff band and bodice needed to be nipped in several times and the bodice needed to be shortened by 2 inches or so. Once I got all of that straightened out, the invisible zipper went in like butter, the seams all matched up perfectly and the arm and neck binding, while a bit thicker than called for by the pattern, went together incredibly well. I even kept a good handle on my topstitching so it looked like RTW, not all wonky and home sewn.
I was pretty much a giddy mess by the time this dress was done. It didn't make me want to rip out my hair while sewing it, I had a great new outfit to wear to the event and it was something that I would have gladly shelled out money for had it been hanging in a store. Sure, it's not all that flashy and it definitely needs accessories to make it pop, but I'm so happy to have it hanging in my closet. So happy, in fact, that I'm actually planning to make another one, maybe in good 'ol boring black. ;) Oh, and have I mentioned how freaking comfortable it is? Doubleknit is a beautiful thing friends. Looks chic, but feels like you're wearing pajamas. Such a win!
Friday at noon it was a pile of fabric and two uncut patterns. By Saturday at noon, it looked like this:
Yeah, I pretty much adore it!
One last note about this dress. When I was finishing it up, I couldn't help but think that it reminded me so much of something Michelle Obama would wear. I couldn't find any pictures of her in a dress exactly like this, but it does seem that she often favors sheath dresses with high, round necklines and I think that is why this feels like something she would like. And really, if it's good enough for her, then it's definitely good enough for me!
On a completely separate note, I just wanted to mention how much I love the summer associates that Jim is managing this year. I don't know what kind of voodoo him and his co-coordinator did, but they seriously managed to get one of the best groups of "kids" I've ever seen. They're a bright, articulate, nice, funny, diverse, and outgoing bunch that are just a delight to chat with at parties and events. I didn't know how much I would love having to attend all these dinners and get togethers, but I can honestly say I'm having so much fun and that I'll be quite sad when the summer comes to a close.
I'd also be remiss not to mention how much I like Jim's co-coordinator and her husband. She is due with her first child in September and it's been great getting to know her and see how excited they are for the little one's arrival in a couple of months. I can only hope that we will continue to socialize with them even after the summer program is done.