This dress is SO awesome and sneaky. Looks like two pieces, but wait- there’s more! It’s actually one dress! I LOVE these kinds of dresses! Looks like a silk blouse with a high-waisted pencil skirt, without the bother of keeping a shirt tucked in all day and making sure things match in the morning (because, ew, all I wanna do is sleep right now). Extra bonus – the skirt is a ponte knit, so it’s actually a COMFY pencil skirt. Are y’all feeling my excitement right now?? This is the Sugar Plum, from Lolita Patterns. Full disclosure: Amity sent me this pattern free to try it out and see how I liked it. I guess you probably gathered at this point my reaction to the finished dress – ummm, amazing! I love how it’s totally appropriate for a professional environment (not that I need clothes like that anymore, but, you know, I still like to dress up ;)), but it’s still beautiful and feminine and unique. The pattern is really fun to put together – lots of tiny pieces, clever seam finishes, the kind of stuff that makes me 😀 Since it doesn’t require a lot of fabric to make up the top half (less than a yard!), I splurged on this amazing Oscar de la Renta silk print from Mood Fabrics. I also bought this navy blue ponte knit for the skirt (omggg so comfy) and lime green china silk for the lining for a bit of a color pop. This is view B, without the front flounces. I sewed up a size 2. The top fit with no alterations, although I did need to take the skirt in a bit to get it fitted (it’s actually a bit toooo fitted now, whoops. Good thing it’s a knit lol). I did use a much stretchier fabric than suggested by the pattern, so I’m not surprised. The pattern has you use a stretch woven, and pontes tend to be a little more like an actual knit. Based on the way the skirt fits, I suspect you could also use a non-stretch woven and just cut the panels on the bias for the same fitted/comfortable effect. I skipped the pockets and the sleeve gathering detail for a more simple look. The more I sew with silks, the more I find myself not wanting to make up anything else. The most important thing I’ve learned when it comes to sewing lightweight/slippery/silky fabrics is to make sure that your cutting is super accurate, then the sewing is a piece of cake (or, at least, as much of a piece of cake as it can be!). I always rip my fabric along the cross grain first, to ensure that the edges are perfectly straight, and then pin the selvedges together before I lay down my pattern pieces. This prevents the silk from shifting as I cut it. When it’s time to cut, make sure your scissors are nice and sharp, and try to cut the entire length of the blades (instead of timid little snips). One thing I loove about ordering from Mood Fabrics is that I know the fabric is going to already be on-grain, so I don’t have to worry about straightening the grain before I cut. Just rip the cut edge, pin, and cut those pattern pieces! Sewing with the ponte was much easier than the silk, obviously. I used a serger for all the skirt seams, and my regular sewing machine (treating it like a woven) to attach the silk top to the ponte waistband. I love this ponte because it’s quite a bit more stretchy than other pontes I’ve tried, which means it’s extra extra comfortable. Just be careful when you press it – it definitely gets a shine, so use a press cloth. I keep a big square of silk organza specifically for this purpose. It absorbs the heat of the iron so my fabric underneath doesn’t shine, and it’s sheer so I can actually see what I’m doing 🙂 I really enjoyed working on this pattern – lots of tiny details to make me feel challenged as a seamstress, but not so much that I got overwhelmed with the process. A lot of indie patterns run on the easy/beginner side – which is fine, I know there are lots of people who want something simple to make up, and it’s easier to complicate a pattern than simplify it. But sometimes it’s nice to have something that I feel is aimed at a slightly higher level, without me having to run through the steps and find ways to make it harder for myself. Wow, I just made me sound like a total weirdo. What can I say, I like a challenge! I did make a pretty crappy mistake toward the end of this dress. I was sewing in the invisible zipper and could not get the waistband seams to match up. I was tired, hungry, getting grouchy (you can see where this is going), and I thought, “One more try and then I’m outta here.” While picking out the zip, I somehow managed to detach the teeth from the zipper tape. WHYYYYY. I know I tell y’all that I have millions of zippers in my stash, and I do, but none of them are invisible. I actually have to go out of my way and buy one whenever I need it (because I’m too stubborn to keep those in stock, apparently), which usually ends up with me going to Walmart because they sell invisible zippers and they’re open at 3am when I suddenly need one. So I pretty pissed about destroying this zip, and trying to avoid another trip to Walmart. I ended up cutting the zipper right above where I sliced it open, and just finished the dress with a super duper short zipper – it ends about halfway down the waistband. Since the skirt is so stretchy, this works, kind of. It’s funny to watch me pull it on, ha! And you know the worst part? THE WAISTBAND PIECES STILL DON’T MATCH UP. Whatever, I’m over it! I love the little details on this dress that make it so special – the ruffled collar (hemmed using the rolled hem on my serger), the tiny buttons with the tiny button loops, and that BRIGHT LIME GREEN LINING. Really, it’s like a party when I take the dress off! By the way, don’t ever search Oscar de la Renta on the Mood Fabrics site unless you plan on dropping some serious dough on some seriously incredible fabrics. I just fell down the rabbit hole – again! – and discovered violet boucle, boucle with sparkly lurex (!!!), silk floral and some freaking polka dot silk taffeta. I want, I want it all!
Now time for the fun part – a giveaway! Amity has generously offered a copy of Sugar Plum to one lucky winner, yeeeah!! Still having reservations? Just know that the sizing goes aaaaall the way up to 24 (yes!) and there is an entire sew-along on the blog for anyone who needs some hand-holding. You have no excuses, people! To enter, just leave a comment on this post and let me know what you’d make your Sugar Plum up in (Personally, I’m lurking on a second version with a leopard blouse and a denim skirt, like, ahem, Leila’s. Yes. Exactly like that. Sorry boo!). This giveaway is open to WORLDWIDE and I will close the entries a week from today, Monday, December 2 8:00AM CST. Good luck!
GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.