I’ve had some red Swiss dotted cotton sitting in my stash for maybe 9 months now. I bought it when I was trying to sew myself a professional wardrobe, and then (rightly) decided that it wasn’t really appropriate for work – a bit too informal. So, it’s just been sitting there. But, along with my attempt to work my way through the Sew Weekly challenges, and my Self-Stitched-September challenge, now seemed like the perfect opportunity to use it.
I had always intended the fabric to be a dress, and as I was looking through the challenges on Sew Weekly and my style pinboard on pinterest, realised that I had the perfect fabric for the Day After Dress from ModCloth. They seemed to be the perfect combination for the 'Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery' challenge. Yes, I know that ModCloth items aren’t that expensive, but when you add in international shipping, they tend to become just a bit outside of my price range, and the Day After Dress is sold out. So, I don’t feel quite so bad about ripping it off.
Now, I probably could have drafted the dress from scratch, but I was feeling lazy. So I went through my pattern collection, and came across this pattern from 1978. On first glance, it doesn’t look too much like the Day After Dress, but it has the important neck band. So, all I would have to do would be add the waist band and shorten the sleeves. Simple!
I pulled the pattern out and realised that the pattern didn’t have either the hips or the natural waist marked. So, I kinda held it up against me, and figured that the cutting line for the shorter version fell at about my hip height. My waist is about 30 cm from my hip level, so I drew a line to mark the new ‘waist’ following the cut line. I traced out the pattern, added seam allowances, (including a seam allowance to the centre back), shortened the skirt pieces about 6cm, and used the piece I had just cut off the bottom as my waistband. For the sleeves, I really liked the raglan sleeve look, but it was way too long. So, I traced off the sleeve pattern, marking the cut line/hem as between the notches. And voila! I had a pattern for my very own Day After Dress.
Most of the work for this dress was in sewing on the piping. I made about 8m of pining, and 30cm of cording for the button loops at the back. That’s a decent amount of bias strips to make, but so worth it.
For the bodice, I used a self facing, but the skirt is unlined. I gathered and sewed, and added buttons, and hemmed.
And then, I was done. One Day After Dress.
It’s not exactly the same as the original – the main difference being that the back, with the open centre back seam, blouses out a lot more. I’m not a fan of the exposed bra look, so I’m probably going to have to sew a couple of hook and eyes on to keep things in place. But otherwise, I’m really happy with the result.
Fabric: red swiss cotton from stash; 1/2 m white poplin $2.30
Pattern: Simplicity 8412, with alterations $0.50
Notions: 5 m piping, $3.50; zipper $3.00
Time to complete: An afternoon
First worn: September 2011
Wear again? Yes! This dress is super comfortable. But I will add some hook and eyes to the back so my bra isn't exposed.
Total Cost: $9.30