My third variation for the Pattern Review contest took my basic sheath pattern in a dressier direction, pairing winter white ponte knit with a set of 4 black lace motifs I’ve had on hand for a long time. Of course – and you may be sensing a theme here – I had a project in mind for them: A white quilted-look knit Chanel-shaped jacket with a variety of embellishments. Not only had that project never happened, but I have the same motifs in white and the same quilted knit in black, so I can still actualize that concept when the time is right (A lace-embellishment contest deadline, perhaps?)
Winter white feels dressy anyway, but I thought pattern modifications for an open shoulder and a deep V-cut back neckline would add elegance. Otherwise the basic body panels and sleeve were the same as the gray and brown dresses. I extended the vertical shape of the lace pieces with a bit of beading detail — taken from a broken necklace I’d never discarded.
Applying the larger lace motifs to the front panel initially seemed tricky. But at Jo-Ann Fabrics I spotted a spray-on fusible product I could use to secure them in place while I added hand stitching from the wrong side as reinforcement. I used the same technique to affix the smaller motifs to the upper edge of the cut-away sleeve, thinking that horizontal accent would counter-balance the fact that an open shoulder doesn’t accommodate my standard shoulder shaper.
Once again the basic dress went together in nothing flat. The sleeves set in as usual – just no sleeve cap to ease into place – and I pressed and fused the upper armhole seam allowance to the inside with Fusible Stay Tape.
However this pale fabric put a spotlight on even the smallest fit variation. I ended up stitching slightly deeper seams to remove excess fabric from the front seams in the thigh area and above the bust. Also took a bit out of the back seams in the shoulder blade area. With no sleeve cap to support it, the bicep portion of the sleeve needed to fit snug to avoid drooping, and taking a deeper seam there required taking a corresponding amount out of the side seam below the armhole. Fortunately none of those were very time-consuming and cumulatively they made all the difference in the finished look of the dress.
After the fit was corrected I finished the neckline with a narrow self-binding, mitered at the base of the V neck in back. Years ago another stylist turned me on to “exit interest” (otherwise known as somewhere besides your butt for people to look when you are walking away). That prompted me to highlight that V point with some additional beading, echoing the front detail, which then became my favorite part of the whole project.
The seam allowances create a slight shadow in the finished garment, so I’m on the hunt for a pale nude full-length shaper garment before I actually wear this in public. This one from Spanxx looks promising, and Maidenform has some more affordable options too.