I’m finally done with my birthday dress! “Wait,” you’re saying, “wasn’t your birthday, like, ages ago?” Well, yes, but Hurricane Sandy + birthday weekend away + Thanksgiving + numerous silly and annoying setbacks with the dress = here’s my birthday dress, now! Let’s just say I’m continuing the celebration for the whole year! (And, now that I’m thinking about it, I jacked up my knee right before my b-day, so this dress would’ve looked pretty silly accessorized with a knee brace).
I went to Mood thinking about color– I had just switched over my seasonal wardrobe, tucking away my bright, pretty sundresses and replacing them with gray and navy sweaters. I’m not sure why I gravitate towards dark, drab colors in the winter, but I decided that I wanted a bold color for my birthday dress. I was instantly drawn to this silk– it’s an attention-grabber and an instant mood-lifter!
My plan was to use Simplicity 1873, which I had hoped to make once before but didn’t have enough fabric. I thought I was in the clear this time around, but I was foiled again! I didn’t notice that my lining fabric was a little shy of 45″, and I couldn’t quite squeeze out the dress. Unfortunately I had already started cutting out the main fabric, but I dug up Vogue V8511, an out-of-print Very Easy Vogue pattern and was able to cut out the dress very carefully using the pieces that I had already cut. (This is one of those patterns with a lame-o envelope, but once I saw the adorable versions of this dress that Neeno and Shivani made, I had to have my own!)
The pattern came together quite easily. I tinkered with the bodice fit a bit, but the skirt is unaltered. The dress is fully-lined with a lightweight silk, and I realized that the dress was going to be floppy and sheer even with the lining, so I went back, seam-ripped, and underlined the whole thing with silk organza. I love the effect of underlining– the organza gives the dress body without adding much weight. The skirt in particular looks worlds better now!
To be honest, I had so many silly issues with this dress (like the miles of seam-ripping and hand-stitching I had to do to underline the dress) and I was so disappointed that I had to abandon my original plan that I sort of hated the dress the entire time I was working on it. I kind of figured that this would hang unworn in the back of my closet for years, but when I installed the zipper and tried on the fully-assembled dress for the first time, I couldn’t believe how much I loved it! I love the shape of the skirt– it’s so fun, but not over-the-top. I also love that there’s the merest hint of a sleeve, which is really flattering and sweet. And the hem rises up just the tiniest bit at the front to show a peek of knee, which is a longer length than I usually wear, but it works in this dress.
If I make this pattern again, I would draft a back vent or kick-pleat. The slit is fine, but a kick-pleat is much more hard-wearing and elegant. After looking over these photos a bit more, I’m realizing that I didn’t get the bodice to fit as perfectly as I’d like to have. But I can live with it and I love having a colorful new dress in my wardrobe!
How about you guys? Do you find yourself bored with bland, dark colors in the colder months? Or do you rock the classic black-on-black NYC winter look and love it? I’m plotting ways to add pops of color to my darker outfits (I’m thinking I could wear this dress with a navy boyfriend blazer, gray boots, and chunky, bright jewelry… what do you think?). Just look how exciting navy looks paired with bright tones!
What are your favorite ways to wear colors in the winter?
the yellow is lovely! definitely a cheerful addition to a winter wardrobe.
The shape and color are fab… This is a great bday dress
Thanks, Rachel! This shape would look amazing on you, btw!
I am going to put you in my pocket because you are just too awesomesauce. I love love love your dress so much! The color is STUNNING on you, and I’m definitely a fan of the skirt shape – it’s perfect here. Well done and happy birthday again!!
You are just too dang sweet, Meg! Thank you, girl!
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Beautiful dress! I love the yellow on you, and the skirt length is so elegant. I actually have this pattern in my stash…I’ll have to dig it out and give it a go!
Ooh yes, you should make this! It’s so easy and flattering!
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