Last Minute Party Dress

So.  V’s preschool does this sort of gala/party thing every year.  It’s a fundraiser in order to offer financial aid to less well off families.  M and I had tickets and I realized I needed a dress and shoes.  Shopping.  Fabric, yarn, buttons shopping is fun.  And M and the girls can tell you shoe shopping isn’t exactly an issue either.  But a dress at the last minute? I had no desire to go shopping for something.  I just knew I would spend too much time to just end up paying for something I wasn’t crazy about anyway.

So I did what any sewing obsessed person would do. This.


Everything is from my stash.  The fabric is the teal rayon jersey from Imagine Gnats.  The pattern is Simplicity 2580 (size 14, view B).  The trim is from, ummm, I think Pacific Trimming?  I just know I added it to an order once upon a time.


The pattern was actually excellent.  Perfect fit right off the bat, clear instructions.  I always stabilize shoulder seams but this one actually tells you to do it.  The only change I made as to use a 3/8″ seam allowance at the empire waist.  The bodice without skirt landed just below my bust and I didn’t want that seam going up too high.  I also added clear elastic at the waist seam to support the weight of the skirt and keep it from sagging. The back skirt is in two pieces and I wondered why.  I was going to just cut it on the fold, removing that center seam allowance and that’s when I realized that the seam line isn’t perfectly straight. There’s this slight curve that follows the spine.  Might be a good feature for people who need to make adjustments for a swayback or something…  I also appreciated the armhole binding.  It tightens up the armhole just enough and it’s turned all the way to the inside for a less casual finish.  I could see myself make more of these dresses. My only issue is the way the notched neckline wants to flop around.  The trim helped it but in the future, sturdier interfacing might be necessary (I went for lightweight knit interfacing).


The fabric is lovely too.  It feels substantial but not too thick and has good drape.  I don’t know how well it’ll last though.  I had to machine wash and dry it (I didn’t see anything on Imagine Gnats’ shop saying I shouldn’t and I didn’t have a lot of time) and it fuzzed up a bit even though I went for the most delicate settings. It just wasn’t as beautifully silky smooth as it used to be.  From now on, it’ll only be air drying.  It should also be known that this is clingy fabric.  I wore a smoothing slip for the party (really bad quality one though so it only helped a little) and a smoothing camisole for the pictures.  Actually, you can see the bottom of the camisole in this back picture.


I had a bit of an issue with my trim.  I hand sewed it on, cutting the circles out to go around the notch. And then I tried the dress on and had all these ripples and pulling. E told me she didn’t notice anything bothersome but I couldn’t let it rest.  I realized that I’d sewn non stretch trim to a stretchy neckline.  I needed to sew it on while wearing it to get it right.  Kinda difficult.  I think this was my first time being truly thankful for my dress form!  It isn’t shaped exactly like me but close enough.  I put it on the dress form and separated the circles to allow the fabric to stretch between them.  Most of the back neckline ones were unstitched and restitched.  I finished Saturday afternoon.  The party was that night.



And now, I need to figure out how to get pollen stains out of the fabric.  I washed it before I realized I should just use sticky tape to remove the pollen.  I’m trying the sunlight thing now.  At least it doesn’t show too much? And I know that the trim can take the washing machine? And I’ve learned not to take pictures next to lilies no matter how pretty?

Creative mommy at home to two wonderful little girls, trying to juggle family, sewing, exercise, family, knitting, photography, and did I mention family?

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Posted in Sewing
5 comments on “Last Minute Party Dress
  1. Charity says:

    Sewing the same thing twice is always frustrating… it was worth it for that trim though! It’s fantastic! I love the way you placed it around the notch too.
    The rayon knits I’ve used have a tendency to fuzz up and pill too… I think it’s just something about the fiber.
    I wouldn’t have even thought about pollen staining! I hope you can get it out!


    • Thank you! I did manage to get it out. I read up on pollen stains after the fact and found out I shouldn’t have tried to wash it. I read about just letting the sunlight take care of the stain and it worked! I can still see something when I look really hard but no one else would know. I’m pretty confident that it will completely disappear with more time in the sunlight.


  2. Nice work. Love the color of this dress and the trim. The back neckline looks very pretty.


  3. […] used the same rayon jersey as for my dress but in the blueish grey color. It’s very clingy.  Looking at the pictures, it feels like a […]


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