The ‘Little Red Dress Project’ is an Instagram challenge run by @thetwighlightstitcher and @rosabella.angelica. This is the second year that it’s been held and as soon as I saw the challenge announcement I was keen to enter because I missed out on entering it the previous year and it sounded like fun. What I was going to make however didn’t fall into place until a few weeks later when I went to the sewing meetup in Birmingham called Sew Brum. I found some lovely stretchy crushed red velvet at the Fancy Silk Store and then later on in the afternoon, I spotted Vogue 8685 on the pattern and fabric swap table. There’s even a red dress drawing on the pattern illustration…It was meant to be! After I had shown my intended fabric/pattern combo on Instagram, I had a lot of favourable comments about Vogue 8685, saying that it was a good pattern with a nice shape to fit and not overly difficult to sew up, which sounded promising. Of the different style variations on the pattern envelope, I decided to go for the flared mid-length skirt and a long sleeve. After all, it is a dress for Winter and I need to be warm.
As with all velvets, I had to pay attention to the nap and cut all of my pieces with the nap running in the same direction. The cutting stage, therefore was something I did first thing in the morning while I was feeling relatively fresh and awake…although I somehow doubt there is any time of the day when I feel particularly alert at this time of year… I have a strong urge to hibernate and seriously think I was a squirrel or a brown bear in a previous life…hehe.
So, with the large flared skirt pattern pieces and having to keep the direction the same on all pieces meant that 2m of fabric was juuuuuust about enough with literally scraps left, phew!
I cut a size 12 and did my usual adjustments for forward-rolling square shoulders by taking more in the centre sleeve seam at the shoulder/neck area and also by shaving a little off the front seam, but adding it onto the back. I brought the neckline up and in a bit too, particularly at the back, and finally, I added about ¾” of depth on the front bodice for a bit more bust room.
Most of the dress went together fairly easily. I pinned and basted a lot and used my walking foot too. The fabric was a real ‘slippery little sucker’ and needed care and patience. That patience wore a little thin, however, when it came to sewing the concealed zip in…..most of it went in ok, but I ended up undoing and re-stitching the same 6” (where the yoke seams intersected) about six times!! My poor cat Bilbo (aka sewing room companion) had to listen to a fair bit of swearing! I’ve since learned about Wonder Tape from my online sewing friend Maxine of Sew Ready and next time I sew a concealed zip in velvet I’m definitely using it.
I finished off the hem of the dress with a 1.5” hem to give the skirt a bit of weight and I blind stitched it in place. It does seem to have a nice swish to it when I wear it. For finishing off the neckline I followed the pattern instructions and added some binding which was understitched and then stitched down to the inside, however, I felt like the velvet fabric would have been too bulky so I used some viscose jersey from my stash. I’m not overly convinced about this technique though as I feel that the neck edge is springing up a little. It may be caused by the jersey that I used for the binding not being soft enough to lay flat, but if I were to make this again I think I might add a proper neck facing.
A final little extra touch and something that I think finishes off the back next really nicely came about because my zipper was a bit short. I decided to stop the zip about 2.5” from the top, stitched the seam together above the zip and then simply stitched on three covered buttons. I didn’t even need to make the buttons functional because the neckline is big enough to go over my head. I think I might do this again sometime on a garment as it looks rather nice don’t you agree?
Well, I’m actually looking forward to giving this new dress it’s first proper wear tomorrow when hubby and I go on our Christmas date night. A delish three course (good job the fabric is stretchy and forgiving!) dinner at our local fancy wine bar/restaurant. It’s the kind of place where the ladies get pretty glammed up, so I think I’ll feel perfect in my red velvet and glittery heels.
Right, I think I’ll leave you with a link to a song that whilst writing this post and all the time I was sewing my dress, kept going through my head….enjoy!
A Quick PSA before I go:
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