It's not often I copy a RTW look to the tee. Usually I troll through Pinterest or designer websites for inspiration on styling and the detail that leads me to what I pull together. On one of my 'internet window shopping' sessions I came across this dress...
I thought this dress would be the ideal, easy wear, summer, work appropriate addition to my wardrobe - simple but classy. Immediately the Belcarra top pattern came to mind - how easy would it be to simply add some length to make it a dress.
I went to the depths of my fabric stash and found this black crinkle chiffon (well that's what I'm gonna call it anyway) with a small floral print. I bought this online a wee while ago and it wasn't what I expected when it arrived, so I figured that if the dress didn't work out then I wouldn't be too disappointed.
When I made my first Belcarra top I selected a size 10 based on my bust and graded to a size 8 at the hip, resulting in a great fitting top. I used exactly the same size selection for this dress and extended the bottom of the top straight down by 17". However, the fit on this has a completely different result.
It has way and I mean waaaay too much room around the waist and hip area. I considered taking it in, but the seams have a french seam finish, which would mean unpicking the sleeves in order to get to the side seams and re-shape them. The fabric is so fine, I was worried that I would cause more damage and render it completely unwearable, so no picking here.
My next thought was to add some elastic across the middle of the back at the waist. I cut a 2" piece of 1/4" elastic and stretched this as much as I could while attaching it with a zig zag stitch.
While that made a small improvement, I feel that it's still too big. Thank goodness for a belt!
There, that looks better already. Okay, now we can move on to more of the details ...
I hoisted up the hem over the left leg ... I don't know why, but it just felt better, than on the right side. Firstly I made a tab 3" wide by 7" long, folded it in half, sewed up two sides and turned right side out. I then created a buttonhole in the dress, horizontal to the hem, 7" up from the hem - I applied a small amount of tailors fusible interfacing to stabilise the fabric before sewing the buttonhole. I threaded the tab through the buttonhole and hoisted up the hem then closed the tab using a few hand stitches. Sorry, didn't take any photos of this process - brain was too busy working overtime trying to nut this out!
I decided that the lift in the hem wasn't dramatic enough, and the dress still looked like a sack, so promptly repeated the process making a second button hole and second tab, this time threading the tab through both button holes.
Now that the fabric is made up into a dress, I actually don't mind it and will probably get loads of wear out of this dress over the coming summer months.
More photos on my Flickr -->