Self-Drafted Formal Dress

I originally planned for this dress to be my “night dress” entry for the Day and Night Dress Challenge hosted by Elizabeth of Elizabeth Made This back in January. The rules were pretty straightforward- make a casual day dress and a black evening dress.

Self drafted formal  evening dress

When I go to a formal event, I usually have a months notice if I’m lucky. I feel like I have to make my outfit to those events because evening wear is my favorite thing to make, and I don’t get the opportunity very often. Then, since I’m an overly ambitious sewist, I concoct some elaborate design that requires a few all-nighters to complete. Last time I went to a black-tie affair, I *literally* finished sewing a dress just in time to not be late to the event. That was miserable, and I made a promise to myself I would never let my hobby put me under pressure like that again. The Day and Night Dress Challenge gave me a chance to create an evening dress so I would have a dress to wear to a future occasion, and we technically had about 6 weeks to complete the dresses. Unfortunately, fate had other plans during the month of January. I got sick. My grandmother passed away. I ended up not sewing for a couple of weeks.

Fast forward a couple of months and I finally finished it!!

Drafted evening formal dress knit
I’ve been teaching myself pattern drafting, but this is my first project that involved drafting for knit fabric. The dress fits wonderfully, but I still have a lot to learn. I stared at that white drafting paper for many hours waiting for the bust darts to draw themselves in the right location! The bust area has negative six percent ease, and the bust darts had to be positioned to account for the fabric stretching across the body when worn. It is hard to see in the photos, but there is a French dart that extends to the lace inset.

I was inspired by a dress I saw on Pinterest, a bridal gown by Lela Rose called the Lounge, if you are wondering which one specifically. It had beautiful hourglass-shaped seams vertically along the bodice that caught my eye. I didn’t do an exact copy because I wanted to create something more modest and bra-friendly, but the front view is very similar to this dress.


All of the seams except the center back seam were sewn with french seams. I serged the center back seam since I was using an invisible zipper, and there were no sheer details on this seam. I hemmed the bottom of the dress with a blind hem stitch, and the sleeves were cut along the scalloped selvage edge of the lace instead of hemming them. The lace insets at the waist were underlined with two layers of beige light-weight powermesh. The extra support from the powermesh gives a little more compression in the waist area than the lace by itself.

Self drafted evening dress

Self drafted evening formal dress drafting lace
I used Telio Jockey ponte knit fabric, and it is a rayon/nylon/Lycra blend. It is very soft, has great recovery, and the fabric provides a little smoothing. So, no spanx needed. YAY! The lace fabric was from an Etsy shop called LaceFabric, and this specific one is the Black Beauty Colleen Lace. It is a 4-way stretch lace with 3D embroidery to mimic alençon lace. One of the selvages has a scalloped edge.
Just one more look…

Drafted dress evening formal
Have you tried drafting patterns for knit fabrics? How did it go? If you used a book, can you tell me which one you used?

Fabulous photography courtesy of Rheney Dearstyne.

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3 comments

  1. Megan, your work is just incredible to me! I enjoy reading your blog and am fascinated that one can sew like you. I know “they” are out there but it’s fun to ‘know’ someone that can! I mainly wanted to tell you that I’m so sorry to hear of your Grandmother’s passing. Grandmothers are so special and it’s awful to lose them. Your family will be in my prayers.

    Teresa
    Mackenzie’s mom

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Teresa, thank you so much for the sweet comments! She will be greatly missed, but I’m glad I have the sweet memories of her teaching me how to sew when I was a little girl. I loved our one-on-one lessons together. She never drafted patterns, so I think she would be very proud of me for making this.

      Like

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