The Little Black Dress

Pattern house: Sew Over It & Vogue Combo

Pattern: Betty Dress & V8766

Fabric: Merino Blend Wool from Holland & Sherry

I recently found myself in need of a little black dress for a very special occasion. Ready to wear just wasn't going to cut it, plus I had picked up some gorgeous merino wool blend fabric from Holland & Sherry whilst at The Great British Sewing Bee Live a few weeks back. Following some careful consideration over pattern(s), one quick toile and some very meticulous cutting and stitching later, I arrived at this little number.

Notes from the field:

The fabric: it's to die for, as were a lot of the Holland & Sherry fabrics. (They sell for Saville Row don't you know!) Pictures just don't do it justice as it has a really subtle shimmer that catches the light beautifully. As this particular dress was to wear on stage, it was just the job. Ok, so it was on the pricey side at £30 for 1.5 metres, but it was worth it. Brilliant quality and great to work with. Lesson definitely learnt for future; for those special projects, it is worth shelling out a few more pennies to get a fabric that is a cut above the rest. (Just remember to make a toile first!)

Choice of pattern(s): Based on the cost and the sheer loveliness of the fabric, I wanted to find a pattern/patterns I had both made before and that fitted well. I also wanted to go for something relatively simple in order to show off the fabric. For the bodice I used the Sew Over It, Betty dress as I spent a long time getting the fit right first time around with that dress and absolutely love the back neckline.
I wanted the skirt as pencil as possible, to give more of a wiggle dress finish, and therefore went with another tried and tested pattern. This time it was the skirt from Vogue dress pattern V8766.

Adjustments: given that the skirt and bodice weren't originally intended to go together I spent some time adjusting the darts in the front and the back of the skirt to match up perfectly with the bodice. By some miracle I didn't need to change side seams or the centre back seam! The only other adjustment I made was to taper the skirt in at the hips and a little towards the knees (there is no split though so conscious that I couldn't take it in too much at the bottom as I needed to be able to walk!)

Lining: rarely do I go the whole hog and add in a lining but I felt that this dress deserved the special treatment. I managed to fully line it using some lovely lining that I had left over from a Sew Over It haul last year. Result!

Ultimately I'm really pleased with how this dress turned out and am pleased to have filled the LBD gap in my wardrobe. What's more, this was the first item of handmade clothing that I have ever taken to the dry cleaners. To my delight, the member of staff in there spent a good minute trying to find the label. I'll take that as a compliment!