Party time will soon be upon us, so it is time to start sewing the perfect outfit while there is still time for adjustments and errors – because if you were to make a mistake on any project it would be the party dress that you want to impress with.
Lace is a Christmas classic, and can be used to make either a full dress or just as an insert – adding some extra glamour to an otherwise plain dress. If you do feel like adding lashings of lace to a dress you can find our tips for sewing lace fabric here.
Knit fabrics are another good idea for party dresses – admittedly if you are new to sewing knit fabrics may not seem like an obvious choice however as a general rule they are a flattering fabric that can be used to create both drape and figure hugging forms (we also have some tips for sewing knit fabrics here)
As we have recently booked the Croft Mill Christmas Do, we thought we would share with you our favourite party fabrics and patterns.
With a nod to the 60’s this pattern would work well with both pattern and plain fabrics (though we would recommend a one way design) – especially Ponte di Roma. The simple style is flattering on most body shapes, and although it does incorporate 5 pieces, it should not be too hard if it is your first time sewing a party dress. A word to the wise, L K Bennet’s current collection of party wear includes a black dress very similar to this, but with silver bead embellishment along the hems of the arm holes and down the side seam.
In keeping with classic shapes, this fit and flare pattern is both classic and universally flattering. If you have a straighter form, the nipped in waist can add curves while the flared skirt can also hide lumps or bumps on fuller thighs.
The pattern offers variations on the neckline and sleeves, and also includes instructions on how to re-embroider lace.
This is another pattern that offers variation – this time with the length (you can go glamourous and floor length or flirty and knee length.) There is also the option to add ‘cold shoulder’ sleeves. If you haven’t heard about cold shoulder sleeves, they are essentially full length sleeves with a circular hole over each shoulder. I believe they were ‘the in thing’ almost a decade ago – but are now the all the rage again. Though this pattern is a ‘plus-size’ it does not mean that you have to hide away in it; the ruched ‘v’ shaped middle accentuates your curves.
Our Jayne loves a bit of Karen Millen and can often be found scouring the internet for new pieces to smuggle home. So really, it is no surprise she suggested this pattern as it closes resembles one of Karen Millen’s new party dress. The use of contrasting fabrics in this dress means gives it a ‘high-end’ feel, while the detailing on the waistband cinches in the waist giving a classic silhouette. It is worth noting that this pattern may not be suitable if you are only just learning to sew.
If a party dress is not your thing – and let’s be honest there can be lots of reasons why we sometimes don’t feel like wearing a dress. This jumpsuit is on trend, and can be sewn into a variety of styles. From full length trousers to shorts and all block colours to contrasting fabrics. Although it might add a few minutes onto the sewing time, we especially love the tie belt. Top Tip: If you feel insecure about a certain part of your body (eg your legs) use a darker coloured fabric on that area and a lighter or patterned fabric on the parts you’d like to emphasise.
We love this pattern because the shape is just such a classic – we also love the excuse to practise with floaty fabrics. If you are creating the dress out of a more subdued colour, the nipped in waistband could be created out of a similar tone (or contrasting colour if you feel brave) to add even more interest and really define your shape.
While the previous pattern was a classic, the crossed over straps in this pattern that create a halter neck have a decidedly modern flair. The empire waistline helps to elongate your figure – we think that this pattern would look divine made out a Ponte Roma with minimal yet elegant accessories.
This pattern also plays up the neckline making a feature of the ‘cut out’ sections. If you are yet to attempt a concealed zip – this pattern is for you. Here the zip is treated as a feature, so tread carefully. You want your zip to look an appropriate length and to appear straight and flat. If you are worried about puckering, attempt to sew a zip in a spare piece a fabric. Many zips can be picked up at a reasonable price, so there is no excuse not to practise!
Another pattern with a modern feel, the frills on this are anything but traditional. This dress can be made from a wide range of fabrics, so there is sure to be one you feel comfortable sewing – the lace on the sleeves is also option. Which is perfect if you have a busy Festive period and need a dress you can create quickly, that isn’t a plain shift. The flowing feel of this dress is hugely flattering and feminine, while the asymmetric ruffle adds extra interest.
Sometimes, a Christmas event does not always call for a dress or other ‘traditional’ evening wear. If the event is lower key a smart top with a pair of plain trousers or wiggle skirt can be a perfect outfit. This pattern from Vogue could be worn with simple trousers, yet it would undoubtedly still make an impact. The peplum drape draws the eye down – suggesting a longer figure, whilst also disguising any lumps.
To be totally honest with you, this pattern only came to our attention when a customer rang up to enquire about the best type of fabric to make it with. We suggested this Ponte Roma or our Maypole fabric, but once the phone call had ended we just could not discard the pattern. We love that although it is decidedly 50’s, it also has a young and modern feel. The full skirt is demure and flattering, yet the unexpected bow at the back offers a bit of fun.