Added Oct 3, 2012
I had a wedding to go to and simply wasn’t in the mood to canvas the city for a dress that would fit my ‘now’ mature figure. Not to mention something that covered my arms, was not too short or revealing, nor too expensive. I usually wear pants to these types of affairs, but given the popularity of dresses these days, I decided to reveal my legs for a change. A little spray tan should make them fit for the task. Plus, it was a summer wedding, so a dress just seemed an appropriate choice.
It took me weeks to decide on a style. None of the commercial patterns seemed just right. I liked one style with just the right sleeve, another where the body style was interesting, you get the picture. But, no one pattern would do. It wasn’t until I watched Katie Couric on a TV special about the British Queen’s upcoming Diamond Jubilee that I saw the dress I wanted to make. It was a fairly simple, shift style dress with raglan style 3/4 length sleeves, and a slight gather at the front. Nothing particularly elaborate, but quite lovely. It seemed like something I could dress up for evening, and was in the color of the season – tangerine tango (at least that’s what it looked like on TV).
This style seemed just right up my alley, simply styled, loose fitting, with sleeves, yet I could dress it up with some accessories for the evening wedding. Of course, no pattern on earth exactly replicated the dress Katie was wearing. This McCalls pattern #6460 was the closest I could find, but even figure B wasn’t anywhere near Katie’s dress. The raglan sleeves on hers cut much deeper into the body of the dress replacing the bust darts. The neckline featured some, not a lot of gathering. And, the sleeves were attached to the bodice more dolman style under the sleeve and constructed in two parts to create a nice curve over the shoulders.
Clearly, I was going to have to make a lot of changes to the pattern. Without having to completely redesign the pattern I made the following modifications:
- At the neckline front, instead of gathers, I added six tucks.
- I left the raglan sleeves as the pattern directs, but split them into two parts to produce a much nicer curve over my shoulders, and shortened them to a 3/4 length.
- I also had to widen the sleeve to fit my arms.
- As for the dress body the alterations included widening the hips a bit, reshaping the side seams, eliminating the back darts, the front darts (the tucks produced enough fullness to accommodate my breasts), I lengthened the dress, added a kick pleat in the back and used an invisible zipper for the back closure.
- And, I lined the dress to give it nice finish.
There was no way I was going gamble with the beautiful tangerine orange fabric I bought. There were simply too many alterations that I had to be sure were going to work for me, so my first step was to make a muslin of the dress.
My first muslin was a bust. I made it way too big, and I didn’t like the tucks I created in the front, so I went back to the drawing board. The second one was just right in terms of size and length overall. Hips, just right, sleeves just right, tucks realigned and simplified, I was ready to cut the real thing.
I’m pleased with the way it turned out. It looked lovely for the wedding and I got many compliments for selecting such a nice summer color. To dress it up for evening wear I chose bronze crystal jewelry, bronze sandals and a french twist hairstyle.
The fit in the back was perfect and the front flowed nicely. I was pleased I removed the darts both in front and back as I didn’t want those seams to detract from the solid lines of the dress. As a final flourish I added a jewelry detail (an earring really) in the center of the tucking that matched perfectly.
I used the wrong side of a polyester satin.
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