sewing, women

Coffee & Cocktails: One dress – Two ways

I had hoped to participate in The Day and Night Dress Challenge earlier this month where the goal was to make two dresses – one as a day look (coffee) and one as an evening look (cocktails). I decided I wanted to pull this off with just one pattern, and for that I settled on the Jalie Bella Fit & Flare dress*. And apologies in advance for the blurry shots… with the exception of the selfies, the rest were taken by my up-and-coming pro 6 year old photographer 😅. And also on my cell phone because my favorite lens has broken 😦 :(.

With a week or two to go before the end of the challenge, I was in NYC and stopped by Metro Textiles where I picked up some stretch lace and two different ITY’s – a solid (to go under the lace) and a print (for my second “day” dress). My initial plan for my lace dress was to have royal blue stretch lace with a royal blue solid underneath, but the store owner convinced me that to show off the lace, I should do a contrasting color. I was hesitant but went with his suggestion anyway. Thankfully, I think it works! Sadly though, I just couldn’t pull these dresses off in time to enter the challenge because I just had too many other projects vying for my attention!

Dress 1 – Coffee

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For this pattern, I made a size R and lengthened it to a size S. I started with the day dress version (printed ITY) before moving onto the night (lace/ITY) version. The day dress was super easy and straight forward and it fit perfectly without any adjustments! (I could have probably done a sway back adjustment but this is good enough for me 🙂 ).

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I ended up with plenty of printed knit leftover because I was able to place the pattern pieces in both lengthways directions (I used 2 1/4 yards and the guy gave me a little extra!). My girls will probably end up with dresses to match me very soon!

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Dress 2 – Cocktails

I was hesitant to do the lace version though because after I got it home, I realized the lace wasn’t as stretchy as it was supposed to be.  I also realized that since the hem was curved, I wouldn’t be able to use the lace border on it! Egads! So I googled that one and discovered this tutorial on Fabric.com for attaching a lace border to a curved hem. Voila!

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To construct the lace version I decided to baste the lace to the solid before assembling everything together. I wanted to do it this way so that the lace seams wouldn’t be visible from the outside (and I was too lazy to do bias binding or any other cleaner method!). To baste it, I actually used quilt basting spray (now my floor mat is all sticky though haha). I was really going back and forth between shortening the solid fabric so that the lace would have some sheerness at the hem, or doing it as I ultimately did it and keeping the solid behind the lace for the entire body. Had I sewn the lining separately, it would have been easier to make length adjustments to it.  I was also tempted to use the leotard neckline for the inside dress but laziness won the day and I kept it the same as the lace layer.

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One concern I do have with the lace version is that the lace is a bit fragile in the armpit area. I need to be careful with it because I think that fabric may rip in there (a lace with more lengthways stretch might be less prone to ripping).

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The lace version used a lot more fabric than the printed version. I had bought 3 yards of each but the lace had lengthways stretch (going with the border) and not much crossways stretch. As a result, I cut it on the crossways grain. The little bits leftover will work well for lingerie and accents in various tops though.

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If I have only one regret with this pattern, it’s that the dress has no pockets. I’m not sure if this will annoy me yet. I feel like the style doesn’t really work well with pockets BUT you can easily add them to the side seams if you really want them.

The Jalie Bella Fit & Flare dress is going to become my obsession pattern I think. I just love how it looks on me and, aside from being a little bit of a fabric hog, it’s actually a very quick and easy sew. I’ve already bought some more fabric – this time in a sparkly spandex swim knit from Mabel Madison – to make *another* one!! I’m super excited about it!

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