Lil’ black dress

Self-draft dress

You may have spied this dress in my MMM update – I’ve worn it twice already in May so it’s definitely on course to becoming a wardrobe staple. Like some of my other recent self-drafts I think it hits that sweet spot between low-key but not boring, and hence extremely everyday-wearable.

Self-draft dress
Self-draft dress

It’s a self-draft from my block – a very simple one in fact. I just added a bit of waist ease to my princess seam bodice, slashed out the skirt to include gathers, and added side pockets. I wanted to incorporate a shoulder-to-waist princess seam so that I could trim it with this gorgeous woven ribbon that I bought in Paris last year and have been hoarding for exactly this purpose. I only bought a metre as it was quite expensive, and luckily that was just enough to trim the seams and cross the front waist – I used every last mm of it. Check out Minerva’s ribbon selection for some alternatives: these two are quite similar, or how about some cats?

Self-draft dress

To enhance the ribbon design I picked a complementary embroidery stitch on my machine to hem the sleeves. I really dig how the white stitching looks against the plain black fabric – memo to self to play more with built-in stitches sometime.

Self-draft dress

Furthering my button obsession, I put them all the way down the back. I thought it reflected the folksy kind of feel. Luckily I can actually get the dress on and off without having to undo any of them! Having worn it a bit I reckon I need to put a few extra buttons on the skirt portion as it doesn’t feel 100% secure.

Self-draft dress

This is my Minerva network project for this month, and I used their linen-look cotton fabric in black. I was intending to make trousers initially but I think the fabric is a touch too lightweight and not quite fully opaque. It makes a great dress though and was super to work with – crisp and non-fraying – and feels delicious to wear. The fabric comes in an enticing range of colours and at £4.99/m is a real bargain. Check out Amy’s vintage Vogue in the burgundy version. Yeah, I think I’ll be needing some of that colour next.

Self-draft dress

Yay for a non-boring little black dress that’ll see me through summer and beyond!

23 thoughts on “Lil’ black dress

  1. maddie

    I’m so glad you linked to your Paris shopping trip! I’m going in July and meeting up with Julie (Jolies Bobbines). I’m super excited to meet her and hopefully other sewers who will join. To prep, I’ve been reading about every city guide I can get my hands on.

  2. Heather

    This looks fab – and what a great way to use trims! I love the embroidery stitch hem on the sleeves too – it goes perfectly! You are killing me with these drafted from your block dresses! They are awesome!

  3. crab&bee

    I love the shape the ribbon detailing makes! I’ve developed a bit of a crush on square necklines, and your dress strikes a similar visual effect. I’m impressed with all of your bodice block experiments!

  4. Fiona

    I love what you’ve done with the ribbon and the embroidery Katie! Those little unique details really turn a simple dress into something special yet it’s still so wearable. You’re always so good at that!

  5. Meg

    This is so cute! I love the ribbon and buttons. It’s giving me some ideas for using this pretty hand-woven ribbon I bought in Vietnam.

  6. Kristi

    Definitely not boring! The button back is a nice detail. Love that it’s self drafted. I made blocks in a class for a size 4 dress form, gotta find the time to transfer the knowledge to making my own blocks.

  7. Laurie

    Hi Katie! This dress is so cool, and I love the button feature down the back. I was wondering what you normally use to line your dresses/skirts? I’m a tights lover, and normally I use an anti-static acetate lining but it feels very synthetic so I was wondering if there was any other fabric types you’ve used to line garments? Or if there are any fabric types you’ve found good that don’t need a lining even with tights?

    1. Katie Post author

      Hey Laurie. I don’t actually line my garments very often to be honest, especially skirts. I don’t make fitted skirts so I don’t find clinging to be much of a problem. I have heard good things about silk cotton, though it’s quite hard to find, or you could try a viscose – Minerva has a good range of plains.

  8. Angela

    Nice dress, I really love the idea of the embroidery sleeve hem, I might use it as inspiration some time. You make really funky and wearable clothes which I love and recently found some fabric with triangles to emulate your Deer & Doe Datura. Love your blog.

  9. Mel

    Hi there, nice dress! Love the look of the fabric. On a practical note, if you feel the buttons may gape, and you don’t need to open and close them, you could always tack the back opening shut (or at least up to within about 6″ of the neck). Enjoy your dress!

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