Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Oh My! Little Black Dress!!

In our recent Stonemountain and Daughter Blog, we talked about the classic stylings of a Little Black Dress. Most of us tend to think that the LBD is an evening wear look, but we love the dresses that can go both ways - day or evening. And that's exactly what we were thinking when we started this NewLook 6013. With such a classically simple pattern, it's all about fit and fabric!

Laurel made a muslin for this dress to ensure that the fit would be perfect - see our post Do your Homework - The Muslin. And last week we did a final fitting and made a few more adjustments.  This may seem like a lot of work, but the whole point of having a Little Black Dress is that you look and feel spectacular in it!

A final fitting also allows you to make some major adjustments. When I tried on the muslin initally, I thought that the length of the dress should be about four inches longer, so Laurel made that adjustment in the dress length in the pattern cutting phase.  But when we had our final fitting of my dress, I had to rethink the length and we ended up cutting it back off.

After adjusting the the front darts, it was time to finish off the dress - lacey zipper, hem, neck facing, etc.

What a great design choice to add the lace on the sleeves... 

Finishing a dress out of a woven fabric such as the Japanese print I chose is a lot different that the finishing of a knit dress. Most notably, there is a lot more hand sewing, if you want your garment to reflect the beauty and quality of the fabric. If you hate the notion of hand sewing, just remember that coutuiers rely heavily on a needle and thread to finish off their most prized gowns.

Whereas a knit dress might have a narrow machine sewn hem, a dress such as our LBD should have at least a 2" hem.  We serged the edge of the hemline first, but you could also use satin or lace hem tape. Laurel used an ordinary whip stitch to sew the hem, taking care not to create too large of a stitch that might show on the outside of the dress. Some dressmakers use a thimble for hand sewing, but Laurel does not - if it "pricks" her index finger ever so slightly, she can better gauge the size of each stitch. (As an aside, she did mention to me once in passing that she never made a wedding gown that she didn't bleed be careful with those sharp needles!)

Most woven dresses also have a finished facing at the neckline. It is important to tack down a facing wherever it might meet with a seam. Because this dress is not to be a sporty look, we did not use any top stitching details, which tend to make garment look more casual/informal.

Hand sewing can be the most relaxing part of your dressmaking experience.  Laurel says that she saves all her hand sewing - hem, sleeve hems  and facing tacks - and does them all at once. She said the hand sewing portion of this dress took about 35 minutes and a cup of coffee to complete.

I love the zipper on the back - so funky!

Thanks so much for reading! I hope you all take some time for yourself this month.

Remember to do the simple things that bring you pleasure, like sewing!

always creatively yours,
2518 Shattuck Ave. @ Dwight Way
Berkeley, CA 94704
M-F: 10 - 6:30 pm
Sat: 10 - 6 pm
Sun: 11 - 5:30 pm

Are you receiving our amazing email newsletter from Stonemountain & Daughter?
Great content and coupons every two weeks!
Sign up on our homepage of our website 


  1. Cute! I really like how it turned out, and the lace was a really nice, unexpected touch. Hoping to be in the store Saturday to get my Christmas gift sewing started!

  2. Thanks Meg! I like how it turned out also…so much that we did this same pattern with a cotton Ikat and it turned out fabulous too. It will be coming up in a blog soon! I will try to put this dress up for you to look at next week on a mannequin! Thanks for commenting, it means a lot to me :)