Friday, November 17, 2017

That Wardrobe Mainstay--The Little Black Dress.

Coco Chanel 
 This is the woman who made the Little Black Dress (aka LBD) famous as a great wardrobe addition beginning around 1926.  It can be dressed up or worn simply with little to no accessories.  Many designers have made skimpier versions through the years, but the most practical versions have been a modest dress design varying with the fashions over the years.
Black Chanel Style Dress
The above dress is a style flattering to most figures and would work well in the colder months.

There are many dress patterns that would work for this gem.  Chanel used a black jersey for her trademark dress.  However, with all the knits that are presently worn, it would be difficult to find one that has a good "hand"* for using it in a modest design.

*"hand":  The way the fabric feels when it is touched. Terms like softness, crispness, dryness, silkiness are all terms that describe the hand of the fabric. A good hand refers to shape retention without stiffness.

If you can wear black, by all means take advantage of this special dress.  Accessorizing it is almost limitless.
Actually, not everyone can wear black so the mainstay dress for your wardrobe could be navy blue, deep teal, dark green, dark brown or one of many colors in the darker tones that becomes you personally.  You would treat it just as the designers do the LBD.  If you are unable to wear a dress, try to make it a two piece dress --a top and matching skirt.

Remember that the less detail on the dress pattern makes it easier to sew, less tedious fitting, and greater for hiding figure differences.  Choose a simple shift, an A-line dress, a standard fitted bodice with slightly flared skirt, no collar, any pattern that you chose that looks great on you and is modest and becoming as for a woman professing and being a  living witness of what Christ has done for her and what He means to her.  Our desire should always be to glorify God and bring Him honor in our dress and demeanor.  We are women and we are certainly able to dress beautifully and femininely.  This can be done on a very modest budget as well.

Dress  Very simple and becoming.

The Jane Dress
There is a free pattern for a little black dress at this site. It is a style for women of balanced proportions with some waist definition.  I have not looked carefully at the pattern or instructions. I am just noting that this gal has graciously offered a free pattern for those who are ambitious.   I would  suggest adding sleeves and lengthening the skirt to make it more practical for the cooler months as well as more modest.

As for other patterns, the simple ones from the shift ideas in the previous posts would work wonderfully.  It is best to make a muslin before putting a lot of money and time into a dress that is going to be one of those classics that last for years.

There are a variety of pattern choices for the little black dress in the 3 major catalogs and there are quite a few independent designers that offer dress patterns.

The simple fitted bodice with waistline darts, short sleeves, no collar, gathered or pleated skirt is an easy pattern to use.  Mingo & Grace offer the Della which is on sale for $8.00.

The simpler the style the easier to accessorize with jewelry, scarves, sweaters, jackets, belts, etc..  

Another simple style is the Emily Dress. This site is for purchasing the dress. I would recommend making something similar to this with a longer hemline.

To their benefit, the dress should come about mid-calf as it looks very nice on them otherwise.

One more dress by an independent designer is the Emery dress by Christine Haynes.
These also would be more feminine with a hemline to mid-calf.

Here is an interesting dress probably best for spring and summer, but perhaps could be made with long sleeves for fall and winter.

This Day Dress may run a little tight in the bodice.  It has nice lines and pockets as well.  Just lengthen the hem and perhaps add long sleeves for winter.

This Rochester dress is a simple pattern with  elastic neckline and tie belt.  I am not sure it would work in a heavier fabric, perhaps the weight of pinwale corduroy would be acceptable. 

 Burda offers these patterns and just adjust necklines, sleeve and skirt lengths, fit and whatever else needs to be modified to make it a favorite in your wardrobe.

I do believe the princess lines that come from the shoulder are easier to fit in the bodice than the princess seams from mid- armscye.   The patterns that offer different cup sizes make that seam easier to fit better across the bust area.

Here, Vogue 8828, offers a dress that could be used for a basic LBD eliminating the tabs on the midriff, perhaps lengthening the sleeves, and lengthening the hem.  These dresses that are  slightly fitted at the waist may be more comfortable.

Another feature vogue offers  are 4 major figure types they rate their patterns by which are listed in little black geometrics close to the line art  usually on the pattern back.  So if you are not sure if the style would work well for you check out this feature.

The following Vogue offerings can be adapted to suit your needs.
This dress has a collar and if you prefer collars on your dress and perhaps a little looser in the waist, then this may be perfect for you.  Buttons could be added to close the opening.

The flare on the sleeves could be left off to make it more classic in style..

Vogue 9025-- flared skirts are graceful.

The neckline could be raised and hems lowered.

This one needs to be widened at the hemline for ease of walking.

McCalls has a few to offer.  Long sleeves and longer hems will make it better for winter.

Lengthen the hem and add long sleeves and it will be simple and elegant with accessories.

New Look patterns are less expensive unless you find the others on sale at JoAnn's, etc..  These that follow would work in dark solids for a LBD.

View A

View B adding hem length and making the sleeves same as dress fabric.

View C with lengthening the hem.

The issues would be the fitting in the bust area and raising the neckline and lengthening  the hemline.

View A looks wonderful!

Skirt choice, higher neckline, and bust-line fitting would have to be considered.

View A has a closed back with zipper.

Simplicity has a few patterns that can be adapted for the LBD.

And if you can't afford to buy a pattern, there are many free patterns that can be adapted by you for your personal style and design.  Here is a site for a Free Dress Pattern :

Garden Party Dress Pattern - FREE!  

It has longer sleeves for winter and the neckline is open and may need to be raise and filled in with a scarf.  
She also has graciously offered this pattern.