THE LITTLE BLACK DRESS

Was it Sophia Loren or Marilyn Monroe who said, "a dress should be tight enough to show you're a woman and loose enough to show you're a lady."? There is no doubt however that the little black dress is an absolute staple in every wardrobe, and yet this is my my first one!

I had made the bodice in September 2016 and then put it aside to take on other projects. The

bodice looked like a Batman or Catwoman costume so I finally added a gathered skirt, with pockets and some wide straps to add and enhance the femininity resulting in a classic Little Black Dress. I’m very happy with the end result.

Fabric

Finding a black fabric which looks good is so difficult. I find the colour can be a bit off, the fabric isn’t always soft but rather quite coarse and often doesn’t have a beautiful finish. I’m excited by plain, black clothes. I often ask myself when I’m shopping, ‘does it come in black?’. Colours are fun and bright but black is something I find very easy to wear and as Coco Chanel said, "it is the only colour which brings out the eyes." So I found this amazing polished cotton in my local fabric shop - The Emerald Fabric Boutique. It came in yellow, black and my favourite fuchsia pink (keep an eye for a skirt) with all being just $10 per metre! Absolute bargain for such a great find. Even if it cost more, I don’t think I could of walked out of the shop without purchasing some.

Pattern

I knew I wanted to do something with a V-neck. I really love V-neck with the way it draws the eye. I feel it makes the shoulders/decolletage broader and then draws the eye in, making the waist look slimmer. What a win-win! I also knew I wanted straps joined to the bodice rather than the bodice and straps all joined in the pattern as it is a style I find to be young and less formal. It shows more skin, making for fun open backs and again leaving the décolletage area open to hopefully broaden the appearance. I didn’t want a plunging neck or a deep V. I made the V to sit a bit higher up the chest and to be less exaggerated. I also read that it is more flattering for a v-neck to be slightly curved rather than just straight, because obviously our body is curved so it sits better.

I made the pattern with the same template I made from my gold vintage dress, which I also used for my tropical-printed linen dress, just varying the neckline. The skirt is gathered a bit more than twice my waist measurement. I just used a centre-back invisible zipper to easily step into the dress because I’d class it as worthy of a special occasion.

The side bust dart is again pointing to the heavens like a children’s telescope, so I really need to sort that out, although it doesn’t alter the shape, it just doesn't look aesthetically pleasing in the details. The back isn’t straight across but comes up in the centre, which also brought up the centre-back of the skirt so why not accentuate that detail by putting the straps in the V-shape meeting at that centre rising point. I actually really like the lift and I find I like to just go with the little peculiarities/mistakes and see what they can add to the garment.

I didn’t get the gathering quite evenly spread on the skirt, which I am annoyed about. I wish I’d spent more time making it perfect because it’s just too obvious in the black.

I also added inside pockets for the first time!! A dress with pockets is honestly the best kind of dress. They feel great, perfectly placed and strong enough to hold my phone. Now I regret never adding inside pockets to any of my other dresses.

Fit

Does this dress feel comfortable? Yes.

Would it feel comfortable after pasta, ice-cream and a couple glasses of wine? Well I can just undo the zipper a tad.

So yes it feels a little tight. I like tight clothes. Clothes which just fit, just hang off the body, like they hang on coat hangers. Clothes which are tight do the work and keep everything in place and that makes me feel comfortable and confident. It’s why I appreciate being able to make my own clothes, so I can make them to specific measurements. I can pull it all in and make my straight body look curved, even without a corset. I put this dress on and I don’t want to take it off. I think I can say that I just feel great. It’s a bit sophisticated but still very me. I know it’s a classic saying, "oh it’s so versatile" but it can look great with white sand shoes or suede pumps. A cool leather jacket or dainty cardigan can turn the outfit on its head. I’m excited to experiment a bit with it.

Overall, I’m not a fan of vintage or retro style. I do get some Grease vibes in this dress, but I feel with fresh make up and messy hair it can come into the 2017 era. Or perhaps, the Alexandra Vella 2017 era specifically. Probably not February New York Fashion Week.

The fabric is incredible and such a pleasure to sew with, I think the silhouette is so flattering and the fit feels good. It’s my first completed dress of 2017 so I think it’s off to a pretty good start.

I'd love to hear what you think if you'd like to leave a comment.

Cheers, Alexandra xx

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