Tuesday, February 18, 2020

My Sister's Elegant Pink Velvet Gown

Last night my little sister dressed up and went out with her home school co-op friends to have a formal dinner and see Swan Lake. She looked like a princess when she left the house for the evening. Her hair was done up, make-up was tastefully done, on her feet were sparkly high heels, and she wore her velvet Christmas dress with its matching floral velvet cape.

This pink velvet Christmas dress was of my sister's own design. I took her instructions and followed them.

About a year ago, I tested the Bloesem Dress pattern, by The Eli Monster, and made it up for my sister.

The Bloesem Dress is one of the most detailed knit dress patterns I've come across, and I was very impressed with it when I put it together for my sister during testing.

Pretty and comfortable, this dress quickly became one of my sister's favorites.

Thus, when it came time to discuss her Christmas dress, my sister requested it be made from this pattern - out of stretch velvet, and with a few minor alterations.

She wanted it floor-length and sleeveless. I tried to talk her out of this as it seemed impractical to me, but she was insistent so I followed her instructions - and the result is beautiful and elegant. Just the way she envisioned it.

I was at Joann's a few weeks before Christmas and found stretch velvet to be on sale, so I texted my sister and asked what color she wanted for her dress. There wasn't enough velvet left on the bolt of her first color choice, so I sent her pictures of all the options to choose from. After some back and forth, she decided on the pink velvet - but there was another fabric which caught her eye as well from the pictures I had sent.

She fell in love with a gold floral patterned stretch velvet - but she didn't want her whole dress to be made from it. No, she wanted her dress out of the pink, but asked if the gold could be used to make a a little cape to be worn with the dress. I said "maybe" and found myself buying both the pink velvet and one yard of the gold to take home to my sister.

So yes, the cape was happening.

For the little cape I used my go-to cape pattern - the Frozen one, McCall's 7000. I cut out just the shoulder cape portion of Anna's cloak, altering it to have a point at the back to match the pointed back waistline of the dress.

The cape is lined in a thin pink knit from my stash and the neckline is finished off with a binding rather than a collar.

The cape is finished off with a white frog closure, left over from my sister's last Christmas dress.

The cape was a quick and easy project - and the perfect finishing touch for this velvet Christmas outfit! 

As for the dress, I can't say it was a super quick make, thanks to the level of detail in this pattern, but it only took an evening or two to put together, so it wasn't too bad.

To make sure I cut the skirt panels the right length, I had my sister put on the blue dress I made her from this pattern and measured from the hem to the floor. I took note of the measurement and added that much to the bottom of all the skirt panels.

This made the skirt the perfect length! It goes all the way to the floor when worn with flats, and is slightly off the ground, to show off fabulous shoes, when worn with heals.

To make the dress sleeveless, I literally just left off the sleeves. The bodice is fully lined, so the arm holes were easily finished, no problem!

In hind sight, however, I probably should have raised the arm hole about half an inch, as it is almost too low for modesty as-is.

To finish off the sleeveless look, my sister requested the shoulder straps be gathered up, which I did by hand with several strands of strong thread, once the rest of the dress was done.

As a finishing touch, the neckline of the dress fastens with a fancy lone button, found in my stash. The button-loop is made from white elastic cord for easy fastening.

As a final embellishment, the bottom of the key-hole opening is ornamented with tiny faux pearl buttons, also found in my stash.

The finished dress is just what my sister wanted it to be!

She wore it proudly to our family Christmas gathering in December, and not being overly Christmasy, it was the ideal, amazingly comfortable, semi-formal dress for last night's dinner and ballet.

She tells me it was highly complimented at the event, so what more could a designer (her) and a personal seamstress (me) ask for?

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