This is sort of a sad story, but it includes a pretty neat dress I just made. ;) So I mentioned briefly that I'm on my high school's alumni association board, and that we planned our first-ever event to take place between Christmas and New Year's. My high school is a tiny arts-based program in downtown Portland, and was a very enriching and mind-expanding place to go, but we don't have much school spirit--no sports teams, not enough people to hold reunions! But the school is old enough now that there are almost enough alums to invite to an annual event--we called it the "Alumni Homecoming" this year to celebrate the last year in the old building while they buy a new one.
Annnnyway, I'd been planning the event all last year, and also thinking about what I'd wear. I wanted to wear a very cool dress that I made, so I started planning. Nothing too bare or showy; can't look like I'm trying too hard! ;), but also has to be very pretty, of course. I designed a crossover wrap circle skirt with a high-low hem, loose and flowy, and figured I'd use an old standby Simplicity 2497 for the bodice--also simple and loose. Here are some inspirations for my vision...
I looked at that black Urban Outfitters dress pretty closely and decided that it could be even cooler if the high-low crossover skirt was also a circle skirt--a lot of fabric!, but very full and flowy. So I had some fun cutting that out. It's also gathered to the waist, which I gave elastic instead of a waistband and zipper, so there was a lot of room to move the gathers around and make the waist circumference approximate.
So I kinda just guessed where the overlap should be on the skirt, and it ended up being super short in the front--oops! So I took some coppery-gold-ey cotton/silk blend my mom had just used as a lining on a dress for herself, actually, and made a little circle skirt detached lining, which I basted to the skirt when I zig-zagged the elastic waistband on.
I gave the skirt a tiny rolled hem (that's a wiiiide skirt hem, phew...) and used bias strips to bind the neck and armholes, which is what the pattern calls for, I think--although I did line the bodice with self fabric and gave the outside layer some extra fullness in the front.
So, hey, dress done, right?? So why is this a sad story? I dunno, I didn't feel right about it... that pattern is not really the most flattering on someone like me, and the gathers are pretty awkward on the bodice sort of all around... I like it but if I want to use it yet again I really ought to draft my own bodice pieces that don't taper out--seriously, the bodice looks like a triangle getting wider at the waist. Lots of gathering at the waist band, if you give it one, and a little snug over the bust.
And of course I finished this like, days before the event, so I didn't have time to dissect it again and try to repair it. So after all that, it wasn't ready for its debut at my high school alumni event, but hopefully I'll wear it soon. It's pretty lightweight for winter, anyway.
I ended up wearing a super-stretchy $10.99 Ross dress that I picked up frantically, with a
black natural-waisted skirt over it, although I did get to rock my
ridiculously high wedges and some big jewelry. As seen in my Instagram the day before...
And I think it was the better choice. With a bunch of young art school kids (graduated between 1999 and 2012), there was a huuuge mix of outfit choices! I had no problem being among the dressiest, but the contrast top/skirt dress look was a little more playful than the elegant high/low skirt dress look.
So, uh, now where should I wear my non-high school reunion dress??