If you can get away with a Christmas party dress that’s both sparkly and comfortable – you’re on to an absolute winner, and I think my latest make for the Felicity Fabrics blog is just that!
The fabric I picked for this make is a beautiful black ponte roma stretch fabric with silver threads woven throughout it so it looks like teeny sparkly bits all over it. It has about 20% widthways stretch but is otherwise a very stable fabric. It washed wonderfully and ironed on a medium to cool setting with no problems.
The Heather dress is a pattern by Sew Over It (available in sizes 6-30), released a few years ago and is semi-fitted at the bust with more ease at the waist and hips. It has princess style seams at the front which merge cleverly into in seam pockets. It’s knee length with the option for full, elbow or cap length sleeves and the neckline is finished with binding.
I made the size 8 based on my measurements which was the same size as my previous version. I was happy with the amount of ease in the pattern that it would still be comfortable. The pattern pieces fitted nicely into 2 metres of this wide knit fabric with a little bit to spare. The instructions are great too, super clear and make sewing the slightly tricky front pockets nice and straightforward.
Once the pockets were sorted, it was fairly plain sailing sewing wise for the rest of the dress. The sleeves ease in nicely with no gathering needed. I had to shorten the neck binding piece slightly to get it to sit flatter to the neckline but am happy with how this turned out. I managed to get a reasonably neat finish despite not doing one of these for a while!
One thing I did differently to my last version was to use Maraflex thread instead of standard polyester thread. If you’ve not heard of this before it’s an elastic thread which has a small amount of stretch to it. It can be used as the top and bobbin thread and otherwise used like you would any other standard thread! So despite being a knit pattern I used a straight stitch to sew all my seams together, I just lengthened the stitch length slightly to 3mm and used a walking foot to keep the layers of fabric nice and even. I tested a couple of the seams after I’d sewn them and was surprised at how much give there was in the fabric! For knit garments that don’t need to stretch loads (like a neckline over your head for example) I’d really recommend trying this thread out – complete game changer!
I used a slightly larger hem at 5cm as the dress was ever so slightly too long for me, and this way I can always lengthen it in the future if I want to.
This fabric would also make a lovely fitted pencil skirt, or a cardigan like the Tilly and the Buttons Bertha!
Overall I’m very happy with my finished dress, it’s very comfortable and the sparkly details just give it a lovely festive edge without being too over the top. I can’t wait to wear this over the Christmas period and not worry about treating myself to one too many mince pies!