Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sew Weekly: Not Quite a Cocktail Lounge Dress

Good heavens, it's a red letter day! My Sew Weekly project is not only not late, but finished with several days to spare! Huzzah! Hip hip! Huzzah!

Ahem. Right. So this week's challenge was to create something appropriate for lounging around in, i.e. undergarments or sleepwear. Well, I don't really bother making things that no one is going to see (half the fun of sewing is other people commenting on your cute dresses), plus I already have enough free t-shirts to sleep in for the rest of my life. What's a sewintist* to do? Answer: take a nightgown pattern and try to turn it into a wearable garment. I started with a vintage pattern, Simplicity 5030 from 1972, which is actually meant for petite girls.
I made view 2, reasoning that it could pass for a sundress. View 1 looks awfully constricting at the neck for something that's meant to be comfy to sleep in.

Note that this is a petite size 6. My bust measurement (which is not that big to begin with) is bigger than the size 6 hip measurement. Wow. Also, I think the last time I had a 23" waist was in middle school.

I am not petite, but I figured that a nightgown would probably be pretty blouse-y and loose anyway. Well, I don't know what the folks at Simplicity had in mind, because I pretty much ended up with a muumuu for myself. I can't even imagine this on 12 year old me. I guess that's what happens when one tries to make sleepwear into actual wear. So yeah, I wasn't going to wear that out in public. Not that there's anything wrong with muumuus, but I want to make the most of my waist while I still have one.
Sad shapeless muumuu face.

I sewed up a quick belt with some extra wide bias binding (I seem to do that quite a bit, don't I?), but I made a quick bow with some hot glue and attached a hook and eyes to make it a little classier than my usual tie belt. 

Much, much better with the belt -- I would actually wear this.
I can pretend that this might have come from Modcloth. Except that then the hem would be about a foot higher.

The back has a big slit which attaches at the top with zippers, yay!

I have a waist!
Close-up of the buttons on the back.

Fabric: 2 yards of a beautiful, buttery, soft, drape-y poly-blend rayon from Joann's sale bin. It feels lovely, but was so slippery it was a pain to sew with. I'm glad I didn't use it for a more fitted dress, as trying to keep the grain straight was a nightmare.
Notions: I decided to embellish it up with red bias tape...mostly because I didn't want to have to think about pressing hems into this fabric. The tape also gave more structure to the yoke, which would have sagged down like crazy without that added stiffness. Also, two buttons on the back.
Hours: An embarrasingly large number, considering the simplicity (ha!) of the pattern. It's all because of my fabric choice and the bias tape, really. Probably about 6?
Techniques used: I don't know if you could call finishing edges with bias tape a technique.
Will you make this again? Heck no. Even if I made the muumuu work, I don't want another one.
Total cost: The fabric was somewhere around $8, a package of bias tape was $3, and the buttons were another $ $12 for a muumuu. Urgh.
Final thoughts: Not bad, for a nightgown pattern! Not great, either. But I can check off having used a vintage pattern, and gosh this is comfy to wear without the belt.

*Sewintist: new term for the modern seamstress, from the Sewaholic blog.


  1. way to pull off a make-it-work moment! i was confused when you were talking about measurements (ahem, numbers) and saying you weren't petite (because I guess I have no idea what that word means, then.) And then I was massively amused at the muumuu that resulted. But, dang girl! Bias-tape magic! That turned out cuh-yoot! It's like you just tried it on too early in the process. Props to you.

    Oh, and I think I found another old pattern I had set aside for you. I'll have to dig it up again next time I see you.

  2. I like your thinking of turning lounge-wear to something you can wear where ever. I think its a cute muumuu with the belt :P

  3. Dude this is sew cute! :D It does look like something you can get from modcloth. Love the red belt. And I love the first 'sad face' picture in contrast with the happy face picture with the final product.


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