Front Row Fabulous Dress
Since I don’t have family in Stuttgart, I spent this Christmas working at my part-time job in a movie theater. Despite that, I had an excuse to make one holiday dress this year because we had a pre-Christmas party at work.
The top is a knit I bought on clearance when I was supposed to be buying Christmas presents. The skirt is stretch velvet repurposed from an old pair of yoga pants.
I planned to make separates – a sweater and a matching skirt. I like skirts to sit at my natural waist, but while cutting out the skirt pieces, it became clear that they were too short to reach from my waist to anywhere near my knees.
Instead, I attached the skirt to the bottom of the sweater, nixed the sleeves, and lined the top, giving me this flapper-style dress.
The dress turned out both chic and super comfortable. After all, it’s basically a loose tank top with a skirt attached.
Here’s a close up of the bodice fabric. It’s some synthetic that sticks to any rough skin on my fingers. The loose-weave knit has some nubbles for texture, a couple sequins, and plenty of gold paint.
Since the fabric is see-through and scratchy, I lined the top with thin jersey from my stash. I left the skirt unlined since it’s already thick enough.
Everything is overlocked together. I understitched the neckline, but I didn’t like how much it stretched, so I just tacked the lining around the armholes at the side and shoulder seams. The skirt hem is also overlocked, but I decided against turning it up because I didn’t want to affect the drape. Not a beautiful finish, but not noticeable when I’m wearing the dress.
The skirt fabric is thick, opaque stretch velvet. It has a matte texture, almost like cotton, but it’s actually 97% nylon and 3% spandex.
Here are the yoga pants I made the skirt from. I’ve had them since 2005, but stopped wearing them at least five years ago because they’re unflattering. Since then they’ve been in my stash – I knew I’d find a use for them.
I’ve drawn a diagram of how I cut them out of the pants pieces. I wanted the nap running up the skirt, the opposite direction that it was on the pants. This gives the velvet a darker, richer appearance. If the nap ran down the skirt, it would look more shiny. Whether you orient the nap running up or down is purely a matter of personal preference.
To make the wedge shapes, I measured my hips where I wanted the skirt to sit, then subtracted 2 inches since the fabric stretches. This equaled 34 inches for me.
Since I was making the skirt from 8 wedges, I divided this measurement by 8. Then I added a half inch for seam allowance. For me, this equals 4.75 inches. This measurement is the width of the top of the wedge.
I made the bottom of the wedges as wide as possible. This depended on where they were on the pants pieces, and was between 8.5 and 11.5 inches
The wedges were as long as I could make them – 15.75 inches. Since the yoga pants had inset pockets on the back, I could only place the pieces between the hem and the pocket opening.
As for the curve of the hem and waist, I approximated these, then smoothed out the curve once I’d sewn all the skirt pieces together.
I got lots of compliments on the dress at the party and my coworker Johnny took great pictures of me in our largest theater.
I hope you enjoyed your holidays. If not, take comfort in the fact that I was serving some of the most unfriendly customers I’ve ever run into. I was fully expecting people to be in the holiday spirit, but I think the people at the theater were all the misanthropes whose families had kicked them back out of the house for being unpleasant. Luckily, I got to spend three days after Christmas visiting my parents-in-law which completely redeemed the holidays.
Happy belated holidays – enjoy the last few days of 2014!
You are truly inspiring! Thanks.
Wow – I can’t believe that you could see a skirt crying to come out of those yoga pants!