The Quintessential Little Black Dress

I’ll start right up front by sharing my biggest take away from this project:  you can’t fit a round boob into a pointy dart.  Thank goodness my mom hung on to a vintage-style bra that brought my middle-aged bust firmly back into the 70’s!  Hardy, har, har, you say? I sewed this dress three times in three different fabrics before we (me, Pati Palmer and Marta Alto, co-authors of Fit for Real People) finally figured this out.  My round, moulded bra made me fall short of filling my darts, resulting in the most miserable little puckers.  Enter vintage bra and voila, bust darts filled.  It didn’t hurt that Marta had an exquisite Armani wool in her stash, aged to perfection, ready to be sewn into this dress.  Giddy from the fabric and fit, the dressed sewed together in a jiffy after the fitting was accomplished.

This is McCall’s 7279 the Palmer/Pletsch basic fitting pattern that we use in the flagship  PP 4-day FIT workshops.  Students use the pattern as a body map if they don’t need or want to sew a very fitted waist-seam sheath dress.  I did my expected pattern alterations:  lengthen the bodice, full bust adjustment, add width at the waist.  In fabric I tweaked for my high left hip and sloping right shoulder.  If all this is Greek to you, hold your horses (or breath or whatever) for the NEW Palmer/Pletsch fitting guide.  It’s nearly done and will be out this Spring and is so  beee-ooo-tee-fulll and full of photos, art and fitting magnificence that it will change your sewing life forever-for the better, my friends.  I can hardly stand the wait.

I lined the dress with Ambiance rayon lining, fitting the lining as a separate dress and making it just a tad (1/8″ everywhere) larger than the dress.  I used a nude colored lining because I’d already cut in out for dress #1. Meh. Because of this, I sewed the kick-pleat closed, so peaky lining things can’t happen.  I lengthened the facing in the back to lay more flatly.

If you want to learn the art of pattern fitting without the labor of drafting your own patterns, join me for a class.  You know it’s true: if it doesn’t fit, you won’t wear it.

I feel like a real grown-up lady in this dress and at 56 years old, it’s about time!  Now accepting invitations to extremely fancy places, private clubs, inaugurations, interviews for high-paying jobs and the like.  Gotta run…off to charm school.

Hugs & stitches,