I LOVE getting dressed up for events, every bit as much as I love putting on sweats at the end of a long day. Christina Albeck, Wardrobe By Me designer, challenged a few of her recent pattern testers to use (and even hack) any of her three knit dresses to make them festive and inspiring for Holiday dressing. Our only guidelines were that we needed to use either the Mirri Wrap Dress, Wanda Wrap Dress, or Hannah V-neck Dress to make something beautiful and functional for holiday events- Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Years. Check out her facebook page (first link above) to see what the other talented ladies put together.
My inspiration for the outfit started with recent seasons from Dolce & Gabbana. Pinterest is full of their gorgeous runways, and here is a quick board of the looks that were my launching point. My personal requirements for the outfit were: full circle skirt, hourglass figure, expensive-looking but totally wearable. Ultimately, I wanted to feel beautiful, a little sexy, a little romantic, a little over-the-top even, without coming off as unapproachable or absurd. I also needed to pull it off in about 3 weeks or less.
First, I chose to make the Mirri Wrap dress, but just the bodice. I made this in August as a tester when the pattern was released and I really love the fit and ease of it- it’s beautiful, comfortable, and incredibly flattering. I already had the Ladies Skater Skirt from Pattern Emporium, and have even made a couple of variations in the last few months. I knew it was an easy pattern I could knock out quickly with the options I wanted. Lastly, I needed to add some over-the-top, and I picked up the Patsy Petticoat from Create Kids Couture. Honestly, I probably didn’t *need* this pattern- it’s easy enough to make a petticoat by sewing a few very long rectangles of fabric together in tiers and gathering like crazy. But every once in a while I’m lazy enough to let someone else do the math for me, and this pattern was worth picking up while it was on sale. I’m going to write up a separate post just for the petticoat because it lets me showcase my new sewing machine!
Next up was fabric- I have a ton of fabric, and I wanted to “shop” from my stash as much as possible. The fabric for the Mirri was easy to pick- I picked up some black sequined knit a few months ago from the remnants rack at Michael Levine’s in downtown LA and had just been waiting for the right opportunity to use it up. The skirt was a little harder. I don’t really make a ton of formal clothes, and when I do I tend to use knits more than wovens. But I dug through my satin and silk drawer (yes, I have a drawer full of satins and 100% silks) and came across this vibrant floral that had been languishing there for years. I still don’t know why I bought this fabric in the first place- I rarely wear florals, I never wear satin, and it really has no place in my stash. Nevertheless, here it was, totally perfect. I love that it’s BRIGHT, and the flowers are chartreuse and coral, nicely off-beat Christmas colors. The black graphics worked well with my sequin and make this fabric extra bold and appropriate for my D&G inspiration. I did need to go out and pick up fabric for the petticoat- it takes 3 yards of taffeta and that’s really not something I will ever keep on hand. I found some pretty but inexpensive taffeta in the Red Tag aisle at JoAnn’s and it worked perfectly. The shiny black in the picture on the right is going to become a Hannah mini dress- I was just trying to decide which black to use at this point.
Christina gave us full license to alter the patterns in any way that we wanted to, but for once I just left the pattern alone. I love it as is, and didn’t have any fit issues to correct during the tester round. If you want to personalize this pattern a bit I would love to see it converted to a crop top- this is super easy to do as there is a waist seam in the front and back- just add a band rather than the lower bodice/ skirt, and you have a beautifully fitted crop top. You can also fully adjust the front coverage for a very modest right-up-to-the-neck look, or tuck the fabric down into your cleavage for something a little more revealing. I made some minor mods to the circle skirt pattern- I intended to have the skirt sit close to my natural waist so that it hit right on the waist seam for the Mirri, but I cut the wrong size (totally my fault). It was way too big for that, and sat much closer to my hips. This messed with the proportions I was going for, so I added some elastic to the waistband to help bring it up some. There is minimal gathering in the waistband with this method, and that actually makes the skirt very practical for events where you might be doing a lot of sitting and/or eating. The pattern also includes instructions for a center-back zip, but I didn’t want to introduce another seamline in the center back, so I moved the zipper to a side seam. Because I also wanted pockets, that meant that the zipper actually is in between one of the pockets and the skirt side seam. This took some tricky thinking on my part, but I love how it turned out. The pockets are perfect, and the zipper is almost invisible. I should have added a button and buttonhole to the waistband to hold the skirt closed, but I used a sparkly brooch instead to add one final point of interest.
Now here’s a whole bunch of pictures to get you inspired! Yes, I totally put up Christmas decorations the day after Halloween just so I could get these pictures 🙂 I am so pleased with this look, and I can’t wait to wear it everywhere for the next couple of months.