This is the type of top that I will live in for the next eight months. It’s super comfy, versatile, and smart enough to wear to work.
The fabric is a sandwashed crepe de chine silk by Liberty of London from The Fabric Store. It has the softest texture and prettiest print. I would sleep in this top if I thought it was appropriate.
The pattern I used is one I’ve used many times before. It’s a vintage pattern, McCalls 6429, originally designed as a raglan style dress. However, I’ve sewn it up as a jumpsuit and a dress. Last year, I refashioned the dress into a top and wore it nearly every day until it died. That’s why I decided to replicate it.
My only modifications (apart from cutting it as a top) was to add an extra 5/8″ to the width of the centre back and collar. I’m not sure this is the perfect “broad shoulder/back” adjustment, but I’d done it this way in the past for this pattern and it fits me well.
I’ve been wanting to make a shirt dress for a long time and this competition gave me the perfect opportunity to do so. I was also lucky that my first dress required a lot less fabric than anticipated. In the end, I had the perfect amount for both dresses, and not a thread to spare.
I used a vintage pattern (McCall’s 6429) which I’ve used before to make a silk playsuit. This time I followed the pattern almost to the tee. My only change was to adjust for my broad-back with a 5/8th inch wedge to the top CB (and of course adjust the collar to match this change). I also lengthened the bottom hem by about 13 inches.
The dress is of a raglan style with short cuffed sleeves and inseam pockets. The waist is pulled in with a self-fabric belt tie. The centre front is faced and most of the inside seams have been serged. I achieved smooth buttonholes on the silk CDC by using a lightweight fusible interfacing and tearaway Vilene between the facing and the fabric. I find lightweight interfacing on its own not enough to preventing buttonhole puckers in silk, and yet I didn’t want to go heavier with the interfacing as it would weigh down and affect the drape of my silk too much. The tearaway Vilene worked a treat. I imagine tissue paper could have worked too.
The biggest challenge with this dress was the sheer length of the pieces. I’m 5″10 and the dress is floor length on me. There isn’t a separate bodice and skirt. The bodice extends all the way to the bottom hem. That’s a good 60 inches of shifty silk that I had to line up and control for each seam. My cutting mat is pretty big, but not that big!
I’m so happy with this dress. It’s light and floaty, and it feels beautiful to wear. It’s also a very versatile addition to my wardrobe. I like it long right now, but I could potentially shorten it in the future to become an easier daytime staple. I have no problem wearing silk for school pick ups but I might need to do up an extra button ;-).
I originally wanted to make a dress out of the lovely silk twill you see in the photos (this exact dress and pant set in fact). Silk twill is actually very similar to CDC but ever so slightly heavier. It drapes and feels much the same, but is basically just less see-through in my opinion. And this makes it perfectly suited to a jumpsuit.
I know there are heaps of totally fabulous jumpsuits doing the rounds right now in blogland. I’ve also made a few myself in the past year (here and here).
My version is a mash up of two vintage patterns: McCall’s 6429 and Style 3304. I’ve used Style 3304 in the past (here and here), so I took the bottom half of this pattern and connected it with the top half of McCall’s 6429. The silk is Oscar de la Renta. I’m obviously partial to a bit of Oscar, since he features quite well in my stash. The top is fastened with two black glass buttons.
I also made a few other modifications:
- I shortened the crotch in the pants
- lengthened the bodice in the bodice portion
- lengthened the View B sleeves but kept them wide
- ditched the back seam and cut it on the fold instead (cheater broad back adjustment)
- adjusted the facing pieces to accommodate the back change
- I also added a thin waistband to create a casing for the elastic (but only because I didn’t lengthen the bodice enough in the first place!)
- Initially, I made the jumpsuit complete with the full collar you see on the pattern packet (instagram photo here) but it just didn’t look right when I tried it on. The look was too silk-pyjama-esque. I fixed this by unpicking the collar and leaving the facing intact. I toyed with creating a V-neck but I liked the little lapels better.
Anyway, to sum it up, I’m pretty happy with this make. It was a bit random and I’m not entirely sure how hubby will take it. I think I’m just going to have to book a date night and surprise him (or ply him with spirits if I have to). Because seriously, these pants are made for dancing!