In late May I will be a “grooms maid” in an old friend’s wedding. He and his fiance are perfect for each other, especially in that they are both very thoughtful people. They decided that the wedding party dresses could be any black dress. Since I’ve bought my fair share of David’s Bridal “one-time wearables”, and then donated them, I think this is an extremely thoughtful move! No strapless, flouncy, or “bridesmaidsy” requirements! Plus, If you are a weekend sewist like me, a black dress will hide a lot of sewing sins! (Argh! Why didn’t I name this blog, “Sewing Sins?” What an amazing name!)
I looked for a pattern with a similar fit as some of my favorite RTW dresses and I finally settled on McCall’s M7313 flared, pull-over dress. Admittedly, I am not ready to face zippers. Instead, I am going to bank heavily on my black, neoprene “scuba” fabric and stretch lace to allow me to pull it on over my head. The pattern is really good for a knit beginner. There are only 4 simple pattern pieces and 6 pieces of fabric to put together the dress. If you want more shape you are going to have to add it. This should be a pretty easy-to-alter little pattern! My vision is a simple black lace overlay dress with the sleeves as sheer black lace only. I chose the D versions with a lower neckline and 3/4 sleeves. That should work for a May wedding in St. Louis!
First I cut out all of the pattern pieces, except the sleeves, in the black neoprene. Next I cut out the black lace from all 4 pattern pieces. Somewhere along the line I decided that the instead of attaching the lace overlay to the neoprene skirt I was going to let it hang down lower than the neoprene skirt and let it swing free from the waist. So I cut the black neoprene skirt in the shorter skirt length and then cut the lace about 3 inches longer. I really thought about adding pockets, you know how I love pockets, but with 2 separate skirts, that would be tricky. (My date will just have to hold my purse!)
Following directions, for now, I used a twin needle to attach the shoulders and the sides. I could have basted the lace on, but I just pinned it and it was fine. With four pieces of fabric, I did have to loosen the presser foot pressure quite a bit, but it has made all the difference in not stretching the lace at a faster pace than the neoprene. Also, neoprene is pretty thick, but really easy to work with! Now I have a sleeveless bodice.
At this point I realized that while I have made a shirt with sleeves, I have never actually sewed them independently of the bodice! Since the stretch lace has a lot of stretch I did not size up the sleeves. I would have had to do some adjusting if I made sleeves of out the neoprene! When I tried them on, the were really loose on my fore arms so I took them in a little. After I took this picture I shortened them by about an inch.
Now I have a swanky crop top! (I’m not sure this is what the bride and groom have in mind.) I wish the neckline were a bit higher. I just need to finish the bottom of the sleeves with some 1/4″ Wonder Tape. Then I will finish the skirt(s) and attach the top to the bottom. Ta-ta for now!