The “Little Black Sheep” Dress


The Facts 
McCalls M5927 - Chanel DressFabric: Wool focus fabric and taffeta lining from Jo Ann's Fabric and Crafts ~$20 total (with coupon – yess!)
Pattern: McCall M5927
Year: c. 2009
Notions: Metal zipper – $6
Time to complete: 5
First worn: January 2011
Wear again? Yes. 

Total Cost: $26


Ahhh the Little Black Dress, or LBD, one of Coco Chanel's most enduring gifts to the world of fashion and the main object of my desire ever since I started to sew. Who doesn't look amazing in a simple black sheath? Answer: no one. Everybody looks good in a LBD.

 To kick off a year of sewing for myself, I decided to tackle that one elusive part of my wardrobe: the Little Black Dress.

Chanel dress - zipper detail I found a basic black wool suiting material and a bright green lining at my local Jo Ann's but wondered how I could make this classic dress more "me." Then I noticed the metal zippers – what a great way to add some interesting, hard-edged detail to a very simple dress! $26 and one 40% off coupon later, I was ready to tackle McCall M5927 with gusto!

The pattern was straightforward with easy pockets, front pleats and darts in the bust and back. The most difficult part was the fabric I chose: working with wool was new to me and can give you some issues with thickness occasionally (especially on pleats). Also, it picks up anything you get near it – thread, frayed lining edges, dog hair and donut crumbs show up on it big time. Keep you lint roller handy!

 When I finally tried the finished dress on it fit perfectly – a total first for me as a seamstress. I don't know about you, but usually I need to do some surgery to make something fit better, whether it's taking in the bust a bit or taking out the hips a bit more. Not with this pattern – I simply graded my top size to my bottom size (which are 3 sizes apart – pear shapes represent!) and it was good to go.

Overall I'm really pleased with the way this turned out – it's a perfect dress for a night out (with some bright tights or sexy shoes – rawr) or a business meeting (with boots and a cropped jacket). It's apparently even perfect for walking Tex the Pug in the "harsh" Texas winter. Yes I'm aware 60 degrees outside in January doesn't technically qualify as winter. 

Chanel dress - on dress form


Sarah Gabbart