Hot! oona does it: not so little black dress



so many of you challenged me to make a little black dress, i lost count.  hana, liza jane, kat, cathe… throw yo hands up in the air if you're in that posse…

you may recall, i've done solid black once before, but my la femme nikita debacle can't really count, as it was never worn in the real world and was recently dissected for parts.  holy hipster, batman!

it took the wedding of one of my dearest friends to get me to brave black again.   the bridal party would be noir, pulled from our closets to keep mula in our pockets. because everyone owns a little black dress, right?  

feh, i quietly said to myself, and only myself, as the bride and groom get what they want on their day, forever and ever amen.  off to paron's i went.  it had to be matte, so my visions of bumping it up with lace and sequins were dashed.  i chose a viscose rayon at $6 per yard.


either i lost weight from wedding stress, or the carefully selected bra meant for this dress and then left AT HOME  really did make all the difference.  ah, well.

my first thought was to make my campbell apartment dress.  i'd carefully copied all my adjustments and could get it done quickly, leaving me time to help the bride organize the wedding.  of course i didn't do that.  i chose an untested vintage pattern that i was sewing right up till the minute we walked out of the bridal suite for pictures. (i DID still happily help mademoiselle bride with all manner of weddingness.  hence the last minute stitchery.)

simplicity 4290 has multiple configurations for mother and daughter.  top and skirt! fabulous!  thought i.  more separates!  in between wedding fires, work, and cursing at the machine, i fit the top portion in the fashion fabric.  


and the the one aspect of the wedding that was supposed to be tranquil turned into a three ring circus.  six darts had to be adjusted nineteen times.  the reversed facing looked like holly hobby on crack.  the "matte" rayon mocked me with its slight sheen. hell, at this point the rayon was looking so boringly black to me, i wanted to scream. i pictured dancing with ruggy in what would surely look like a poorly darted sack. on an errand to pick up flower girl ribbon and chuppah hem tape, i bought 6 yards of slightly shiny black trim, and took a major sewing time out.

wedding planning continued, travel day arrived, and all i had was a top.  a last minute need from the groom almost had me at tj maxx, but ruggy refused to let me abandon the dress.  I LOVE THAT MAN.  in the end i was too proud of my triumph over pattern adjustments to cover the waist with a separate skirt, so i decided to make it a bonafide dress.  i sandwiched the yards of trim between two gathered panels attached at bodice bottom (mid hip line) and threw the thing on.

i looked ready to square dance at edward scissorhand's country hoedown.  IRON THE HELL OUT OF IT,  i barked at myself in the mirror, threw it in a suitcase, and raced out the door to catch the wedding train.  (without black thread, and the aforementioned bra.)


that weekend, i cut loose threads and hand stitched in my spare moments, which weren't many.  on the day, between cries of help for running mascara, flyaway hair, disappearing bustle buttons, and oh yeah, making the bride's bouquet, i stitched my last 27 inches of trim together to make the belt. with no time for careful finishing, i grabbed a pair of vintage clip on earrings to hide the seam. just clipped them right over the seam and added a stitch through the clip section for safety.  et voila, it's picture time.


you'll have to imagine this wrapped around my waist, sparkly clips at center back. hard to find a photo of my backside, as normal people tend to concentrate on the front.  all the shots are from another one of my dearest friends, who, like the bride and groom, i would do anything for.  

he says i always know where the camera is.





oonaballoona, from kalkatroona, first started visiting the sew weekly in 2011. since then she's made new clothes, new friends, and many many new drinks.


Comments are closed.

  1. This is FABULOUS! OMG. I can’t imagine working on this AND helping the bride out (though totally sounds like something I would do..hahahha). You look amazing. i absolutely love the fit of the bodice and the skirt! That last photo is hilarious too! Well done, my friend!

  2. Oona, you might not be a fan of black but black is in love with you. You look stunning.

  3. Oona, you look great in the little black dress. Yes, it is good to know where the camera is.

  4. It looks great on you! I totally love the tiered skirt!

  5. you are clearly a great great friend…and you look fabulous in black. what else do you need in life?

  6. So after all your fussing, you look great in black! It isn’t fair! I can’t wear black or prints without disappearing. It must be your fabulous hair.
    Anyways, I think I stressed myself out more just reading your post. Hairspray sewing is going to be HELL.

  7. Love the last photo! I think you look stunning in this black dress. Just pretend it’s red!!

  8. I adore it, my dear!! You look fabulous in this dress – despite all the issues it gave you. Love the skirt, and the neckline is crazy flattering. Way to make everyone else who has ever made a black dress look bad. ;)

  9. I know you prefer eye-popping colour (and who doesn’t) – but WOW the black looks elegant. Really great idea for bridesmaids to have a dress from the cupboard that they (hopefully)already love and fit, rather than being foisted with something that gets worn once.

  10. Okay, so now I’d like to see you make this dress your own. Oonafy it! But no taking it totally apart! Just adding to it. That’s my challenge.

  11. Awesome! It came out so sleek & wonderful in the end! :)

  12. Aww! I know this project must’ve been so hard on you, sweetie! It looks great, though, and the fit of the bodice is… well, yow! You don’t get fit like that from TJ Maxx, that’s for sure.
    I really don’t think the skirt is gathered enough for square dancing, but if you really must I’ll lend you my new crinoline! ;)

  13. You look amazing! What a fabulous Little Black Dress – I love it. Wish I could see a pic of your backside! hehehe!!

  14. Oona does it, AGAIN! All in one color. That dress is fabulous, I think I would have cracked under all that pressure. Fantastic job!

  15. I know that your fun prints show off your personality and you wear them well, but this dress took a step back and let your beautiful face be the star! Beautiful!

  16. it is beautiful! and you still managed to add some frill, lol!

  17. I love this, Oona! Definitely worth the struggle.

  18. Oona, I bow to your amazingness!

  19. Oona, its gorgeous. You look fabulous! But we want to see your bum!

  20. holly hobby on crack! Now, that’d be a party! The dress looks fantastic. Good on Ruggy for keeping you out of the ‘max:)

  21. thank you my fine fine friend! it really was supposed to be the relaxing part of it all. HA.

  22. what a loverly thing to say… ruggy agrees.

  23. it helps when making faces.

  24. thanks alessa! im so glad i made it a tiered skirt.

  25. well, let’s see. a mansion in the mountains, a cottage on the lake, and a boutique on main street. for starters.

  26. you gotta be kidding me. you’re stunning even in death mask.
    more wine, my friend, more wine! although i think hairspray sewing requires cocktails with umbrella accessories.

  27. well, i serged the inside with red thread thinking it would help. in the end it looks like a flamenco costume from the inside!

  28. thank you megalicious!

  29. yeah, i loved the idea too. i was the ONLY one who didn’t have a dress already!

  30. EEK! but, i should have mentioned… i love this dress. yet! i have an idea to oonafy it…

  31. oh my god, i seriously almost bought a crinoline for it. a hot pink one, i figured it would only show when twirling….you shouldve seen the skirt before ironing!

  32. your wish is my command…

  33. flattery will get you EVERYWHERE.

  34. i am royalty then, yes? oh, lovely. my first order is for you to make us a drink.

  35. ain’t he a good man? and holly hobby on crack; sounds like a job for shamus…

  36. With this evening’s post I’m drinking my friend’s home brew (“Dave’s Home Brew: Chill, Pour, Drink, Great Head Every Time”) – it has a base of agave nectar (little bit fancy=wedding) but it’s home brew so it has a little bit of punch (required to get me over the shock of seeing you in monochrome…again!!). It is freaking amazing beer. And that is one awesome dress! Well done you for overcoming all those hurdles, being an amazing friend and bridesmaid, cracking out another talent (floristry – seriously!), making your own dress and looking super hot in the process. Cheers to you and that amazing man of yours!

  37. Super cute…gotta have a black dress so that the colored ones POP more :) ! You are hilarious to as always!

  38. i think it is solely due to you that i’ve found a taste for beer. you have made the men in my life VERY happy.

  39. thanks roxanne! pop? you should seen the technicolor yardage i bought up to ease my troubled mind…

  40. :) i’m sure we will…looking forward to it

  41. I’m a bit behind on the internet, so I missed out on your second take on LBD. And I must say, what with all the trouble, it turned out very nice! Those six darts and that ruffled skirt save it from boredom, I think.
    And to reassure you, I don’t own a Little Black Dress either. I only own a Little Navy Dress. I suppose that does not count. Little Black Dress challenge is looming somewhere in my future, too. I’m perfectly sure I’d go for interesting seaming.