The “Champagne” Dress

The Facts
Fabric: some sort of silk blend
Pattern: Burda 7696
Year: 2011?
Notions: zipper, buckle, hook & eye, bias binding
Time to complete: I don’t remember the initial sewing time, but to finish it took a few hours.
First worn: January 27th for photos
Wear again?: Once I drop 5-10 pounds

Total price: easily the most expensive fabric I’ve ever bought, but I don’t remember the amount

This is one of two UFOs I have. The other is a jacket I cut out maybe five years ago and then didn’t sew for fear it wouldn’t turn out and the sleeves would be too short (that was in my very early apparel sewing days). I didn’t choose that UFO, even though it matches my favorite made-by-me pants, because I wanted something quick.

This dress seemed to fit the bill. The only things I’d left undone were attaching the facing to the inside back of the dress and hemming the skirt. Why, you may ask, would you drop a project when all you had to do were those two tiny chores?

The reason for abandonment lies in the reason I was making the dress to begin with. I was making it last summer for my cousin’s wedding. I used a pattern for stretch knits because I liked the style, and I cut out a size bigger than I thought I’d need and made the seams smaller. It fit, but it was still very snug and I couldn’t envision spending a whole day in it. And what if it just decided to give and a seam split? That would be fairly embarrassing at what was obviously going to be a very expensive and classy wedding and reception.

So I went the safe route and wore something I’d already made and loved and knew was comfortable. I wish I could have worn this dress, though. I still haven’t lost the weight needed to fit into it comfortably, but maybe I will have by the time it’s warm enough to wear it. One can hope.

Once I started working on this UFO I realized I needed to bind the seams as well. For some bizarre reason, I started doing this by hand. I like handwork, but I could have cut time off this project by doing all of the seams by machine. After the back one, I switched to machine for the two sides and the front. Of course, if I had made this out of a knit fabric (which I plan on doing at some point) I wouldn’t have needed to finish any seams or put in a zipper (despite that the pattern calls for one, even for knits—weird).

I’m thinking I may be able to fit into this for Easter if I get my butt in gear or get a good corset. (Really, the biggest problem is the bust, and I’m not sure how much more I can do about that.) But since Easter is always pretty chilly, even when it happens in April, I’ll have to come up with a jacket or sweater of some sort to go with it. Here I’ve paired it with a lovely shawl my friend Valerie got me during her recent trip to Rome. This would actually work perfect for church done up with a brooch to keep it from slipping.

These photos, like those of the Down Under project, were taken in the Michigan State Capitol Building. Gorgeous, gorgeous setting.

Author

Erin Bartels

Erin is a copywriter by day, a novelist by night, and a wife, mother, dressmaker, quilter, zoo docent, painter, poet, and photographer in between. She only gets paid for the copywriting.

19 Comments

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  1. It’s a beautiful color on you, and you picked a great background to show it off! Nicely done all around.

  2. It’s so pretty! I personally think it looks perfect as is (sans corset).

  3. Hi Erin, beautiful photos and I love the buckle on the front of the dress, very elegant.

  4. Gorgeous! I love the fabric and the belted waist.

  5. Stunning photos. That champagne fabric and the style of the dress is lovely on you no matter what you say about your figure.

  6. Oooooh so pretty! Well done m’lady!

  7. You’re all so kind. The main problem with fit is the neckline, which is more obvious in the pictures I didn’t use for this post…for that very reason. :)

    It would work if I was a B cup.

  8. Wow, this is really lovely! Beautiful photos! (I didn’t go in our Capital building when I took photos there… I wonder now if it looks half as nice as yours.)

  9. from the photos, it looks like it fits well–but more importantly the color is wonderful for you! i hope you find a way to bring it into your closet rotations in a manner that makes you feel comfortable about wearing it–because it looks beautiful on you and deserves its day in the sun :-)

  10. It looks really good on you and I can’t tell there are fit issues.

  11. Very elegant in its simplicity. I love that in a pattern. The fabric is indeed lovely.

  12. A very pretty dress and your photos really set off your style and fabric choice. Nice work.

  13. I think its a really beautiful dress – the fabric and pattern are really flattering on you. I don’t think it LOOKS too small – but comfort really is the tell all – no fun wearing a dancing dress that you don’t feel like you can dance in!

  14. your photo settings are lovely, as is the dress -so elegant!

  15. Fab dress Erin and your photo setting at the Michigan State Capitol Building is just perfect.

  16. So amazing! It looks so elegant especially in that setting!

  17. OMG!!! I love your version! I made this dress over the summer (knit, no zip… why did it have a zip?), and haven’t seen any other versions floating out there. You look fantastic! The fit looks great in the waist! If you make it again in a woven, maybe just add a little room in the bust, possibly shaping with darts?

  18. This dress is STUNNING! I just adore it, and your photos are pretty fantastic!