Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Make The Best Of The Little Black Dress

This season, we here at Stonemountain & Daughter are focusing on making the perfect dress for everyday. Whether you're style is casual, utilitarian, funky or elegant, we want you to find the dress for every occasion. We'll keep you inspired with fresh pattern and fabric combinations and show you how to wear your dress day to night, casual to classy.

This week on the blog we're talking about the Little Black Dress. Since its introduction as the no-fail, perfect choice for everyday and dressy events, the Little Black Dress has become synonymous with style. Dress it up or down with accessories, you would live in it if you could. Its your power suit, date dress, weekend wear and just feel-pretty, go-to outfit. For some of us, wearing the color black is an every day occurrence, whereas others prefer bright colors, prints or other neutrals, but whenever any stylist is asked "what one item of clothing could you never live without?" the answer is inevitably the LBD (Little Black Dress).

There is no one dress for everyone, and because of this, it's important to find the right pattern and fabric to fit your style and needs. If you search for images of the LBD on the internet, you'll find a wide variety of silhouettes, sizes and materials; young and short, long and dowdy, tight, loose, dressy and casual. We are all so different, so why shouldn't our dresses be. That is why we sew, after all, to celebrate our differences!

Edith Head, Academy Award winning costumer designer of such films as To Catch A Thief and Sabrina, knows a thing or two about iconic style. She once said, "Your dresses should be tight enough to show you're a woman and loose enough to show you're a lady." When choosing your LBD pattern, consider what part of your body you wish to define or highlight. A LBD gives the illusion of a silhouette, use it to your advantage and you can create a slimming affect.
Patterns from left to right: E.S.P dress by Decades Everyday, 6013 by New Look, Nicola dress by Victory, Amelia dress by Green Bee, Bridgetown dress by Sew House Seven, V1425 by Vogue
The best way to look good in a LBD is fit - Fit! Fit! Fit! Fit! Hemline, waistline, neckline, sleeves; these may vary depending on fashion trends, but fit never goes out of style. We always recommend highlighting the waist, but the dress doesn't have to be tight. "Fitted" and "semi-fitted" can work to your advantage. No waist, no problem! Empire waist dresses, where the waist line is a little under the bust, work well to show you're a woman and a lady. Just try not to be right under the bust, that can give the "pregnant" look (of course if you are pregnant, its not a problem). If you prefer a less defined dress, belts are the perfect accessories to add the right illusion of a waist.

Here are the same patterns from above as line drawings (their basic shape and seam lines). You can imagine your LBD better without the fabric of the sample dress on a model clouding your judgement.

As Fabriclady covers in her recent blog, making a muslin or "mock up" is the best way to test and adjust fit. All the ladies here at Stonemountain make a muslin and adjust it before cutting into their fashion fabric. Just choose a cheap fabric of similar weight and drape of your final fashion fabric. Choose something fun, because who knows, if it fits perfect you can have two dresses!

Laurel and SuZan fitting their New Look 6013 muslin.

Next is fabric choice. Don't be afraid of black and don't be boring with black. Challenge yourself to make the black POP with contrasting colors or fabrics. Look for textures and woven patterns such as jacquards, eyelet, embroidered, burnout and cut-work. Try lining with a bright color that just *peaks* through.

Using contrasting fabric for certain pattern pieces like the sleeves or a front panel is another way to keep "boring" from your LBD vocabulary. See how the New Look 6013 dress looks as a solid black dress, in black Swiss dot with silk print sleeves or in black silk with printed silk sleeves? Classic or with personality!

Other dresses we recommend for the little black dress:

Patterns clockwise starting rom upper left: Flora, Perfect T #104 & Necklines and Sleeves #107, Moneta and Schoolhouse Tunic.
LBDs unite!
We love to see what our fabric turns into, so send in pictures of your own LBD or any dress you've made from a Stonemountain pattern or fabric. We share these pictures on our Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and more!


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  2. It would be a total waste if I buy something expensive and only wear it for a few times. So,after reading your article. I finally made my decision with a order