For months, I was sure the sleeves on this top were called ‘kimono sleeves’ until I was corrected by a clerk in a local fabric store. “No,” she insisted. “Those are NOT kimono sleeves. Kimono sleeves are cut as part of the bodice. Those are definitely bell sleeves.”
Rumor has it that the Little White Dress has replaced the Little Black Dress for Spring. It’s a trend that’s been highlighted by both Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar magazines, and Nordstrom’s blog recently announced that we can wear white ANYWHERE.
Although I’m not usually tempted by trends, this was one I couldn’t resist. Why? Because I found the Perfect Fabric of course, a quilted knit in winter white, stitched with a diamond pattern.
You know how it goes. You see a fabric, you fall in love and, voila’! Things happen.
To make this casual dress, I made some modifications to a basic pattern from Vogue, 8840, a tunic top with dropped shoulders, a round neckline, and a front and back center seam. The center seams make shoulder adjustments easy for my pathetically narrow shoulders (sigh).
Because the fabric had a bit of stretch, I cut the pattern a size smaller than usual to account for the built-in ease of a knit. I also cut a border of six inches to attach to the hem to make the tunic dress length.
To achieve the bell shaped look of the sleeves, I added what is essentially a six inch border to the short sleeved version of the tunic, narrowing the border where it attaches to the sleeve, widening it at the bottom.
The knit had more stretch than expected so, I tailored the fit just a little by taking in the side seams by another 5/8 inch to keep the dress from resembling a large, white sack.
After trying it on, I decided the lines of the dress needed to show more, so I added a bit of contrast with strips of left over sweater knit, with a loose weave that unraveled when the edges were unfinished. So, I cut four 1 inch strips of that, and used it to trim the center seams, the pockets and the hem border. Then, I purposely frayed the edges of the sweater knit to give the dress a bit more of an edge, which it sorely needed.
I think I’ll wear this dress as it’s comfortable. Not only that but it works with a favorite pair of boots. As the weather improves, I’ll accessorize with sandals instead.
What about you? Do you believe the LWD is a look that’s here to stay? Do you like to use the raw edges of fabric when you create?