Every year I love to make a fun holiday dress or two. This years gown was inspired by a 1940s sewing machine company sales ad from a machine I own. The ad implies you can make elegant and beautiful things that are as classy as Gershwin’s music. For me I needed beautiful yet simple and fast! Here is my version of this gown.

I spent a few hours studying parachute dresses and designs for one piece dresses online before I hit up the fabric store. Due to the explosion of cosplay we have so many more options in fashion fabrics that we did not have before. I almost chose purple, it was so hard to pick, but I was told the fabric I chose in the end is called liquid gold. I bought 3 yards of it.

I’ve been playing with draping lately. Knits being a forgiving fabric I felt this was an easy place to start. After a few sketches in a notebook I took my fabric and draped it over my form and cut a neckline. I also want the back of the neckline to be low cut.

\n\nOnce I cut out my neckline, I fold my fabric in half and make sure the neckline is centered and evenly cut. My next step was to cut out the arms and waistline. A good tip is to cut out the arms and waistline a bit larger because I then fold them in half and if they were cut uneven you are still safe and the project is not ruined.

Above is the dress folded in half and checked twice to make sure everything is right. I do a lot of my work on the floor. I call it yoga sewing.

Before I sew anything I put the garment back on the dress form and pin it how I think it should be. This dress is all one piece with only a small amount of wasted fabric. All of the elements of design that make it appear to be more pieces were done with pin tucking. I felt this took some of the bulk out of my design and gave it shape, clean lines and focal points. I used the scraps to make my own bias tape for the neckline and arm hole binding. The main construction was all done on my serger.

The parachute part was made with a simple right angle cut and stitched along the hemline. It gives it a beautiful drape and flow.

When I put the dress in my sewing room and the sunlight hit it was magical.\n\nBehind the scenes~\n\nHere are my best of 9 from 2016. It was hard to pick because there were so many awesome learning experiences.

Thank you for reading!

Tracy McElfresh
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