Christmas in July

Since I wasn’t blogging last Christmas, I wanted to share the first of my two Christmas dresses! This was made with stretch velvet from Cali Fabrics and the post below was originally published on the Cali Fabrics blog.

It’s always hard to find a good dress for the holidays. You want it to be stylish, but not too avant garde. Comfortable but not frumpy.

This year I took matters into my own hands and made the best holiday dress ever. Okay, so maybe it’s not the best ever but I still think it is pretty darn great.

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I used Vogue 9253 – a kimono sleeve dress with a deep V-neck. It has two options for length, maxi and midi. The pattern also features a tie sash.

This pattern has been on my wish list for a while, but I always thought of it as a summer pattern. However, a few weeks ago I got the idea in my head that I needed a maxi velvet dress and suddenly I realized this pattern just HAD to be made!

I chose this green stretch velvet. The fabric is wonderfully drapey and doesn’t wrinkle at all.

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There were a few modifications I made because the pattern is originally drafted for wovens and a few because I was working with velvet.

  1. I made a size smaller than I normally would. Usually I use 1-2 sizes smaller than my measurements put me for Big 4 patterns — for this dress, I made 2 sizes smaller but used a larger seam allowance.
  2. I cut the skirt pieces on the fold. As drafted, they have a seam down the front. I didn’t like the idea of more seams breaking up the velvet.
  3. I cut the back bodice on the fold.
  4. I eliminated the back zipper. Because this fabric is so stretchy and the v-neck so deep, the zipper wasn’t needed at all. This also helped cut down on the number of seams.
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  5. I didn’t hem anything. This one will be controversial I am sure! Since this is a party dress that will likely only get worn a few times and then dry-cleaned, I wasn’t worried about longevity. I was so worried about messing up the pile of the velvet that I didn’t want to risk hemming. I’ve been swanning about my apartment in this dress since I made it and there isn’t a fray or rolling hem in sight so I think I got away with it.
  6. I did have to raise the neckline a bit since I plan to wear this to a work holiday party! I sewed it as indicated and then hand stitched the front panels closed after I had tried the finished dress on and marked where I wanted the v-neck to end.

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I would highly recommend using the stretch velvet for all of your winter party sewing needs! It comes in a few other lovely colors — in fact, I’ve already picked it up in burgundyand will show you that project soon.

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