Fabricista Challenge Week 4: Little Black Dress

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The Little Black Dress Challenge


For this challenge, be creative and make a little black dress for your perfect night out. 
Create a story for us. Are you going out with your husband on a romantic date or a fun night out with the girls? Where will you be going? What will you be doing? Your dress should be able to tell your story. 
You will be judged on creativity, craftsmanship, how the dress tells your story, and fit.

(You can see all the other LBD's and vote for your favorite HERE)
**voting is closed, see who won here

I've owned one black dress in my life and I never even wore it.  A black dress in my closet is something I'm always going to look over.  I like the idea of a black dress but I'm always going to pick a print over a solid.  A black dress to me just seems so somber, like I only wanna wear black when I'm having a bad day, ya hear what I'm saying?  So for this challenge I wanted to create a black dress that would be the first thing I go for the next time I'm going out all fancy like.   A little black dress but better.  My wants were a fun, flirty skirt with contrasting panels.  After searching aimlessly for a pattern I somehow wandered onto Etsy and found Lekala patterns.  What sold me originally was it was exactly what I wanted plus it was only $2.49.  But what got me in the end is you send them your measurement and they cut the pattern to size.  How perfect is this? No alterations...maybe...hopefully...wishing here!  I searched and searched for this specific pattern and couldn't find any reviews of it.  I only found mixed reviews on other Lekala patterns on Sewing Pattern Review.  But at only $2.49 I decided to take a gamble and spend my breakfast burrito money.  I didn't need that burrito anyway.

This pattern is a pdf download and has quite a few pattern pieces.  11 to be exact.  I thought it was odd the back bodice piece was the whole piece and just not the side to be cut on the fold.  The 6 contrast strips were the same way.  Seems they could save a lot of paper this way if those pieces were printed to be cut on the fold.  I made it easier on myself and cut those pieces on the fold.  I even cut the front bodice on the fold because I didn't want a seam running down the middle of my chest.  There are no yardage requirements on this pattern.  I cut all my main pieces out of 2 yards of fabric (with some to spare) and my contrast pieces from 1/2 yard of fabric. Also note, no seam allowances.

I'm pretty pleased with the way the dress turned out.  It looks pretty much like the model pic but it took me some time to get there.  It was a major bummer that it didn't fit right off the bat considering it was supposedly cut to my size.  I had to do some major taking in.  My muslin looked like a gigantic potato sack.  Alterations made:  Waist darts were extended by an inch.  Side seams were taken in a total of 2 inches on each side starting at the bust and back shoulder darts were added to better conform to my back because of my slouchy posture. 


If I didn't have to deal with all the fitting issues I would of had this dress done in one day.  Another set back was the combined facings.  By combined I mean the neckline and armhole facing is all combined into one facing.  This technique can be a little tricky and one I'm not familiar with.  I had to refer to a tutorial because the instructions were not doing it for me.  However I love the combined facing. There are no stitch lines showing around the armholes or neckline because of this.
I would not recommend this pattern to a beginner.  The instructions are lacking and it helps to know what you are doing beforehand.  Another one pager with no illustrations.  Would I buy another Lekala pattern you ask?  No. Not what I expected or hoped for.  I get a better fit out of the envelope with the Big Four.


My fabric is a cotton sateen from Mood and a sheer white cotton with a floral imprint.  I decided to back the white with a black lining to bring out the floral imprint.  I was worried at first because my skirt ballooned out like I had air blowing up it.  My husband was calling it the Marilyn Monroe dress.  After I washed and used fabric softener in the wash AND the dryer it relaxed quite a bit.   


Another thing to note this dress is a little on the short side.  I wish I would of added a couple inches to the hem.  I was only able to fold the hem 1/4 inch and finish with seam tape.  I wanted to keep as much of the length as I could.

For this challenge we are also supposed to tell a story.  Where am I going in my LBD?  Hmmm I don't get out much so excuse me as my imagination runs wild.  I imagine a night out with my husband to a fancy schmancy restaurant.  While waiting for a table at the bar I will order one of those drinks with the olive...Martini right?  (don't worry I will educate myself before we go).  After stuffing myself with veal scaloppine piccata and creme brulee (ooh sounds fancy right? I totally googled it) and one too many martini's we decide to throw caution to the wind and get really crazy and visit the bar next door for some dancing and karaoke.  After a rather embarrassing rendition of "Pour Some Sugar on Me" we decide to call it a night.  All in all the night was a success!  I manged to not bust a seam and made it in and out of this beast without falling on my face.


Vito calls it a success only if it involves a doggy bag...veal, chicken..he's not picky.


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  1. This dress is so cute. Great fit!

  2. it's a shame that the made-to-measure pattern didn't fit without all those alterations (why do they include so much ease in a fitted bodice?!), but it turned out beautiful in the end!

  3. yes I really love how it turned out. All that work was worth it!

  4. aw man, i have a list of lekala patterns i wanted to try out. the blog posts and forums i've read (though few and far between) had rated the patterns positively, but reading your post now makes me skeptical about them. i still might try one out - maybe some patterns fit better than others.

  5. Could be just this particular pattern. I couldn't find any reviews on this one but I did see quite a few of their other patterns with good reviews on spr.com. Also a few that had fit issues like me. At only $2.49 I definitely would give one a try. It may work for you!

  6. Voted! Really like the dress, so elegant. I'm also not usually into little black dresses, but I'd make an exception for this one :)

  7. Wow great dress and great photo shoot! I have never heard of Lekala patterns, but I'm going to go check them out now!

  8. I really really like the black and white together on this dress. Bummer that the pattern wasn't super amazing, but now that you have the fit down I hope that you make other versions of this. It's so cute!

  9. Shanni, I LOVE this dress... I love black and white and this dress looks smart and stylish! Did you make the belt too or was it a purchased one? ~Laurie

  10. You completely rock this dress! I love the pattern on the white. I'm off to check out Lekala patterns - I've not come across them before.

  11. Ohh! I love how you have broken up the black with the white contrast- super lovely!

  12. Pretty! Well done working through your issues with the pattern for a great result!You make it look easy :)

  13. Love your LBD!

  14. Love this LBD! The belt is awesome. Very nice make!

  15. Really cute. The white fabric was a really inspired choice.

  16. I love your LBD, it looks fantastic! Great idea to use black to show off the pattern in the white fabric.

  17. I love this. It's sexy but sassy! Nice work honey :)

  18. This is so very cute!!!!

  19. Congratulations on winning, Shanni!