The Date Night Dress

9 Jan

So here it is — my big sewing accomplishment from the New Year’s holiday.  I am so pleased with how this make turned out.  I didn’t copy a particular RTW design but I do think it looks a lot like some Kate Spade dresses I have seen.  What do you think?


Necklace: Nine and Co.
Clutch: Cruise ship duty free shop
Shoes: Donald J Pliner

This dress is made from New Look 6457 and I used one of my NYC fabrics — a luscious silk Dupioni/Shantung with a white background, large grey and black paisleys, and scattered black and dark cobalt/navy sequins.


It is trimmed with black satin (self-made) piping at the princess seams, neckline, armholes, waistline, and hem.  I finished it with a handpicked lapped center back zipper and handstitched invisible hem (with grey lace hem tape).


My first lapped and handpicked zipper!

As far as alterations go, I used the bodice front pieces from Simplicity 2648 (see Peplum Top from last week) because I knew they already fit.  I lowered the front neckline 1.5″ and the back neckline 3″.  I took 0.5″ off the bodice length.


I added piping to the princess seams because I like the look, although this wasn’t called for in the pattern.  The pattern called for a gathered, Dirndl skirt, but I wanted something with a cleaner look, so I cut the pattern skirt pieces but converted the gathers to box pleats in the front and regular pleats in the back and lined them up with the princess seams.

I learned several new techniques while making this dress — how to make piping from scratch, how to insert a lapped zipper, how to handpick a zipper, how to insert a zipper guard, how to apply hem tape, how to insert a hook and eye, and how to insert a dress lining without any hand stitching (yay!).


I fully lined the dress, the bodice with a stretch satin because it feels so good slipping on and off, and the skirt with Bemberg rayon.  I hemmed the skirt lining by machine and frilled it up with grey lace hem tape to match the dress skirt.


I applied a zipper guard to keep the zipper from eating up the lining or dress fabric.


On the dress’ first outing, my husband and I went to one of our favorite “fancy” restaurants in town.  Toward the end of the meal my husband said a casual hello to another man as he was walking out and told me “that’s Larry the Cable Guy.”  I was like “Oh, okay, huh?”  After a moment of my husband explaining things to me and after we had paid our tab, we met “Larry,” who is really Dan, outside the restaurant, chatted for a few moments, then snapped a pic so I could show y’all that this dress also attracts celebrities 🙂




Here is a view of how I wore the dress for its second outing (to church and brunch), plus an action shot of me ironing some invisible fabric.  I topped it with a chunkier necklace (The Limited), RTW black ponte jacket with leather trim (Elie Tahari), and black suede tall boots (Stuart Weitzman).  And fresh hair and make-up.


So while there are a few things that are not perfect about my dress, I will not be pointing those things out to you and I dare you to spot them (well, I don’t really dare you, but you know what I mean).  I am so glad I have finally made something substantial I am proud of and will wear over and over again.


And because I promised a glimpse of what’s on my sewing table, Gertie’s shirtwaist dress, as a shirt with a peplum (are you tired of those yet?).  This is a wearable muslin and if it turns out, I will be making the dress next.  What’s on your sewing table?


20 Responses to “The Date Night Dress”

  1. Katie January 9, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    Gorgeous!! That fabric is amazing and the piping is a perfect accent. You did wonderful work. It looks perfect from here!!

    • Susie Homemaker, MD January 9, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

      Thanks, Katie! I was surprised how easy piping is to make so it definitely won’t be my last time using it as an accent. Love the jumper you made recently, by the way!

  2. denagrace January 9, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    I wish I could take the credit but you have so far surpassed me. Great job sweetie.

    • Susie Homemaker, MD January 9, 2013 at 4:52 pm #

      Thanks, Mom. You are still my inspiration. Maybe I could teach you now 😉
      Love you!!!

  3. Laura Guarisco January 9, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    oh wow, Katrina! that dress is AWESOME. I wish I could find a style that flatters my body shape as well as you have. A really great job.

    • Susie Homemaker, MD January 9, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

      Thanks, Laura! Finding the right style has definitely been a work in progress for me and sewing for myself is really helping. Maybe you should start a new hobby? 😉

  4. prttynpnk January 9, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

    Your dress is lovely! The piping really makes the print pop- gorgeous! You definitely look nicer than Larry.

    • Susie Homemaker, MD January 9, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

      Thank you, Anne! I still have a yard or two left of this silk and I am trying to decide what to do with it. Any suggestions?

  5. Barbara January 9, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    Wow! What a stunning dress. Looks like fabric from the NYC shopping trip!?! !? ! Love it !!

    • Susie Homemaker, MD January 9, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

      Thanks! Yes, it was from Ari’s shop. Are you going back this year?

  6. Lynn January 10, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

    Holy moly, that’s a fabulous dress! I especially love it with the Elie Tahari jacket (I’m so proud that I know who he is now from Project Runway!) and those boots. Man, a handpicked zipper, too – you rock! And is that your sister Katie who made a jumper? Will she be joining us at the next sewing class? Sounds like a party! Oh, and my leggings are still sitting on my sewing table waiting…

    • Susie Homemaker, MD January 10, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

      Thanks, Lynn 🙂

      No, that Katie is Katie Kadiddlehopper, another sewing blogger (and a very talented one at that). Check her out if you are not familiar. I wish I could talk my sister into learning how to sew!

      My Katie did try to get me to do a Pure Barre class Sunday — maybe I will be sewing up leggings, too, before you know it…

      • Lynn January 10, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

        Of course – this Katie is a pediatrician! She made jeans with EKG tracings on her pockets a couple of years ago. Now that I think about it, you guys have similar tastes.

        You TOTALLY need to go to Pure Barre – I just finished looking at all the pics on the Eastern Shore FB page, and I see my retired echo tech there! Now to go back and look for Katie…

  7. velosewer January 15, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

    Gorgeous dress. I love how you’ve put it together.

  8. Rachel Meyers January 28, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    Love it… Hip, hip Hoorah! That is a fabulous dress and looks so wonderful on you! Great job… I am inspired to try and learn to sew and although the details and workmanship you put into this dress are daunting to me, never having sewn clothes before, your blog is inspiring and makes me feel like maybe I can and maybe someday I will. Thank you!

    • Susie Homemaker, MD January 28, 2013 at 10:48 pm #

      Thank you, Rachel! Two or three years ago, I had never touched a sewing machine either, so you can definitely learn. Thank you for your sweet comment 🙂


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