The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

The Little Black Dress – part MMXII….and on

Actually it’s not that many parts, it just seems like it cause you can NEVER get enough of the LBD – NEVER!!!

A while ago the V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum in London) had a wonderful exhibit on the LBD, and they have a great slideshow of some of the dresses included in the exhibit.

The V&A is an interesting museum.  It was established as a resource for craftsmen and artisans and has maintained that cause through the years.  A walk through the museum can give any artist more ideas than they can possibly manage in a lifetime – at least that was my experience (and I’m still drawing from information that’s available in the museum and on it’s rich website.)

Lately, the museum has fortunately been focusing on costume and clothing with several exhibits, one of them being the Little Black Dress, and done in the thorough fashion by the museum, they have assembled not only classic examples of the LBD, but modern takes on this classic style:

But even more fun is that the V&A Store has a few cuties for sale in connection with the show…. this one’s my favorite:

Isn’t this just fabulous!  I’d use Simplicity’s  2174….this collection of Amazing Fit patterns are really great.  I like this one cause of the neckline on that A View.Some changes I would make would be

  • to add a waistband or belt to the dress (all you have to do is trace the line on the bodice from the waist line to about 3″ above the waist – this piece should be curved and should be one whole piece from front to back.  If you have to separate it to make it fit, make a seam at the side seam.  You’ll have a zipper in back so that CB seam will be a fitting seam.  If you don’t want to do this, make a self belt with hooks on it to hook closed.
  • Next, is loose the pockets.  This is just an extra piece in there so all you have to do is lengthen the side piece and don’t do the pocket.
  • Of course keep the hem at mid-knee.  Everyone has a pretty part of their knee – EVERYONE.  That is the part that dips in just below the knee and you will want to hit your hem at that point.  Some of us can even go mid-knee.  Only go above that if you have young knees.  As we get older our skin on our knee sags a bit.  If you have the figure but your knees sag, wear hose – I know – a real taboo – but either make them black sheer or really really lightly tanned hose and very elegant ones….get the ones at the department store that have just a tinge of shimmer to them – not glitter or anything shiny, just a smidge.  These look really elegant – and do NOT wear open toe shoes with these hose.  You can get toeless hose that are nice for this look.
  • Keep the sleeve, either short or 3/4….3/4 is a little more elegant.
  • Change the neckline slightly (using version A)

Here are the changes in a picture

This is not that difficult, and in a beautiful cotton pique (Helen Enox has at least 3 I’ve had my hands on in the last 2 weeks), lined with a nice thin silky type lining, this is a dress that would go easily from work/professional to cocktail or dinner in a split second.

It’s easy to see why the LBD is such a staple in your closet….whether in a fabulously sultry wool/cashmere, gabardine, cotton pique, silk matka or dupioni – the LBD fits the bill every time.

And here’s the fun part for we sewists, we can have one in every fabric if we wanna!!!



Leave a Reply