Design Journey - A Silk Party Dress in Midnight Blue
Updated: Jul 17, 2019
I was chatting with a friend earlier this year about her rather disappointing shopping endeavour. A satin slip dress had caught her eye, so she went in-store to try it on. Her report to me was that it hung strangely and that it clung to every "lump and bump"... and not in a flattering way! Since this conversation I have actually had multiple, similar discussions with other friends who have wanted to jump onto this trend, only to discover that they also felt uncomfortable and exposed in the satin slip style.
It was with this knowledge that I went into designing and creating my own satin dress. I wanted to see if I could create a satin party dress that was elegant, minimalist and flattering. This little number is what I came up with:
I'd purchased a remnant of this luxurious, lightweight silk satin a while ago, so there really wasn't much for me to work with. It's funny though, I have often discovered over the years that the limitation is a blessing in disguise. It stretches me to think more creatively. From the outset I knew that I wanted a dramatic, low-cut back (I'd recently watched "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" and that yellow gown was a definite inspiration haha!), but to bring balance I made sure the front of the bodice provided a decent amount of coverage and that the skirt length finished just above the knee.
I think that the bias cut is often to blame for the dreaded "clingy-ness" found in many slip dresses, as it causes the fabric to hug the frame. I purposefully chose to keep my pattern pieces on the straight grain, providing a little bit more structure to this very flimsy fabric. The sloped seam that joins the bodice and skirt, accentuated the small of waist at the sides, while rising up at the front to just below the centre bust. This strategic seam was a game changer in multiple ways. Firstly, it caused the skirt to hang slightly away from the belly at the centre front, skimming over that natural curve. Secondly, it allowed me to bring some interest and detail to the design, making the gown look more like an party dress than a nightie. Lastly, this seam caused the bodice to billow slightly away from the bust, stopping it from hugging the body too much in that area.
While I was limited with my fabric quantity, I really wanted to fully line the dress in the same fabric. Thankfully, I had just enough! This was really essential in my opinion. The lining made the dress so much more comfortable to wear and also helped to prevent unwanted lumps and bumps, providing that much needed extra thickness.
The straps that run from the back of the halter neck to the waist were certainly intended to be an aesthetic feature, however, they also brought some extra stability to the low cut back, making the dress feel more secure.
Well there you have it! That is this party dress's creative journey. I really enjoyed setting myself this challenge and I was a bit chuffed with the result. I got the chance to christen this piece at a dear friend's 21st birthday party and I can report that it was very fun to wear! Some matte nude heels and a pair of dainty silver earrings finished the look nicely.
If you are interested in having a special piece designed and made just for you, please don't hesitate to reach out! I would love to hear from you.
Photography courtesy of Elizabeth Lamprecht @lizzyrosecreates