The Little Red Dress Project

Have yourself a merry little red dress

Today is the day! It has arrived and you are all so welcome. Thank you for joining me in this big reveal. I find that I tend to overhype things, so to casually err on the side of the anticlimactic, I’m just going to show you the dress.

Phwahaa! Please, I have a genetically transmitted flair for drama, the dress will be the LAST thing I reveal, although you could just scroll down – but don’t even try to be cheeky.

I joke, here it is:

Little red dress

The dress

When I see red, I think sexy, elegant and even eloquent. And my dress had to encompass all three. Tight-fitting for the sexy, a beautiful cape for the elegant and shocking red for the eloquent. And I think the combination of all three worked so well to bring about a dress that I am truly proud of.

I wore this dress to my work’s Christmas party and I was definitely so excited to flaunt it to the world. It’s a very Christmassy dress and worked amazingly well for the event.

Walking into a lift

The cape was the best part of the dress, it cascaded so well, especially when viewed from behind. I still can’t get over it. This picture of the back will forever be my favourite, I looked like such a badass walking into the lift being tailed by the “paparazzi” 😛

Scuba knit

I adore this dress! But I hated making it. It wasn’t fun. At all.

I have a healthy amount of faith in my abilities and so I chose to challenge myself and use a type of fabric that I’d never used before – knit.

Knit. Knit. Knit. How I hate thee knit. Working with a stretch fabric like neoprene was a dream, but this scuba knit just hated me! And I’m not even going to lie, it was my fault. My machine just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to sew such a fabric. I hadn’t made the right preparations and for that, my dress suffered. I eventually did buy stretch needles and my God did they make a difference. You never realise how a combination of the right needle, machine tension and thread can make such a huge difference!

Body of the dress

The fabric was everything I was looking for. It’s exactly what I had in my head when I was planning the dress. The right feel, the right weight, the right drapeabilty. It was perfect. The amount of stretch was also perfect. This scuba knit was THE ONE and unlike the elusive neoprene, it was actually so easy to come by.

I love the colour. I chose true red, because why not. There was potential for the colour to be too jarring but I love how it looks on me, absolutely stunning. I think if there’s a colour that complements my skin so well, it’s red.

The pattern

The dress was of course self-drafted. I’ve never worked with a non-Elewa pattern and so I like to use that to my advantage and create something ridiculously unique. The pattern was very easy to draft.  It only took me two hours to get the basic dress shape and the cape. I did do my research beforehand though because I was drafting a dartless block for a stretchy fabric.

I multiplied all my horizontal measurements by 0.9 to account for the stretch of the dress, that way it would form around my curves effortlessly, but those of you who want to stay on the safe side, 0.95 would be fine too, lest you make it too tight.

Bodycon dress

Finishing

I finished the hem of the main body of the dress badly. It was terrible. I tried to actually use a twin needle to allow for stretch and it just wasn’t working for me. I do have an overlocker that I do not know how to use but that’s a story for another post. The hem wasn’t great and now I have ripped stitches from where the fabric has stretched. I’m so annoyed because I actually don’t know what to do about it.

Hem

I’m usually quite good at apply facing to woven fabrics, but stretch is just such a foreign entity that I wonder if it should even be classified as a fabric. I think anger-inducer is the right combination of words for it. I now know that I shouldn’t have faced with the same fabric that the dress is made from. The fabric is pretty thick as it is, and facing with it really added bulk around the neckline. I literally had to stitch it down underneath the cape to prevent it from coming back up, and even with that, the back facing still didn’t lie flat.

Neckline

The cape was incidentally left unfinished because I was fortunate enough to be using a fabric that didn’t fray. The armhole, however, was finished using red bias tape. A bad move for stretch fabric once again.

Armhole binding

To be honest, I didn’t make very good decisions with this dress and that probably came down to my lack of knowledge in knits. Anyway, as I like to say; you live and you learn.

#TheLittleRedDressProject

Little red dress

I’m so glad I took part in the project. Many thanks to Renata from RunningNStyle for starting it. I find that projects like these really push me out of my comfort zone and I end up creating something that I would never have expected to be possible with my inexperienced hands.

The pictures!

The pictures always take my breath away and not because I’m in it – it’s the whole setting in general; the misty night sky, the illuminated Christmas tree in the background, the fiery dress; they all make for an amazing picture.

Quick appreciation to my boyfriend who took these amazing pictures. They wouldn’t have been possible without him!

The reveal on YouTube

 

As always, I would LOVE to know what you think so definitely leave a comment below. Perhaps you even have suggestions on working with knit! Let me knoooow! I definitely need them!

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30 Comments

    • Thank you so much Jana. Haha I really am glad the dress turned out ok despite everything 🙂
      Do you sew as well?

      • Yes, but I’m still a beginner. So unfortunately I can’t give you any tips about working with knit.

        • Haha that’s alright. I’m still somewhat of a beginner too. Good luck with your sewing journey! And I’d love to see anything you make in the future 🙂

  1. Love your work Doja, couldn’t agree more with this statement: “I eventually did buy stretch needles and my God did they make a difference. You never realise how a combination of the right needle, machine tension and thread can make such a huge difference!”. I always find people underestimate the importance of machine tension, hopefully some of your readers will manage to not fall into this trap! Merry xmas 🙂

    • Hi Ross! Thanks for your comment! It’s definitely very easy to forget that your machine can’t cope with everything you throw at it and you sometimes need to help it out a little. Needles seem like such a small part of a sewing machine but what they contribute is probably a lot more than anyone realises. I think at the end of the day, it’s more about hit and miss and seeing what works for your machine. If your machine is happy, you’re happy 🙂
      Have a great Christmas!

  2. Just beautiful Doja! I think you found your perfect red. The volume of the cape perfectly balances the slim silhouette of the dress. You have such great style! Aren’t stretch needles amazing? My machine laughs at ballpoint needles, but stretch needles sew perfectly every time. You can use bias to finish knits, but it’s better on a stable knit without much stretch like ponte. On anything stretchier, using a narrow zigzag will solve a lot of the tension problems (.5 width, 2.5-3 length). Because the fabric is stretching, it needs to have a stitch that has built in stretch, otherwise the stitches will pop and break under the tension of stretching. The nice thing about a zigzag with so narrow of a width is that it looks like a straight stitch. Of late, I’ve been blind-hemming knits, but a bit of fusible interfacing the width of the hem also really helps especially with thicker knits like scuba.

    • Hi Elizabeth! Thank you so so so much! I wouldn’t say I have great style haha but I do know how to come up with random designs!
      Yes stretch needles are life itself! I can’t believe how much it helped – I’ve always taken needles for granted, but not anymore! I’ll have to try the narrow zigzag stitch thing sometime. I’m so glad you commented, I’ve never seen these tips before anywhere, and I did my fair bit of research. Thanks so much! I really appreciate the advice.

      • I’m glad to help. I think I learned that one about the zigzag from Sandra Betzina. She’s big on the right kind of needle too. She has a book called Fabric Savvy that lists out about every kind of fabric imaginable and a good choice of needle and other sewing tips for it.

        • Thanks again! I’ll have to check out those books – anything to make me a better seamstress 🙂
          Have a merry Christmas Elizabeth and enjoy your new year! I’m looking forward to starting my dresses for the day & night challenge!!

  3. very nice work, the sewing is perfect keep it up. pls can u tell me how u cut the cape

  4. that is an AWESOME little red dress. And it is designed so that it looks great on you small figured ladies and would cover a multitude of no-no’s for the fuller figure. Great job Miss Doja. Keep up the great work.

    • Thank you Sandra and happy new year! So many people have mentioned that this dress would be great for the millions of body types out there and I definitely agree! Thanks so much for visiting!

  5. Nice work doja, keep it up. And Thanks for all your posts, sharing is indeed caring. God bless you.

    • Hi Mo,

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment! I really appreciate the kind words! God bless you too!

  6. What a gorgeous dress! I sewed my first knit for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I had problems with the twin knit needle and the hem. My fabric kept getting pulled into the feed dogs. I finally interfaced the knit, it’s a thick knit like scuba, and problem solved. I used a knit fusible interfacing that stretches with the knit: Pellon Easy-Knit EK130. I couldn’t believe how wonderful it sewed up and I was even able to use a decorative stitch as well. Hope you find your solution.

    • Thanks so much Rhonda! Twin needles are impossible to use! The two strands of threads get tangled together, which only adds to your already high frustration levels 😛
      That is such a great suggestion! I never knew knit interfacing existed! It’s amazing how much I learn from others. Thanks so much for this! I really appreciate it!! 🙂 I’m definitely checking out the Pellon Easy-Knit kit! Thanks for this!

    • You are so lovely for this! Thanks so much Rhonda. I’ve had a look at the links and the stabalizing thing they did to the hem! It made it look so clean! I’ll have to give that a try next time! I really appreciate this! Thank you!

  7. You are a very creative young lady! Love the concept of the cape–awesome as well for “older” ladies like myself.

    • It definitely is Elisa! Even my mum wants one. Thanks for your lovely compliment 🙂 I appreciate it!

  8. This is such a show stopper, you look just fab in this design. I love scuba and should use it more as it’s a truly forgiving fabric. Thanks so much for joining in on this Doja. Cyber *hugs*

    • Thanks a lot Miss Renata! It was an absolute pleasure! I still have a lot to learn about knit but I’ll have another go at it in the near future! I’m always here for any other sewing project you create! **Big hug**

  9. Hi Doja, got to know about your blog as I was browsing through tutorials on Youtube. I am a BEGINNER! 🙂 Started last year and being a working mom in a town that has limited sewing supplies and tools/equipment (stretch needles ? The seller would wonder what you are talking about) I operate a basic manual sewing machine (that is what is even used for teaching in most of the dressmaking schools here) but I have a motor that can be attached and make it an electric machine! Anyway with all the challenges and being a bit behind in technology I love your Youtube channel and blog for its simplicity. Elewa (understand) surely stands by its name. God bless you.

    • Hi Lilian! Thanks so much for reaching out to me. I’m so touched by your kindness! It’s great to know that you’re persevering with sewing and I really do hope you return to show me what you’ve created! I’d love to see! Take care and God bless you too! 😘

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