Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Issa/Kate Middleton-Inspired Dress, Simplicity 2580

S2580 Kate Middleton Dress Thumbnail

I don't have any real thoughts on the royal wedding, but I did love the dress Kate Middleton wore to announce her engagement. It is elegant but totally suitable for day, not flashy or sexy but not dowdy, and fit her very well. This Issa dress is listed on Net-a-Porter for $535--not an outrageous price for a silk jersey dress--but has been sold out since the engagement press conference. (As an aside, I am so happy to live a life wherein none of its details need be revealed at a press conference. Nobody cares what I do, and I like it that way.)

Issa | Long-sleeved silk-jersey dress | NET-A-PORTER.COM

Net-a-porter has several shots of the dress and allows you to zoom in for details, which is a great way to get a better look at the dress. It turns out that it has ties that can be configured different ways to get that drape overlay look, which I realized when the back view showed the ties knotted. You can see that they style the example differently than Kate wore it (though the model photo shows the ties overlapped as Kate did).

My goal for this project--my last project of 2010 (along with the previously shown ruffle shoulder top and a sleeveless cowl top in my TNT Simplicity 4539 in the rest of the fabric)--was to be "inspired" by the dress, rather than copy it. The original has a low V neckline, but I thought a cowl neckline would work to replicate the feel, while being a little more suitable for my day job needs. I had already made Simplicity 2580 as a top, and knew it would work for me. Furthermore, I don't care for ties that tie in the back, as it feels somewhat juvenile to me and can be uncomfortable when sitting at a desk. So I did attached bands rather than ties. Finally, it's in purple rather than the original sapphire (and observe my big sparkly cocktail ring!).

Band Pattern

My bands are basically two loops sewn into the side seams. The drape overlay pattern piece is 7.5 inches tall at the outer edge, 6 inches tall at the inner edge, and 28 inches wide (negative 2 inches of ease), inclusive of 1/2 inch allowances. I stitched the taller edge just below the sleeve seam (aka armpit)and kept the straight lower edge straight. My fabric--a Vera Wang polyester knit from Fabric.com, $5.99/yd, last December (I never put it away so it never technically became stash)--is lightweight and drapey but anything thicker will require a little more engineering, as one band must be tucked entirely under the other where they cross at one side seam. A better solution might be one band that loops all the way around the body and one band that covers only the front (sewn into both side seams). Or you could do ties, which would be easy!

Unglamorous Hanger View

Although this wears very well, you can see that the hanger view is quite unglamorous! To wear, you can either put it on with both bands hanging as shown in this shot and then pull the bands over your head (knits are wonderful). Or you can loop the bands over the dress before putting it on. I've done both ways, just depending on the position of the bands when I put it on! Once it's on, you have to futz with the bands a bit until they are arranged to your liking.

In addition to adding the bands, I also did a swayback adjustment and added width to the skirt pieces from the hip to the upper edge by just cutting straight up from the hip rather than curving in for the waist. I wanted to get the same flow that the original dress has. I gathered the extra fabric along the upper edge, concentrating the gathers near CF and CB. The seam and the gathers are hidden by the bands (though the back requires a bit of fussing to get the seam covered; it naturally wants to be about an inch below the seam) and you are left with just the nice sway.


Side

I also added long sleeves ending in a cuff. I just took the sleeve from another Simplicity knit top pattern, modified a bit to reduce sleevecap ease. I had actually intended the sleeves to be 3/4, but when it was done they were close to full length and I really liked it. I was able to eke some cuffs out of the very final scraps of this fabric (the rest of the scraps became ruffles on the ruffle shoulder tee--there was nothing left of this 3 yards of fabric) to get the right length. The cuffs ended up slightly different lengths, but I did not want to unpick serging and twin needle topstitching so I think they're going to stay that way!

Obviously, I am not the first to knock off this dress, but this gaggle of art students quite amused me. They each made their own version of the dress and wore the dresses--with matching engagement rings--to Buckingham Palace. The motivation is unclear, whether they wanted to be a tourist attraction or make some sort of trenchant criticism of royal fashion, who knows? My motivation was simply to have a pretty dress!

The first time I wore this dress to work (the first day it was warm enough to wear cowboy boots), a colleague with whom I work closely wore a gorgeous blue silk dress (much prettier than this, but a similar feel) that she said she'd bought *before* the engagement announcement but hadn't had a chance to wear before the hoopla. She had deemed it safe to bring out only that day. We often find ourselves accidentally coordinating, but it was ridiculous that we both wore our Kate Middleton dresses for the first time on the same day!

You can see that I have finally learned how to fuzzy crop in Gimp, using this tutorial, though obviously I need a little more practice (or a more uniform background for the fuzzy crop shots) as there is a lot of noise remaining. I enjoyed putting myself towering over Buckingham Palace.

All photos are here and the pattern review is here

40 comments:

Karin said...

This dress really suits you. The fit and the style are great and the colour is good too. I think it is a winner! It would not have brought Kate Middleton to mind for me, but then I don't think about the Royal family very often anyway :)

Amanda S. said...

It's a flattering dress on you in a great color. I like the cowl neckline and front bands. I often notice that my sewn stuff has no hanger appeal too.

fabriquefantastique said...

I love that dress on you (and on me I hope) IMO it suits you better than Kate.

montanachic said...

Really pretty,good job :)

Sewfast said...

Super gorgeous! Great job!!!

Little Hunting Creek said...

This dress looks great on you - I love the color with your hair. The fake ties are very clever but more work than real ties. Are you sure you are still slapdash?

Claudine said...

What a beautifully made dress! It is really flattering on you. But you surprise me with your influences. You are frankly the last person that I would expect to be wanting to dress like Kate Middleton. I'm not being negative. In fact, I am impressed that you are able to see the dress as something that you would like and not get all hung up about people thinking you are trying to be Kate. Which you are clearly not. Oh, never mind. Nice dress.

Beangirl. said...

This is great on you! Very nice.

I also find the term "gaggle of art students" completely amusing.

Lindsay T said...

Excellent job of morphing and amending to make it work. I really like this on you. Well done you, as the Brits would say.

Harriet said...

Very nice! I'm trying to figure out how the bands work. I see that you sewed them into the side seams and that they are loops, but how do they fasten? I think they look so much better than the ties on the inspiration dress. If you see this, could you explain a bit further? Thanks.

Clio said...

I like your version better. Then again, I'm a sucker for a cowl neck. Very smart.

Miriam said...

Very pretty! Nice job

Jean S said...

beautiful color & I'm always a sucker for cowls...

the "fasion flash mob" has me giggling, as does your comment about the "not putting it away, so it never became part of the stash."

KarenP said...

I love it! I like your version better than Kate's - it's more practical for every day life.

Adelaide B said...

The cowl is pretty cool. I like it better than the original neckline.

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

I like how you've modified it and made it your own! This is a great color on you too.

Lisette M said...

Beautiful dress. I admire your creativity, the mods you came up with added up to a very flattering dress.

Eugenia said...

Great job! You definitely look like a princess in this very stylish and elegant dress, you wouldn't look out of place at Buckingham Palace. It really suits you.

McVal said...

I like your version so much better! Besides, her's looks like it might need some Static Guard...

Melissa said...

What a pretty dress! I really like the cowl neck too.

Jenny said...

Pretty! I thought her dress was pretty but didn't really feel the need to make my own version. Yours is so beautiful, though... now I want one! :-)

Shannon said...

I love it! The dress is gorgeous and that color looks fabulous on you!

Faye Lewis said...

Its really cute. Love it with those cowboy boots.

Big in Japan said...

Good color on you and it looks chic and comfortable all at the same time.

gwensews said...

That's a lovely version of "the dress" of the year! The style is great on you, and so is the color.

Victoria said...

You look absolutely pretty in this dress. The style and color are so fun and flirty!

Pammie said...

I love this dress on you - now I see what Kate was missing - Cowboy boots!! Awesome dress and congrats on a fine result!

Jali said...

Kudos to you for making the Kate Middleton dress your own. Beautiful!

AllisonC said...

Really great dress on you - fabric, design, everything! It does look a little odd on the hanger but the band idea is brilliant!

MushyWear said...

Great dress! I love the color and the neckline. I know what you mean about ties in the back. For me, I find them extremely irritating when driving. The knot is always poking me as I lean against the back of my seat! I usually untie it, but then sometimes forget to tie it again it when I get out of my car.

meli88a said...

Gorgeous -- I haven't been paying attention to Kate Middleton, but she has good taste (as do you!) I was so taken by your dress, I didn't even notice that you were standing in front of Buckingham Palace...

urkye said...

Beautiful dress! :)

senaSews said...

Fantastic Dress! Love the color and style on you.

Noile said...

"I never put it away so it never technically became stash"

Heh, heh. I am now officially adopting this rule. Apparently, there is very little stash in my sewing room. Yay!

(Great job on the dress, by the way!)

badmomgoodmom said...

Love the dress. Yours is better than Kate's because clothes always look better on their creator. ;-)

Sigrid said...

Lovely, lovely dress. And what fun picture too in front of Buckingham palace.

a little sewing said...

I like your version (with cowboy boots!) better.

Bobbi Bullard said...

I love this dress and how you look in the dress! I love how you've adapted the Kate Middleton dress. It's quite inspiring.

SEWN said...

You know how I love a great drape neck. Great knockoff!

Goldenfool said...

Oooh! I love the waist band! Any thoughts on how to convince it to stay over the seam at the back full time?