Pattern Review is having its Knock-Off Contest, which is one I always enjoy so I wanted to get in on the action. I chose this Derek Lam dress as my inspiration. When I first looked at the Derek Lam, it appeared to be a match for Simplicity 2615. However, when I went back to look at it, I saw that it is actually a wrap dress (at least to the waist), though Saks erroneously described it as "V neck." Further, the neckline is created by bands and the dress is gathered into the bands. However, at that point I had already cut out the Simplicity Pattern and wasn't in the mood to do a complicated knockoff so I just stuck with what I had.
The pattern is designed with a center front seam, which is left unsewn to the neck opening. I don't much care for the look of a center front seam, so I cut the CF on the fold. I thread traced the centers front of the facing and the dress, then lined up the centers and sewed a V to create the front opening. It took me a couple of tries to get it perfectly placed, but in the end I am happy with the opening. The fabric is very lightweight and I did not interface the neck opening on the dress, which was a mistake. I had to retrofit some interfacing into the corners on the dress.
As with my 1946 dress, I used Beth of Sunny Gal Studios' clean finish technique for the facing. It involves sewing the interfacing to the facing, right sides together, along the outer edge. Then you flip the interfacing to the wrong side and fuse in place. This time I sewed the shoulder seams of the facing and interfacing separately. I trimmed the interfacing shoulder seam to within 1/8 inch of the seamline. It creates such a neat finish! If you have to have a facing (and I hate them for their floppy ways), this eases the pain a little.
This dress is truly a bust. I like the pockets, but that's about it. The combination of gray color, the pattern forming a horizontal stripe, and the unfitted style all add up to Prison Matron Chic.
I tried to add a little interest to the sleeves by adding epaulet tabs. The tabs have lace on them and I sewed a decorative button at the top (the tabs are permanently sewn on). But maybe the military reference just makes the prison matron look even more pronounced.
Dressing it up with a colorful obi and statement necklaces likewise fizzles.
I do not finish 100% of the projects I start, but UFOs are not a problem for me. In this case, I wish I could have been able to just call it on this project and throw it away. But I felt compelled to finish it and spent way too long futzing with it, trying to make it wearable. I'm not sure I will even wear it once. I think it will just go directly into the Goodwill pile. Alas. But now that it's done I can finally move on to something else!
I was really drawn to this pattern, but I'm not sure I will give it another try. I think it might be more suited to a top than a dress and in a crisper fabric than I used. But do I want to risk another cut of fabric on this? I'm not sure.
All photos are here and the pattern review is here