I’ve recently made two fairly serious, involved projects which definitely count as sewing cake; aka classic and versatile garments that underpin an outfit. So it was definitely time for a quick and frivolous project. Even better, I had one already planned and waiting to go: a knockoff of a Christopher Kane dress in some sparkly doubleknit. By no stretch of the imagination could this dress be described as practical, classic, or versatile. But I love it.
The pattern is Vogue 8866 with a few adaptations to better match the inspiration dress. I doubled the height of the collar and added extensions to the sleeves with thumbholes. I also added small shoulder pads, all the better to get the 80s space opera look, and lengthened the skirt by a couple of inches. I don’t normally get on with just-below-the-knee skirts but it seems to work for this style.
I made a few changes to the construction. The collar on the original closes with a hook and eye. I was dubious about that staying closed, so I extended the collar to make an underlap and used four small snaps instead.
I sewed two different kinds of seam. Seams where I wanted a very flat effect, such as the centre front and back seams, were sewed on the regular sewing machine and pressed open. The rest were overlocked. The overlocked ones won’t press flat and so are slightly more visible; I deliberately overlocked the back yoke seam to gave a bit of interest to the back view. The original design has top-stitching but I doubt it would show up against the texture of the fabric so I haven’t bothered.
The fabric itself is great stuff. It’s very thick and elastic black doubleknit with a silver thread knitted in. I got it from the Birmingham Rag Market last year. Despite probably being entirely polyester and plastic it pressed quite well; by which I mean I didn’t manage to melt it despite cranking the iron up well above the ‘synthetic’ setting. The right side is somewhat scratchy so I used scraps of black cotton jersey as a neck facing and to line the sleeve extensions. This was partly why I made extensions rather than just lengthening the sleeves; the lining’s attached like the inside of a shirt cuff so it stays firmly in place. I top-stitched it in place around the thumbhole.
I couldn’t find a belt that resembled the one in the original look so I went for the shiniest one I own. It came from Karen Millen some years ago; long before I started sewing anyway. The shoes are Mel Toffee Apple wedges.
So does this dress have a place in my wardrobe? Or indeed anyone’s? I think President Servalan, an 80s scifi villainess and one of my style heroines, would definitely wear it. Of course she’d be carrying out some ridiculous plot to clone herself, take over the Galactic Federation, or steal a fortune in gold. I’ve been wearing it to laze around the house. I’d better get plotting.