Black Dress

black dress collageIntroduction and Materials

I think I finished this dress, which I had been working on sporadically for about a year, back in February. I started out with a free PDF pattern from Crafterhours. I don’t remember what the black ponte de roma was made out of.


I used the pattern and followed its instructions to make a muslin out of muslin. (I should have used a knit fabric similar to the final fabric, but that’s what I had. I liked the way the muslin fit, though that did not transfer to the final dress.) I adjusted the muslin on my body and tried to transfer the changes to the pattern. Along with making those adjustments, I also split the bodice back in half. It had originally been one piece, where you lined the center up with the fold, but instead, I added a seam allowance and cut two pieces. That way, I could add a zipper in the back.

I also added pockets to the dress using this process. I made a second muslin using the adjusted pattern. Instead of inserting a zipper in the back, I sewed lines where the zipper would go and pinned the back opening, with help from my mother. I got confused while putting the fabric together and sewed one of the pockets inside out at this point. I made a mental note to put the pockets in properly for the actual dress.

I found that I did not have quite enough fabric to make the dress, even if I arranged the pattern pieces in the most economical manner. I only had one yard. So I made the skirt a few inches shorter (it ended up knee length when I had meant for it to end right below the knee). A tiny bit of a corner of the top of the bodice pattern was left hanging off the fabric, but I figured it was okay because it was a very small portion of the seam allowance.

I made the dress following the instructions that came with the pattern for the most part, adding in the pockets made of the same fabric. When sewing the back seam, I didn’t sew the bodice or the top part of the skirt in order to leave room for the invisible zipper. I didn’t realize that I would need to leave the neckline raw in order to fold the top over the zipper tape. I had already folded it over and hemmed it according to the pattern instructions. In order to add the zipper, I unpicked that part of the seam and re-sewed it afterwards.

Result and Reflections

black dress finishedI already said that there was a difference between the woven muslin fabric I used and the knit fabric I used to make the final dress. I think I actually would have liked the dress better in a woven fabric similar to the muslin, if I could get it to fit right. I tried on the dress, and the fit wasn’t perfect, but at that point I wanted to be done.

After I was almost finished with the dress, I realized that the wrong side of the fabric was on the outside. Which I’m confused about, because I thought it was a ponte de roma which is the same on both sides? The sides on my fabric look similar, but there is a slight difference. I don’t know. I finished making the dress because it’s not too noticeable.

I made my pockets just the right size, but when I placed them on the actual dress, I put them too low (I thought I had marked the spot correctly :./ ). The invisible zipper is the first one I’ve put in. As you may be able to see in the photo below, the zipper puckers on the fabric. I think it has something to do with the fabric being a knit, but I don’t know what I could do to avoid this.

black dress zipper backI have worn the dress twice. The fabric is kind of soft but it seems to pick up dust really easily. It’s not the nice dress I had imagined (I even got the invisible zipper!), and with the fitting issues, puckering zipper, and the fabric itself, it’s super casual. Worse than casual. There’s a pucker in the back.

When I fit the muslin, I didn’t have any technique to it. I just tried what I thought might work. I would like to learn about pattern making and fitting. I got some of the books that Maddie of Madalynne recommended. I am planning to spend more time on some of the technical posts on Madalynne. While I was making the dress, I noticed how the bodice front and bodice back wouldn’t line up around the neck hole and armholes. I would like to know how to make those fixes, as well as draft a well-fitting bodice sloper.


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