Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Finished Project: The 'LBWD' - Little Black Work Dress.

Finally I have made something that is work appropriate!

So far, all the dresses I have made have all been either too short, too colorful, or too dressy for casual Friday.

I already have some cute RTW dresses to wear to work, and never thought I would make anything to wear to work, cos lets face it, why would I bother making a boring and dull dress to wear to work... but that was before I discovered Peter Pan collars!

I also said I would stop hacking up the M5845 pattern... but that was also before I discovered Peter Pan collars ;)

M5845 with mods to the bodice, self drafted gathered skirt.
Outside: Linen.
Collar: Cotton sateen.
Inside the dress: Lined with poplin (polyester/cotton blend).

Do you like?? I asked BF if I looked like a pilgrim, he replied and said "Maybe Amish"... LOL.

Remember that scene in Gossip Girl, when Jenny Humphrey is fitting a model at Eleanor Waldorf's, and she said "It looks like a pilgrim at a funeral" - I kept thinking that when I was making this, hehe.

Pattern: M5845 bodice with mods: added Peter Pan collars, raised the back to a high scoop, self drafted gathered skirt.
Size: Size 6 bodice, graded to size 8 waist.
Skirt info: 
  • Length 50cm (54.5cm with 3cm hem and 1.5cm SA)
  • Skirt width 1.2.m
  • I cut the 1 piece on the centre fold (60cm wide, from centre to selvege, length 54.5cm). 
Fabric: 1m linen (black), 1m poplin (lining) (black).
Notions: Invisible zipper (black) 24", Gutermann thread (000).

  • added Peter Pan collars to bodice,
  • mod to the back of bodice, raised back to a scoop back,
  • had to make mods to the back darts, I had a big gaping issue, had to extend the two back darts all the way to the top,
  • replaced skirt with full gathered skirt.
Time: About 7 hours, over 2 days. I know this pattern very well now.
TIPS for next time: 
  • Wash linen in starch first... omg linen creases so much... 
  • Make back either higher or lower because it is hard to reach the zipper.
New techniques learned: Nothing this time, can keep improving on the collars :D
Total $$ spent: under $30 (fabric, zipper), thread, pattern from my stash.

OMG I love this dress, hehe. I only needed 1 meter of fabric! One meter (1.09 yards). 

I have made this pattern so many times now, I could almost participate in Tilly and the Buttons OPOW Challenge! We will see...

Tomorrow I have my weekly sewing class, very much looking forward to sewing the sleeves on to my toile. I still haven't decided on the fabric yet. Or which view of the dress to make. I think I am leaning towards the view with the wiggle skirt and cummerband since I don't know how to make a cummerband.

Thank you so, so much for all the kind comments on my red dress, there is nothing greater than waking up in the morning with notifications of new comments :)


  1. OMG another M5845! Love it!! Funny, I was just thinking about putting a Peter Pan collar onto mine the other day! Yours looks fab and perfect for an's classy, not funereal Pilgrim. I realize I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but your insides! Actually, can you just assume that I said that every time I comment?

    1. Thanks Cindy, I started posting pics of the inside since the time I read one of your posts about people not often posting pics of the inside :)I guess now I take extra care cos I know I will have to show the inside on my blog, hehe.

  2. I love this! I hope you end up getting to wear it to an interview. :)

    1. I hope so too! By the way, how did you go with the bodice lining on your Mad Men dress?

  3. This is too cute! Good luck on the internal position! :-)

    1. Thanks Jen! Application closes this week, hopefully they let me know soon after xo

  4. I LOVE that dress! The peter pan collar is just divine!
    How on earth do you get time to make all these lovely dresses!


    1. Hey Carmen :) This dress is the most simple pattern I have worked with so far, that's why I love it so much hehe. Since I quit gym, I find I have a lot of spare time hehehehe...

  5. How lovely! I have an unfinished black M5845 lying around somewhere that I've been uninspired to finish, perhaps a collar might spruce it up a bit! Good luck on getting the interview, you'll look smashing! :)

    As I said previously, I love your detailed project descriptions, especially that you list the width of the skirt. I tend to always go for the super-full (2.5-3 metres) or super-slim skirts, but you're inspiring me to try some different widths!

    1. Hey Ella,
      My last gathered skirt was 2 panels of fabric, and it was fuller, looked awesome, but I thought I should make something less full for work.
      This width skirt worked out well because I only needed 1.09 yard of fabric :) so economical! I like to record all the details on my blog cos I find that when I read other ppls' blogs I wonder the same thing. Plus its a way for me to record all the measurements for when I make it again :)
      I love your caramel dress. I love the arm holes, how there's a slight "sleeve" to hide that underarm bit!

  6. You're so inspiring!!!....Lovely dress!!! and the collar adds a great dash of elegance!!!
    I love linen and I love that wrinkly look, hahha especially in my slacks:-) I haven't made anything with linen as yet, but I have a dress
    I"m planning on making for the summer.

    Keep up the good work, I also love your sewing space, my dining table is still my sewing space haha, but it's working for now.

    I hope you get the internal position:-)...Have a great day!!


  7. Aww thanks Risa, you are always so kind and encouraging :) Be prepared for more dresses with collars, hehe, I will probably get addicted to collars too!

  8. Its divine!!

    Your dress is a spot on classic! So feminine and pretty. Well done darling, it's a triumph. All these challenges that are about are a touch beyond me! I'm so slow!! Go for it! I'll join you next year!! I'm self teaching dressmaking as I moved to Ireland and the courses that were running go cancelled. I have however booked a week intensive course in October in the UK. just to push me forward. I want 2012 to bring me to intermediate dressmaker... That would make me v v v happy!

    Again, Congrats!!



  9. Hi! I love all your dresses! You are such an inspiration, I've been looking everywhere to 'how to make the peterpan collar', how did you make yours did you follow a tutorial or make it up?

    Sofia (could you please reply back on my blog, thanks) :)
    P.S. You have an Awesome blog :)


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