Help: looking for a perfect party dress ideas!

There is nothing more annoying than opening my wardrobe and discovering that I own zero fancy dresses that I made myself! The situation is rather critical because I am attending a wedding in June! Taking into account how slowly I sew, I’d call this an orange sewing alert!

The idea of sewing a party dress by myself is latent and dated. When I attended my first couture sewing class with Susan Khalje in Baltimore, I started sewing a fancy dress, however I never finished working on it. Being one of my few UFOs (“unfinished objects” for those who are wondering), I can’t force myself to finish it. Another reason why I want to make a party dress is that I’d love to be able to apply all the intricate stitches and techniques that I’ve learnt so far. Of course, I do use some of the couture techniques when sewing casual garments, but working on a formal dress would require more meticulous planning and use of elaborate skills. So I could put into practice good old sewing techniques as well as learn something new.

As for the ideal party dress, I’d like it to be a statement piece, but, at the same time, wearable in the sense of feeling comfortable. I’d love to be able to move freely in a dress. Instead of just bluntly selecting a pattern and then sharing with you the end result, I’d like to ask your opinion to help me choose the pattern. Pretty, pretty please!
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If you are not new to sewing and have been reading sewing blogs for a while, you have probably seen this beautiful strapless Burda Style dress. Made by many talented seamstresses from all possible fabrics, this dress is at top of my list. It drew my attention for two reasons. I like that the dress is fitted, strapless and glorifies women’s body. Secondly, the pattern is begging to apply fancy sewing techniques: boning, waist-stay (and other stays), hand picked zipper not to mention fancy fabric that I can use for this project (lace, silks, brocade, you name it!).

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This panelled dress, designed by my favourite Ralph Pink, offers all the comfort in the world! In this dress I could move without feeling restricted. While the strapless dress is fitted and sexy, I’d probably feel uncomfortable at moments. As for this pattern, it covers my shoulders (so there is no risk that the dress would slip down!),an d it features an interesting plunging neckline, suitable for fancy occasions. Every girl wants to show some skin when she’s out, doesn’t she? :)

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A classic silhouette is always a trend. I’d always find an occasion to wear the Paris dress by Style Arc after the wedding! I exceptionally like the front darts!

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I set eyes on yet another panelled dress from Burda Style. This dress has something futuristic and architectural about it. Made from a plain or contrasting fabric, from woven or stretch, it offers endless possibilities, don’t you think?

Now, I’d like to ask what do you think about these dresses? Which one deserves five months of my attention? Would you trade some comfort for pretty design? Or would you rather ensure you are safe in a garment you make?

Comments

  1. Hmmm tough choice, but exciting! I can imagine you looking amazing in the strapless dress, but if it were me, I would choose something more comfortable. I really like the shape of the Ralph Pink pattern, especially the sleeves. But like you I'm intrigued by those front darts on the StyleArc pattern. The only thing about the StyleArc dress is that it's quite modest and covered up. I guess it depends on how you want to feel in your dress. Can't wait to see what you choose, sorry I couldn't be more helpful!

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  2. They're all gorgeous in their own way. I love the style arc dress, if I was choosing for me.... But I don't know that there is 6 months of work in it! The Ralph pink is great but I would need to see it on a body to really know if I like the neckline. I'm thinking the strapless burda - but you want comfort, and there's nothing worse than constantly hitching up a strapless dress (actually there is - seeing someone pop out the top of one at a wedding - the horror!). I don't think I've been any help to you at all!

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  3. Ohh, difficult! I like the strapless dress but I would personally feel uncomfortable in it. However, I recently made a similar dress (not blogged yet) that was a mashup of two burda patterns and looks similar to this with the exception of a sort of chiffon/lace part for the shoulders. If you could alter the dress to incorporate that, it would be super sexy and elegant, yet safe and comfortable. My second favourite is the Ralph pink dress. I imagine it in two colors (maybe one with a lace overlay) with some elastane to the fabric. The third one is more conservative and not so exciting although the sleeves are cool - maybe as a day dress. I'll try find the burda dress pattern number for the first dress so you see what I mean 😀

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  4. The dress is from the plus section of burda July 2014: https://www.burdastyle.de/burda-style/schnitte-heft/bustierkleid-zwei-teile-optik-juli-2014_pid_1486_11037.html

    Maybe this inspires you!

    I used a tulip skirt pattern for the bottom. Will post soon. Have no photos yet

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  5. I would go for 2 or 4. I believe strapless has a tendency to flatten the bust. At least on me ;( but hey could be worth a try!

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  6. Let's see... I think the Ralph Pink dress is really interesting, but I'd most like to see your take on the last one! I think you would look amazing in the strapless, but I know I'd feel more restricted in it, so I think my final vote lands on #4. :)

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  7. That last dress has your name written all over it!

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  8. AAAaaaaa this pattern is super cool! Looking forward to seeing the photos :) I think that at this stage, I'd like to focus on one of these four phew!

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  9. Ralph Pink or the last one would give you the most comfort and the best opportunity to use your skills. They seem the most interesting and wearable of your choices!

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  10. They're all very nice. A June wedding - which season? Northern hemisphere? Is the dress for the whole wedding including ceremony or just for the reception? My choice would be #4 with an additional top layer, shrug etc for outdoors if needed. If just the reception, perhaps #1 but not if you would feel uncomfortable in strapless.

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  11. Wow! What a choice! I really love the last dress (the futuristic one) and the Ralph Pink as both would give you lots of space to show your skills! Have you seen this one (http://ralphpink-patterns.com/product/rp009/)? It looks really comfortable and maybe you could do some sashiko style stitching? I'm sure you'll make something beautiful and look stunning whatever you choose!

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  12. For you my dear, the second would be beautiful. In a strong red or a deep green.

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  13. I would personally go for the Ralph Pink dress or the last one from Burda Style. A wedding can be a long day out and for me wanting to feel comfortable is the all important thing when out and about. A cocktail party or a formal dinner the first dress could be an option. Can't wait to see what you choose and the final outfit of course. Just promise to have fun during the process and enjoy.

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  14. Ralph Pink! It's more versatile. I hope you'll share your progress, I'd love to see the the techniques you use!

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  15. strapless burda please! I have made one strappless bustier dress recently - craftsy bombshell dress- and wore it to salsa dancing, it was fairly comfortable and I danced all night without pulling it up once!

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  16. I'd pick 2 or 4. I think the panels offer lots of versatility to create something truly striking.
    I think the strapless is gorgeous but seems more 'party' than 'wedding guest'.

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  17. They are all nice and I really like #4 front but I really hate they did not put some design details in the back (in the category not coffin clothes wins the Ralph Pink one) … but I’m sure if there’s someone out there that can come up with a cool way to enhance the back -it’s you!

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  18. It's a real first world's problem.... sigh.. I agree with you on StyleArc dress: I could easily wear it to the office or something. Decisions, decisions!!!

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  19. It would take me six month of work because it's me. I sew very slowly, especially with luxurious fabrics, marking all stitching lines, darts and notches with thread etc. It would be faster to buy one in a shop :) I think I'd put the strapless dress aside for the reason you mention: seeing gils constantly adjusting their dresses! Oh man :)

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  20. Thanks, Marianne!

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  21. You are so right about strapless dresses! It's out!

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  22. At this stage, I am hesitating between #2 and #4... I decided to go for comfort!

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  23. Totally agree with you! Now I have to choose between these two :S

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  24. Thanks for the wonderful questions! I did not quite take these factors into consideration. It will take place in Nice, France, so I'd expect it to be around +35C (+95F). Also, it won't be a conventional wedding: the couple organizes a party in a villa after the ceremony in the city hall.

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  25. Thanks for the tip! I've never really paid attention to this dress, but now when you mention it...

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  26. My favorites are the first two. If you have someone to help fit the corsette on the first, you shouldn't have much trouble with the dress falling. I do love the lines on the 2nd one though. That could make a very interesting dress.

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  27. The second one or the last one I think. They're interesting especially when you use colour blocking. They look comfortable, I'd prefer to have my shoulders covered. I'll be attending the wedding in April so at some point I'll also face that choice. *^v^* Or maybe I'll grab something from my wardrobe?... ^^

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  28. Like Sarah, for me, the style arc dress with the shoulder pads (how fun), but probably not with that hem... but for you - Ralph Pink for sure!!

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  29. I think if you're going to invest so much time in a make it's probably a good idea to make something you'll be comfortable wearing. Like you said the strapless burda dress would be a great 'techniques' dress, but I think the Ralph Pink dress is the clear winner.

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  30. The Ralph Pink dress has a lot of good lines to show off your tailoring fit skills.

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  31. I love the Burda panelled dress. But I think you've missed another great option. Pop over to my blog and see a the post "Dress Memory" - it was to be the perfect party dress.

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  32. Thanks for stopping by :) I saw this dress when you published it! It's absolutely gorgeous! This is the exactly same pattern I used for the couture class with Susan Khalje. For multiple reasons I have not finished the project and I don't feel like I want to start working on the same pattern again.

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  33. I've made the strapless Burda, and it's fabulous. The cups are too low, so you'll want to add some height to them before you even get started. Do you have the Sept 2012 issue of Burda? I"m going to go out on a limb and suggest the Matthew Williamson dress from that issue - it is similar to the Ralph Pink style but I think has a sharper and more sophisticated look.

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  34. i'll go for comfort!

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  35. The RP dress would definitely look great in red!

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  36. Totally agree with you on the strapless dress. I'll save this project for later. The more I look at the RP dress, the more I find it interesting!!!!!

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  37. Yes! I think you are right :)

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  38. I made such a fuss around it :-/ My final pick the RP dress. Now it's all about planning and having fun sewing!

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  39. Thank you, Maria! I think I'll go with this pattern.

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  40. yes I think you need them if you want your dress to stay in one place. it is a bit unconfortable in the begining but does not restrict your movement .

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  41. I love sewing fancy dresses! I particularly like the Ralph Pink one. I am always impressed by their pattern. It's so modern and stylish, but I have yet to try any of them since the number of pieces intimidates me a bit. Good luck sewing your party dress<3

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  42. The number of pieces depends on the pattern. I can picture you wearing some of the RP garments!!!! With your amazing sewing skills, these patterns are waiting for youuuuuuuuuu

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  43. Very resourceful blog Thanks for sharing sexyher also provide made to measure dress to make a glance for your party.

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