And so I’m on to the final – or so I think at this point – contender to become my ultimate Little Black Dress* (LBD).
Contender #1, based on McCall’s pattern 6464 has lots of seam detail for fitting well and a plethora of sleeve options, although I’m focused on the ¾ length ones.
Contender #2, based on Butterick pattern 6410 also has lots of seaming detail (although less than the McCall’s) for fit – and it fits better than the McCall’s. This option has cuffed, short sleeves and a yoke which provides a bit of interest, although in unbleached cotton muslin, it resembles nothing less than a house dress. With these toiles, I have to squint at them to try to envision them in what might be the finished fabrication. Which brings me to the final (at least I think it’s the final) contender.
Then third dress might be closest to what we used to think was a LBD. It is a simple sleeveless sheath with princess seaming, a scoop neck and a front side slit. I was drawn to the Vogue 1435 pattern the minute I saw it.
Designed by long-time design duo Tom and Linda Platt, it is a bit of a riff on their ready-to-wear offerings.
I have to be honest and say that I really knew little about them before I began looking more closely at the sewing patterns they design for Vogue patterns. They are a married couple who met while attending design school at the Pratt Institute in New York and have been around for 20 or 30 years. What I like about their philosophy which is manifested in their designs is their mantra that last season’s collection should never be obsolete, rather that “great clothes last forever.” Here are some of their current offerings:
Well, I’m not sure about forever – it’s a very long time – but I agree that fast fashion is not the way for me to go, and probably never was.
Anyway, it wasn’t difficult to get this design to fit me, then as I spent some quality time staring at the muslin, the simple little dress seemed to grow on me. I even considered the matching jacket, but to tell you the truth, it’s a bit too voluminous. Anyway, back to the dress.
As I stood gazing at Gloria junior in all her muslin designer glory, my husband came up and examined it, as he likes to do when I’m working on a project.
“I like the last one better,” he said.
Naturally, I asked him why – and keep in mind this is a man with a great sense of style. He often shops with me and spends the time while I’m in the dressing room searching through the racks to find pieces he thinks I might like and might suit me. He is most often right on the money.
“I think that the perfect little black dress has sleeves. It makes it more elegant.”
Elegant? I want elegant. I want sophisticated. And I want timeless. I took another look at the dress and thought, you know he’s right.
In that moment, I realized the reason I was contemplating the jacket was that I knew that more often than not, I would be looking for a shrug, a wrap or a jacket to complement this dress. So, I took another look at contender #2. Then my husband, who was still considering the designs said, “What about those dresses with those nice style lines Merissa wears on Bull? That would suit you.”
Merissa is a character on the television show Bull and every week when we watch it we marvel over her dresses – which, it has to be said, she wears well. I think she could wear a garbage bag and look professional and – elegant.
So, just when I thought I had a winner – contender #2, Butterick 6410 – I know in my heart I have to go back to the drawing board (literally) and design an original. I guess I better prep some more muslin fabric. I’m going to need it.
FYI: The Pratt Institute https://www.pratt.edu/
The Tom & Linda Platt photos are from their web site: www.tomandlindaplatt.com