Disclaimer #1: No, this is not me climbing out of my sewing funk. I made this dress awhile back but had to keep it a secret until now.
Disclaimer #2: I made this dress as a tester so I did get the PDF pattern for free to test. You can get yours here: SBCC Vesper.
Disclaimer #3: I’m claiming to be unbiased but I loved the SBCC Tonic tee, Betsy has great skills as a pattern maker and is super nice so I can’t really say I can separate my warm and fuzzy feelings and be 100% objective. I think the finished dress does speak for itself.
Love How Petite Patterns Save Me Time
If you read my “What I’ve been sewing lately” post, you’ll see that I love patterns that help me cut down the time it takes to fit. Since I’m petite proportioned, Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick is right up my alley. Notice how I say petite proportioned, not referencing a specific height like 5’ 4” and under. Give me a second to get a step stool to get onto my soapbox. Height, or lack thereof, is a general guideline for what is called petites but there are people who are 5’ 7” who have petite proportioned in their top half and make up for the rest of the heights in being all legs and vice versa. Anywho if you’re of a non-petite proportion you too can make this dress since Betsy has lengthening lines to un-petite the pattern.
The Vesper Dress
The Vesper pattern is a knit dress that comes in maxi and knee length. I love a great maxi dress because I’m lazy. One, it’s a dress so I don’t have to match tops and bottoms. Two, it’s maxi length so I’m don’t have to be concerned with putting on lotion, did I miss a spot shaving my legs, how ugly are my bruises and scars today etc.
The front has a box pleat which is fitted through the bust and gives me much needed shaping. The extra fabric from the pleat adds extra coverage around the stomach area which I need even more. The back is chic and very interesting. I don’t have anything in my wardrobe like this and now need 4 of them. I’m thinking tops, tankini swim suit. Then all my tan lines will be consistent.
This pattern is pretty straight forward unless you’re like me and make things more complicated. My first attempt at the binding I used a premade thick ribbing/sweat shirt cuff like material. I did not have as much stretch as my fabric and pulled everything up. This made the box pleat cascade off my boobs (not attractive), armholes were pulled up into my pits (not comfortable) and back keyhole pulled up giving me a reverse wedgie look. My second attempt was to actually follow the instructions and use self fabric. What a novel idea… follow the instructions. As a tester I always read the instructions but sometimes I mistakenly think I know better. I liked the self fabric binding but in the end I decided to fold over the seam allowance and coverstitch because of the extra bulk I’m adding with a shelf bra. More on that later…
The alteration I made for fit was a small shoulder slope adjustment. That’s it! OMG what a time saver; especially if I didn’t make the stupid detour of using premade ribbing. The other alteration I made was to add a shelf bra. The way the dress fit on me my bra band was showing. My first instinct was to add a shelf bra since I already used up every last bit of this red fabric so altering the pattern and recutting was not an option. In case you’re wondering the fabric is a tissue thin rayon knit gifted disgustedly discarded by IRL sewing friend Ms McCall. She bought it in the garment district during one of our many fabric excursions together. She made a top with the same fabric but in blue and it pilled like mad. We shaved the top with my very fancy pill shaver and it hardly made a dent. Fingers crossed that my dress doesn’t end up in the same fate.
Shelf Bra Hack
Back to the bra band issue… Adding a shelf bra was pretty simple for me. I’m not sure what changes need to be made if your “girls” need more support. To make the pattern I folded out the pleat in the center front. I also removed the seam allowance at the neckline and at the arm hole to reduce that bulk I mentioned earlier. I measured how long I needed the shelf bra to be in order to end at the bottom of the bewbs (yes, that is an intentional misspelling so I don’t get any questionable characters on my site looking for questionable things) and drew a horizontal line.
For fabric I used swim suit lining because it’s nude and has good support for my cup size. I zigzagged a 1” elastic to the bottom edge, right sides together. Then the elastic was folded down.
Next I sewed the shelf bra into the dress. There’s where the seam allowance I left off comes into play. Since I wasn’t using the self binding I folded over the seam allowance over the lining fabric and topstitched via a cover stitch.
The last step is to sew in the bra cups. I normally would sew the cups in between the fashion fabric and the lining but with this super thin fabric the outlines of the cups showed through. I had the bra cup version of VPL or VBL. I ended up sewing the cups so that it was against my skin. To figure out the placement of the cups, put on the dress, insert and adjust the cups until they don’t look like you have a botched bewb job and pin into place. Carefully take the dress off and zig zag the cups to the lining.
See no bra lines even close up. Was that weird that I just asked everyone to look closely at my bewbs?
I’ve worn this dress all summer and have gotten lots of compliments. I really like the back. The keyhole is a little bigger on my dress because with the shelf bra that only has a front you can’t have a lot of ease or the shelf won’t hold in place. That’s were those back drag lines are coming in. I’m not sure how I can prevent it. Ideas? I can definitely see this dress going into Fall and California Winter with a long cardigan on top. According to the thermostat here, Summer is not over. Check out my pattern review, make yourself a SBCC Vesper dress and have people shower you with compliments.
Bonus Content: Outtake Pics
I’m terrible at poses regardless of how many episodes of America’s Top Model I’ve seen. If you need more evidence, check out these futile attempts with the Plantain Tee. I’m pretty sure I haven’t gotten any better. Here I’ve decided showing off my freshly shaved armpits would be attractive. So attractive I did a one arm and two arm version. Pic in the middle is just a hazard of a self timed shot + dog combo. If you can stop laughing long enough to leave a comment, I’d love to hear about what you think about the new Vesper dress and my not-so-new posing (in)abilities.
Happy Vesper sewing,