Monday, March 4, 2013

The Headmistress Dress

The Headmistress Dress, by L'Wren Scott, has been seen on Ellen Barkin, Madonna, Nicole Kidman, and Sarah Jessica Parker.  It's so famous, it was recently featured as a museum exhibit.  I've been wanting to knock off this design for years, and I finally got around to it.  I used Simplicity 2337, which has become my tried and true dress pattern since I've perfected the fit in the hollow chest/shoulder area.

Pattern Description:  Misses dress with front and sleeve variations.

Pattern Sizing:  4-20.  I cut size 4 and sewed 1/2" side seams.

Fabrics Used:  Vera Wang black tropical wool contrasted with white cotton sateen and lined with gray Dolce & Gabbana rayon lining.

Speaking of Dolce & Gabbana, this is the same pattern I used to knock off their fringed sheath.  I used the same method of curving the shoulder princess seam into the side hip and I cut the side front pieces on the bias for a better fit.

I wanted to copy the shape of the collar as close as possible, so the left-brained nerd in me zoomed the images on a photocopier to life size and traced the lines onto the neck facings to form the pattern pieces.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  It's difficult to tell from the envelope, but the pattern features sleeves with some gathering at the top of the sleeve cap.  Tried as I may, I just couldn't ease all that fullness in without the gathers, even when I moved the notches almost to the underarm.  I even used a bias strip sleeve head, but it still didn't ease it enough.  I'm not a big fan of the gathers, as it looks like an amateur tried to ease a tailored sleeve in and ended up with puckers.  I ended up cutting out new sleeves with much less ease.  I also tapered the sleeves quite a bit and then drafted an extension for the contrasting cuff.

Conclusion:  I love this pattern for the basic bodice.  It comes with many variations and you can add design elements to create a designer look for a fraction of the price