Some time ago I came across Kaliyana’s Diamond Dress online and it was love at first sight.
At almost $300, the original was out of the question, but it thought I could probably have a go at running up something similar. These days I very rarely make something because I see and like a pattern, but rather because I see and like a fashion shot of a garment on Pinterest or elsewhere online. THEN I go hunting for a pattern to try and reproduce it. Mostly I find I already have the basic elements in my pattern collection and it is quite rare that I need to buy something new. Notable exceptions in the last couple of years have been a Vogue Marcy Tilton skirt and the StyleArc Toni dress. The latter seemed like a good starting point for the Diamond dress, with the bonus that I have made it before in several incarnations and know that it works for me.
Close up of front pattern piece:
However, I always do some modifications, I just can’t help myself. My apologies to the designer, because this time I have made quite a lot.
First of all, much as I love the look of the Toni cut on cap sleeves, they are problematic with my very square shoulders. The top seam always pulls and puckers and never looks quite right. I think on someone with sloping shoulders, where this is not a problem, they would look great, but sadly not on me. Believe me, I have tried. – So sleeveless it had to be.
V-necks have never been much of a favourite with me, even though they are supposed to be flattering. I just prefer a round neck or a cowl, much easier to sew, plus I know how high or low to make them to end up with a satisfactory result. With V-necks I always worry that they will end up too low and I will need to take care when moving about to avoid showing bits of myself no innocent bystander needs to see.
The next question was whether to keep the Toni front seam? I would definitely have done so with a plain fabric like that used for the Diamond dress, but the red batik I had on hand had a faint leaf pattern and I thought I might leave it alone and not interrupt it right in the middle of the dress, so to speak. After that I had a good look at the V shaped yoke and flanges you can see in the close up of the Diamond dress. I don’t dislike the design, but it just seemed an unnecessary complication. I definitely like simple lines and clothes that sew up quickly, without too much fussing about.
So after having eliminated just about everything from the original pattern and inspiration dress, all that was left to do was to join the Toni pattern pieces to a sleeveless bodice pattern I know fits me well, to be left with one front and one back pattern piece cut on the fold.
Perfect! Sew both pieces together at shoulders and sides, and with the addition of bias strips to tidy up the neck and the armscyes the dress was finished in a couple of hours. — Oh yes, there was a narrow hem too, which I folded twice and topstitched.
If you need more sewing details, have a look at Pattern Review.
So here is the finished dress, minus the black jacket, at least for now. I have one, but not with me as I am on holidays in the tropics at the moment, where jackets are quite unnecessary and so got left at home. To make up for it I am sporting a hat at least twice the size of the one worn by the model in my inspiration picture, — and no shoes!
With me-made necklace. This is simply silver plated beads strung on black silk cord, with a knot below each bead to hold it in place. No skills required whatsoever except in purchasing the materials! I knotted the cord at the back, leaving two long ends, with a bead on each. They sometimes dangle at the back and sometimes swing to the front.