I love a good Holiday dress but as a SAHM of young kids, don’t find myself in need of one often. My husband’s company hosts a Holiday party every year though and this year I had a very specific look I was going for based off this Rent the Runway Inspiration. What I was drawn to about this dress was the fitted look, off the shoulder cowl and asymmetrical hem. I decided Jessica was the perfect starting point for my version.
For the asymmetrical hem, I followed these steps:
- Start by cutting both front and back pieces to the full length NOT peplum.
- If you cut the back pieces not on the fold, sew them together now using the ¼” seam allowance.
- Lay both pieces side by side right sides up (as pictured). Here my front piece is on the left and back piece with seam down the middle is on the right.
- Determine how high you want your hem to go. I chose 12” from the hem which ended up a bit shorter than I was hoping (after hemming). I would recommend 8-10”. Next grab your asymmetrical pattern piece.
- Starting with the front piece, choose which side you want your long hem to be on. Then measure up your higher side height. In this picture, my clear ruler is 12” from my hem. Lay the point of your asymmetrical piece down and curve it towards your long hem point. Keep in mind the pattern piece will not lay straight or reach fully across, you are just using the curve as a guide. Cut along the curve.
- Do the exact opposite on your back piece so that they mirror. In this example, I cut my short hem on the right of my front piece and left side of the back piece.
- Continue with adding sleeves and sewing up the side seams. For hemming, I used a ½” hem allowance. With the asymmetrical hem, hem tape may make the process of hemming easier.
Here’s the steps for the off- the-shoulder cowl:
- To determine the cut line for the off the shoulder, measure up 4.75 inches along the curve of the armscye on each the front, back and sleeve pieces. Draw a straight line across each piece to create your new cut line. It’s best to use a soft measuring tape for this step so you get an accurate measurement.
- To create the cowl piece, I used the turtleneck collar piece and modified that. You can choose to keep it the same height but I wanted it a bit shorter so I took 1.5” off the “horizontal fold” line. Then I added 3” to each side in a triangular shape. This was to allow movement of my arms. I then cut 2 on the fold.
- To assemble the cowl, place right sides together and sew the sides where the points are from adding the 3”. Turn right side out.
- To attach, make sure dress is turned right side out. Insert cowl inside the dress so the cowl is against the wrong side of the dress. Line up notches from cowl with the seams on the assembled dress. Measure clear elastic at 95% of the opening and attach to right side of the main body of the dress. If looking at the dress front, it should be clear elastic on top, dress and 2 layers of cowl inside. Baste in place. Serge all together. Flip the cowl over top the dress once completed.
- *I found with using velvet, my cowl kept flipping up. I tacked the cowl down every so often to keep it from moving.
|(1) To determine the cut line for the off the shoulder, measure up 4.75 inches along the curve of the armscye on each the front, back and sleeve pieces. Draw a straight line across each piece to create your new cut line. It’s best to use a soft measuring tape for this step so you get an accurate measurement.|
|(2) To create the cowl piece, I used the turtleneck collar piece and modified that. You can choose to keep it the same height but I wanted it a bit shorter so I took 1.5” off the “horizontal fold” line.|
A couple things I learned about this process, were that velvet wasn’t difficult to work with but did provide different challenges. I found that since it was slick, my cowl wouldn’t stay in place like other fabrics would have. To resolve this, I ended up tacking the cowl down. I also was a bit aggressive with my asymmetrical cut and would not go quite as high in the future. Overall though it’s a fun party dress for the holidays and I’m very excited to wear it.
I was very impressed with how well Jessica fit right out of the pattern. I measured a size 6 for bust and 8 for my waist and hips. I went with those measurements by grading and the fit was perfect. The back seam really helps to create a flattering shape.
The Jessica Bodycon dress is being offered for $3 off with coupon code JES311 through 12/5/2018. The dress offers a knee length hem, straight or asymmetrical peplum as well as 4 sleeve options. The versatility continues with a turtleneck cowl, high collar, crew or deep scoop neckband in addition to the off-the-shoulder cowl hack here. http://bit.ly/SinclairJessica (affiliate) This lovely Rose Crushed Velvet is a stretch velvet offered by Mily Mae Fabrics.
Pattern used in this hack – Jessica bodycon knit dress (PDF)