For the last couple of years I’ve been wishing I had a few other versions of one of my favorite ready-to-wear dresses. It’s a fabulous sleevless, pleated Ponte de Roma dress in very wide brown and black stripes. I usually wear it in fall and winter over black tights, just because the colors don’t look very summery. Plus I hemmed it to be a little too short to wear with bare legs at the playground in the summer. When I wear dresses that are too short and I’m chasing Sadie around I end up looking like a weird robot because I’m afraid to bend over.
I’ve been saving a gorgeous piece of kelly green Ponte de Roma fabric for the perfect project (I think I bought it from fabric.com), and decided to try to make a knockoff of my RTW dress. I’m mostly happy with it! The fabric isn’t quite as sturdy as the fabric of the original, so it doesn’t come off quite as structured…and the super tight fit of the bodice looks a little classier in the thicker, brown/black fabric than it does in this verson, but I still think I’ll get a ton of wear out of it.
Let’s pretend that the fun black contrast band at the bottom was an inspired style choice.
That was fun. Truth time. It ended up too short. So I cut even more length off and added a wide band of black Ponte from my stash, and it totally made the dress for me. Pre-contrast band it was looking a little…young? I couldn’t put my finger on it. Just a little flimsy floppy. Now it seems more pulled together.
I didn’t copy the pleating exactly from the RTW dress because I just couldn’t figure it out, and I knew that technically I should have been aligning my bodice darts with pleating lines on the skirt, but I didn’t love the width it forced me to make the pleats. It just wasn’t working the way it does on the original dress. Maybe because I just didn’t want to do math. Or maybe because the proportions are all slightly different because the fabric behaves quite differently. In the end I decided not to stress about lining up those parts. I installed a black invisible zip (which went in perfectly on the first try! hooray!), and finished the neckline and armholes with black bias tape. I’m pretty pleased with how those areas turned out. no gaping or flopping.
It clings a little weirdly when I’m wearing it with tights, but I’m planning on this being a spring/summer dress, so that won’t be a problem. All in all I’m so happy with it! I finally have a dress in my favorite color.