Allegra needed a dress. A black, formal orchestra dress. And I was intimidated by the thought of sewing one for her. But both she and Mr. Skirt Fixation insisted I could do this, so I bought the fabric, and then I was committed. Before cutting into the material, we decided to make a muslin, just to check the fit, since many of the other dresses would have a similar look, we definitely didn’t want Allegra’s to look “homemade!” After going through the patterns we own, the closest we could come was a shift dress which I thought I could alter enough to make do. To make a long story short, the muslin turned out horrible, and I was back to square one.
I queried the folks on the Oliver + S forums for help. The Bistro Dress looked like it would work, but I didn’t have time for another muslin and it would need a few adjustments, like adding length and dropping the belt, belt loops, and collar. After hearing their favorable thoughts, I went ahead and purchased The Bistro Dress, figuring if it didn’t work, I’d still end up with one fabulous pattern I’d had my eye on for a while anyway!
The only alteration I had to do to the pattern was to add length and width to the bottom to allow for a cellist to play her instrument and to match the shape of the other dresses. In fact, to make the pattern, I used Allegra’s old dress, the one Aria now wears to figure out the right width, length and place to start widening.
I started drafting the pattern wider at the hips and took it down to ankle length. The only other adjustment I made was to make the waist darts longer.
Both Allegra and I are very pleased with how The Bistro Dress turned out as a full length formal dress for her concert.
Please excuse the blurry photos, but I did capture a few of Allegra on stage. Aria is there too!
The Bistro Dress is a Liesl + Co. pattern, and Liesl Gibson makes the Oliver + S patterns too. As with all Oliver + S patterns, the Bistro dress was a dream to sew. The directions were easy to follow, and the results are so professional looking.
Allegra and I took some extra photos at home to show how nicely the Bistro Dress fits her. We will be making this pattern again, but hopefully not for another black formal orchestra dress anytime soon!