When I saw this dress released, courtesy of MisForMake I was captivated. I can’t put my finger on the precise reason why, but I kept returning to it, just mulling it over in my mind. I am not a habitual wearer of loosely shaped dresses – I need to emphasize my curves & find the “tunic look” does nothing for me. But there was something that kept pulling me back to the Date Night Dress. Was it the fluttery sleeves? The graceful sweep of fabric around a cinched in belt? Was it the added extra of a simple slip? Who knows. What I do know is that when MisForMake offered a special offer on it I was in like a very hungry badger to a slug. Because you see these patterns are not cheap. Any small discount shaved off helps. You can also download the pdf directly from April Rhodes here which is likely to be a bit cheaper than the physical pattern.
I made the slip up pretty straight away, and felt pleased already with my purchase. It felt that a potential Minerva April make (April Rhodes – geddit?) would be fitting so my fabric quest began.
Now this dress is designed to be made with fine drape inducing fabrics, voiles, chiffon, silk too I expect. I had other ideas. I fancied making my version out of jersey. I’d been *almost choosing* this jersey on the Minerva website for a while now & its print reminded me of one of the examples used in the Date Night Dress pattern itself (scale, use of colour). Lack of imagination on my behalf there – but balanced by the added danger factor of going *off piste* & using a stretch fabric for a pattern that was designed for floaty wovens. Listening to my inner May Martin, I was thoughtful about pattern placement when cutting out- wanting balance & nothing falling in unfortunate LOLworthy places…
The Date Night Dress is a simple design: no fastenings – a neckline scooped enough that whatever the fabric you use will allow access over your head.
Its front & back are single pieces though- so you can imagine that this is a quick make. It has a box pleat at the centre back, just to add to some volume. And the sleeves? They are sort of crescent shaped bits of wisp. I wondered if I was being too risky here as well – would butterfly sleeves be too frilly even for me? But hello! I Love them!
The pattern directions assume that you will use French seams in your woven version & the instructions are pretty comprehensive if you haven’t used this approach before . I should say that the instructions are all accompanied by fantastic colour photos & this could be a good make for a beginner.
Making it up, as hinted above was so quick I think I did it in just over an hour. Using my overlocker of course. Shoulder seams first (as an extra & in recognition that I was using jersey I used some clear elastic to add support to the shoulder seams), then the flutter sleeves, then side seams. The neck band was like a tee-shirt neck band – I cut a non-bias strip 1.5” wide that was 85% the measurement of the neck edge (for jersey it doesn’t have to be cut on the bias as there is plenty of stretch already).
Then you’ve got just the hem to do. Bam. Quick or quick? I cut my hem straight rather than the high-low hem that it is drafted with. It suits me better. But it wasn’t until I tried the Date Night Dress on, with belt that I got hit sideways & was struck dumb with absolute undying love. Oh. My. Word. How can a *jersey dress* feel elegant, flattering, comfy, feet-tucked-up -on-the-sofa-goddess awesome all at the same time? I think that deep down my inner goddess-pattern-spotter recognised there was something special about the Date Night Dress. Beauty in simplicity. And I am telling you, the pattern envelope needs to add “jersey” to its list of fabrics to use as it maketh the dress even more elevated in my humble opinion.
So let’s get onto the slip too. Having a simple slip pattern is a beautiful bonus. This slip is not cut on the bias, so it doesn’t take up too much fabric. It uses bias binding for its straps & has the most useful photo-story to guide you through the process of getting nice bias points at the pointy bodice ends. It is genius made simple.
The choice of fabric for the slip is a lovely slinky lycra that feels lovely to wear but also slips against the jersey dress – performing the vital function that of a slip slipping! And the bias is super cute floral bias. Love it!
Now why the slip + dress in one pattern? Well the inner minx suggests some kind of link with “Date Night” – ensuring that your undies are as pretty as your outfit? 😉 I mean this is what April Rhodes uses to describe the pattern:
The flutter sleeves flatter arms and the open armhole can be slightly sultry, offering a teasing peek at the Simple Slip or perhaps a lacy bra underneath.
But it is a practical reason for me – the dress’s underarms are quite low. You could drive a bus through the gap.
I have so far wore my dress with a long sleeved top & leggings as it was still that kind of weather, but come warmer times you might not want to flash your lacy underneathies & the slip would be a great modesty saver. I am also thinking that my next version will try a chiffon for the dress & there the slip will most certainly be needed for even more of a modesty cause. Now, all I need is a date ….
Oh and just an after thought for Kate… It seems as if there is shirring mentioned on this pattern after all, as a design option for the waist. You aren’t going crazy. And nor am I. It’s mentioned in the description, not the instructions….
So, yes, the April Rhodes pattern is an independent pattern & might seem quite expensive…but…I am already delighting in the quality drafting which far surpassed my expectations – both slip & dress. However, the Minerva kit will give you enough of this fabric to make a similar dress plus a slip. The slip fabric could be used to make any kind of slip – I even found this free pattern here that would work.
Now unfortunately for me (well, actually the reverse ) I misread the yardages or else the yardages given are very generous & I’ve got some of this lovely jersey left & have already made it into something else lovely ….coming soon!