Minerva Make: April Rhodes Date Night Dress & Simple Slip

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.

Date Night dress

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…

date night dressI’ve been wearing it with a long sleeve top underneath & leggings for the winter.

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.

date night inside

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!

Date Night (2)

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.

date night dress (4)

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).

date night dress

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.

date night dress (2)

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.

date night slip

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!

Date night arm

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.

date night arm 2Flashing your simple slip

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!

28 thoughts on “Minerva Make: April Rhodes Date Night Dress & Simple Slip

  1. Rachel

    Wow, this is lovely. I had never heard of this pattern company before – I can’t wait until lunchtime to check them out.
    The fluttery sleeves make this stellar – it just all comes together so nicely. Enjoy! Rachel ☺

  2. Fooniks

    Just fabulous! I have a knit dress with similar pattern in my closet and I love it. I love the combo of red flowers on the black base. Looks great! 🙂

  3. Helen

    Oh this is pretty!! I don’t normally like floaty voluminous sleeves, but I might need to make an exception for this! And how practical offering the slip pattern too! Great dress!

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Yes, I should be more wary of “voluminous sleeves” too – as I can fall foul of those and overfrill – so I’m very relieved that this has been sensible flutter sleeves!

  4. Jennifer Hill

    This is gorgeous! You are so clever…I’m relatively new to sewing and your blog, and am picking up a lot of tips from you : ) (thanks!). My first ever make (well, second, really, but I’m not counting a disaster last year) was this dress which I made top length in rayon challis. I love it but went by the measurements given and it’s massive. Luckily the loose shape means with a bit of shirring it’ll be fine. Later I’m making another as a dress with the slip for a wedding. Yes, it’s a great pattern for a beginner. Jen

    1. Jennifer Hill

      PS I’m going to sew the sleeve openings up a little bit, as it’s not great for the bingo wings… Jen

    2. scruffybadgertime Post author

      That’s so great to hear – I felt that it would be good for a beginner & you are living proof !
      Nice choice of pattern! I’m so glad you love it, but interesting about the measurements too – I think the jersey is pretty forgiving with respect the measurements ….

  5. LinB

    Oooh, purty dress! I like the big flowers on it, I like the colors, I like the shape on you when you belt it.

    I agree that a circular ruffle or drape — one that is full at the bottom but not the top — is a more flattering look on your diminutive frame than full-out Scarlett O-Hara would be. Very feminine, without being floofy (I know it’s not a word. I mean to imply the sort of fullness that is fluffy plus frou frou.) “Go thou forth and maketh more-eth of these-eth,” say I.

  6. Eliza-sew-little

    Wow! I’ve been waiting to see how this would turned out since you made the slip. It’s beautiful and what a great fabric for it. Jersey wow .

  7. Karen

    What a cute pattern, Winnie! I love the idea of a slip & dress combo pattern. Summer before last I made a dress that needed a slip, so I made a matching slip for it & it’s great. Slips rock in summer or winter!

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Slips are under-rated I reckon. I can remember at school I was always in the minority with a slip so couldn’t wait to ditch it when I was a teenager…however….it comes back to you how useful & practical they are & now I love them all over again!

  8. Shar

    This looks so pretty on you! Such a feminine summery silhouette, and you can dress it up or down. I love the fabric and what a great idea to try a knit. I’ve looked up this pattern a couple of times and wasn’t sure about the sleeves, but they look great. I might have to get this one!

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Oh you know it could have been a classic case of looking good on the pattern model, but in reality was just not “me” – however it was a risk worth taking. Big sigh of relief!

  9. MrsC

    This reminds me of those lovely flowing dresses we wore in the mid to late 70s. Perfect for doing the Brooklyn Hustle! 🙂 I love it and I love how elegant and comfortable it is on thee xo

  10. Sam

    This is lovely Winnie. I’m a great fan of jersey dresses, and I really like your version of this pattern. Great that it can be multi seasonal too.

  11. Philippa

    I’ve been looking at this dress a while as it doesn’t look too complicated but seems to give a great result which you have totally confirmed! Thank you!

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  13. Ppaperdoll

    That’s it – I’m definitely buying this pattern. And I’m copying your contrasting bias on the slip – very cute!


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