Closet Case Patterns’ Ebony Dress!

Closet Case Patterns Ebony Dress

The tent dress trials continue! This summer I tried a bunch of different patterns for swingy knit dresses, but I’ve yet to sew any for winter… until Closet Case Patterns released their the Ebony tee/dress this week!

Heather had been hinting on IG that the new pattern would be like her New Years dress, so while I was fabric shopping on Saturday I picked up these knits hoping they’d work. Sunday evening the sneak peak went out to email subscribers, and Monday I sewed the first one up! Tuesday morning I took pictures before work, then came home and quickly finished the second before the light faded. And voila! Two awesome dresses in record time!

(Real talk: This past weekend was emotional for a lot of people worldwide, and this pattern provided an excellent escape at just the right time!) 

Closet Case Patterns Ebony Dress

I don’t often sew and blog patterns right away – I’ve usually got plenty of posts lined up, and I dole them out slowly. I wanted to blog this quickly though because we had a good discussion about the pattern on the Curvy Sewing Collective Facebook group, centring around if it’s “flattering” on certain body types. I’m here to say: yes, no, and I don’t care!

Yes: It’s fitted at the shoulder, and has a pretty neckline. (There’s also a more scooped option.) I don’t think it makes me look bigger, or (which I am trying to stop using as a pejorative) makes me look pregnant.

No: It doesn’t make me look skinner, which is generally the goal of “flattering”.

I don’t care: It’s fun to wear, and I feel cute in it! It fills my occasional need for a dramatic dress that no one else will be wearing. It’s got a great high-low hem that is sassy in front but still perfectly decent. Flattering doesn’t matter when you feel good in your clothes!

Closet Case Patterns Ebony Dress

A few construction notes:

  • I have a 43″ bust, which put me right between the size 16 and 18. I sized up, but I should have sized down. I ended up taking in the first version (this black and white) at the shoulders. Bonus: If you are outside the size range by a few inches, you should still be able to make it!
  • I shortened the dress 1″ at the hem, and 1.5″ at the shorten/lengthen line. I also did quite a big hem.
  • I cropped the sleeves because I didn’t have enough fabric!
  • The sleeves and hem are coverstitched. With such a curved hem, I did my favourite trick of gathering the edge slightly with a serger to make it turn up easier.

With sizing nailed down, it was on to my next version! 

Closet Case Patterns Ebony Dress

This is a size 16, sewn up in a lovely textured velvet from my local chain store, Fabricland. Why did no one tell me that sewing with stretch poly velvet could be so easy? I’ll add this to my list of polyester fabrics that I love! (The black and white version is a poly Liverpool knit, which is fast becoming a favourite fabric too.)

The velvet pressed without being crushed (although I did iron using a piece of scrap velvet, which is one of those tips I always read that seemed too fun to miss trying!). I love the heavy drape and swishiness of it, and because it’s slippery on the inside, there is no clinginess or need for a slip. Win-win! I’m debating making a road trip to go buy more in a lovely peacock blue.

Closet Case Patterns Ebony Dress

So, I have a few overall thoughts on the pattern for those considering it. It’s a super fast sew, not much slower than a tee, with several cute variations. It is a very forgiving fit, and if you like tent dresses, I think it would look good on a wide variety of figures. Personally, I found it has a more pronounced trapeze-shape than the Groove dress, but that may also be because I shortened that one at the hem.

Closet Case Patterns Ebony Dress

After I finished my dresses, I realised I’d inadvertently pre-bought fabrics that match Heather’s samples surprisingly well! Jinx!

I love both my versions – which one would you be more likely to wear yourself? And how do you feel about that thorny issue of “flattering”?


54 thoughts on “Closet Case Patterns’ Ebony Dress!

  1. it looks lovely on you, but it won’t be for me I’m afraid. I would be far too aware of the risk of it blowing up and revealing all, or just all that fabric getting caught or getting static-y and riding up. And I like ‘flattering’. If you look on flattery as being ‘telling you what you want to hear’ then clothes that flatter are ‘making you look the way you want to look’
    As long as you aren’t bullied by ‘advice’ which tells you that you shouldn’t wear a style because someone else says it isn’t flattering, then yeah, go all political on their sorry arses…but I LIKE my mirror adding an inch or two to my height while pretending there’s an inch or so less width. Leave us to our delusions! lol

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    1. Oddly, the chance of this flying up isn’t something I worried about at all as I wore it! Maybe webcause I happened to choose quite heavy, drapey fabrics, which won’t clingy or float in the gentlest of breezes! Good point for future versions though!
      Great insight on flattery – I think I agree on all points!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Did you make your leggings too? I love both dresses and need to get my hands on a closet case pattern. I’m with you on loving more the way it feels fun to wear, than the concerns of what it looks like. This looks great on you and I’m a boho want to be on the weekend and this would be perfect. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I did make both pairs of leggings! but don’t look too closely, because as I got undressed at night I noticed the turquoise ones have an oily stain on the upper thigh… and lo, there it is in the pictures I took early that morning, so I was wear stained clothes all day! How classy! ;P

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  3. They are both very nice! I’ve got so many things I want to make that I don’t think this will be under my machine any time soon, perhaps (like most of my planned garments, so far, haha) never!

    On the subject of flattery, I agree with the demented fairy that “flattering” or “not flattering” should only be a measure that the wearer uses. The unfortunate fact is that we are human, and we almost universally look at people and judge their clothes by our own preferences, which primarily align with whatever our culture is currently glorifying (tall, thin, proportioned, etc.). If we could all get to a place where we judge our own clothes by how we feel in them, without letting others’ opinions cloud our minds, that would be great. From there it’s a small step to accepting others at face value, and getting to know and love them for who they are and not how they dress!

    That being said, I grew up in a fashion-less family where the only judge of good vs bad clothes was how cheap they were. In my 20s, I had no idea how to dress to look the way I wanted to look. I paid a personal stylist to “do my colors” and take me shopping; it was the most eye-opening day of my life! She had me try on all manner of things, and showed me – under the glaring dressing-room lights – how different shapes, colors, and fabrics changed my total appearance. That was money well invested; I had a new wardrobe and a new ability to choose clothes for myself, which gave me a sense of confidence I had never known.

    Thank you for your blog – I really enjoy your posts!

    🙂

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    1. I really connect with your comment about the empowerment of finding what shapes and colours suit you – I feel like that’s been my own sewing journey! And I bet it’s really confusing for people out there who are aware other people have some magic to their wardrobe, but can’t quite nail it for themselves. In that light, knowing what is flattering is definitely empowering knowledge!

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  4. I don’t see the issue with the word “flattering”. There are clothes that make me look more attractive, and clothes that don’t. Flattering is just a word for those that look better on me. Any word can be used in a way to offend someone, but don’t blame the word. And for those people who think they should be treated the same no matter what they wear – get real, you can’t change human nature. We’re just pre-programmed to judge people on their appearance. I think it’s better to acknowledge that there are the things we can’t change rather than get angry about them.

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    1. Great point! We ARE genetically hardwired to like pretty things and pretty people, so there’s no point fighting it entirely… but I’d hate to think that looking fertile is the raison d’etre of my wardrobe! Hopefully we are also wired to be attracted to happy people, so it will all balance out! 😉

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  5. I really like the “high/low” hem on this and it looks swishy, which is always a plus. Love the texture of the red fabric but the black and white is super fun.

    I’d like to see “Yes.No.I Don’t Care” as a t-shirt! I say if you feel good in the garment that’s all you need.

    I totally agree that flattering usually means “makes you look thinner” to the general public but to me it means the garment fits well. A good fit may or may not result in making one look thinner, but I think it will always help one look their best.

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    1. I”m debating how best to make it a t-shirt! I don’t think the cropped version is for me (except over a maxi dress in summer, which I would love!), and the tunic is both shorter than I’d like over leggings, and longer than I like over pants! 😛 Probably time to just sew on and see how it goes, right?

      ***Edited***
      Bahahaha – literally, as I pressed “post”, I understood your comment differently – you meant as a slogan on a t-shirt, right?!? Ahh, reading. Apparently I still have to work on it!

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  6. I love love love love this post! I love the way the dresses look on you. I love how happy you look. I love the Yes. No. I don’t care. Emphasis on the I don’t care part. I love the pattern!

    I really want this pattern, but I am on a buying freeze until March so I will wait…. impatiently, but I will wait.

    FWIW, I think the dress is very “flattering” to you, but my definition of flattering is how it makes you feel. Confidence is “flattering.” 😀

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  7. I think both dresses are “flattering” on you, probably because you look so happy wearing them. Now, I’d like to find some crushed velvet for this dress. I like them both.

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  8. Thank you for making a comparison to the Groove dress! It’s been my favourite shape this winter, and I get a surprising number of compliments when I wear one, despite it not being ‘flattering’ in the ‘show your body shape/flaunt your bust’ way that many people associate with the word.

    The Ebony dress is cute, but not different enough from the Groove (or different in ways I don’t need; shorter and an extra scooped neckline option) to justify adding it to the rotation. But I am looking at the Grainline Farrow; it might be nice to have an option for woven fabrics…

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    1. Farrow seems really lovely! Definitely more classic, but still modern and clean. If I ever get around to comparing the pattern pieces for Groove and Ebony, I’ll let you know if the angle is significantly different!

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  9. I have been staring at the pattern deciding what version to make! Yours turned out so beautiful – thanks for the inspiration. The more I see the dress version to more I feel like it could be the one for me! I was thinking of sizing down to help it be a little baggy – we’ll see how it turns out!

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    1. Sizing down sounds wise! I think if you just focus on the shoulder fit, nothing else really matters with this pattern. I hope you make one soon!

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  10. What a gorgeous pair of dresses. They are both really lovely but I have to say that the red velvet stole my heart. It is one of my favourite colours. They are a great shape and the high-low hem it a nice feature. I used to use the word “flattering” all the time. I genuinely meant it as a complement, not that the receiver looked thinner as I couldn’t give a flying **** about what size people are and had never thought about its use in that context. Flattering meant that the colour lit up their face and that they looked happy and confident. I have stopped using it now after a discussion about the word over on the “Idle Fancy” blog in case I am inadvertently offensive. 😦 Love the boots BTW. Xx

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    1. I think your definition of flattering is spot on – and I would never be offended by you using the word! I’ve stopped using it too for the same reason, but I admit, sometimes i get tied in knots trying to compliment the person in the clothing, not implying that the clothing makes the person look good. Being nice is confusing sometimes! 😛 I just trust people will understand my meaning, even if I get the wording wrong.

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  11. I love both of these dresses and they look great on you. As far as a garment being flattering goes, if you like how it looks. wear it and be happy. What one person thinks looks good on them may not work for another. It’s a personal thing!

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    1. Very true! Sometimes I offer to sew things for my mom that I think will be so cute and flattering on her, and she is not interested. She’s got great taste for herself though, luckily! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Love mine, have made and worn two this week as well! Wearing the second one as I type this. I agree with your assessment that this dress is fun and easy to wear!

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    1. This has been the year of velvet! I feel like every blogger has made something with it, and I wanted every one of their projects! (Including yours!) 😉

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  13. I have to disagree and agree! I have to disagree in that I don’t think flattering means ‘makes you look skinnier’. I think is means it accentuates what you have in a positive way. Where I have to agree, is that it is a great style on you! You look gorgeous and very happy! Our clothes should always make us smile! I especially love the velvet one!

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    1. Thank you! 🙂 The reason I got thinking about “flattering” is because on conversations between plus size women which to me basically seemed to be “Will this make me look fatter?” That might just be a plus-size thing though – I’m happy if that’s not what it means to everyone!

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  14. These are so great! The velvet one is my fave. (Actually, I just made a Valentine’s Nettie Dress in much that colour velvet!)

    I’m not sure how I feel about the pattern for me. last time i made a tent dress I felt compelled to take it in until the back fit and I feel like that would also be an issue for me here. 😉 purely my own weird quirk though!

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  15. You look fab in both! I think the swingy shape really suits you and, like you said, feeling great in what you make and wear is really important.

    And yes, stretch velvet is the business!! I love it.

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  16. I am in love with that black and white print! Im goung to have to chexk out this Liverpool stuff! 😉Both look great on you. I’m not sure how it would look on me, but it sounds so easy to sew up I might consider adding it to my growing stash of patterns. It can’t hurt, right?

    As for flattering, I think it’s whatever makes you feel good and helps you achieve the look you want.

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  17. When I was younger, I’m now a senior citizen, I only concerned myself with flattery. That stopped me from wearing a lot of cute clothes. Now I’m concerned with cute comfortable and fun wearables and I am a very happy lady!

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    1. You are my inspiration of modern dress shapes – definitely going to try out some cocoon dresses when the weather is warmer!

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  18. Love them both, but especially the B&W one. Can I ask you where you got the fabric from? (not that they’re likely to ship to Australia).

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  19. Personally, I think they both look great on you! Styling them with the skinnier pants balances out the proportions well, and you look like you feel great in both of them. I’m a little torn on the “flattering” bit myself. I remember going through the Colette Wardrobe Architect process when it first came out, and one of my most preferred silhouettes then was things that were fitted at the waist, because “flattering” is generally taken to mean “emphasizing your curves”. 1 2/3 pregnancies later, I’m really not sure when or if that style will work on me again, and I’ve had to set aside that ideal (and most of those clothes) in favor of other considerations that go with my current life stage. I can see myself adding this pattern to my collection, since it looks like it’ll be comfortable and easy to move around in, which is great for both flute and toddlers! Right now, I’m mostly trying to think of things to sew that will work for nursing as well, but with that swingy style, I could probably just stick the baby directly under my shirt and not flash anyone, lol!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Have you seen Hey June’s new top? http://www.heyjunehandmade.com/product/tallinn-sweater/ Someone mentioned in a post it would be good for nursing, since the flap opens for boob access. Looks like it would be easy enough to adapt that idea with a Renfrew of other pattern.
      You could definitely fit a baby up in this one though – easy access if you don’t mind pulling your hem up! (That’s what leggings are for, right?)

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      1. I hadn’t seen that one, no! And one of my projects I’m hoping to tackle this year is a nursing hack of the Renfrew, I’m just bashing out a few other needed basics while I think through my options. That pattern definitely needs a second look, though. Thanks for the heads up!

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  20. Gillian, just so you know, I am officially blaming you for my new love in tent/swing dresses… you about the place trying all these styles out and looking fabulous and got me all intrigued and trying ish out too… Love love this fabric btw.

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  21. You look so happy and cute in these dresses!! And you’re so fast! I do worry about swing dresses and whether or not they are flattering, but I also find I feel happy and really girly in that silhouette too. I love my Sway Dress and my Frankie too!

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  22. I’m in a group focused on fitting and garment sewing and I cringe at the word flattering sometimes too. In that group, it seems to mean “whatever makes you look more like an hourglass figure” and people get really hung up on what colors/shapes/styles they “should” wear. Blech. I am all about comfy and makes you feel good. You look lovely in both of these, I wouldn’t have thought to sew it in something soft!

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