When I saw this advertisement of Ashley Greene in a DKNY leather and wool dress, I instantly knew I would copy it. Mixed material garments are everywhere right now, as are cutouts.
I was going to do it in black just like the example. However, as I was getting some winter projects together, I happened to set some red wool crepe next to my roll of leather hides. The reds were a perfect match, so I made a red dress instead.
The red lambskin I purchased awhile back to make into a skirt. I still have two skins of it left, maybe I'll get to that sometime this winter. Both fabrics were purchased online from Fabricmartfabrics.com. Sometimes they have really good sales on their skins, and I think these red ones were $15 a piece.
When I started work on this dress, I had nothing to go by except that taxi cab picture posted above. DKNY has since released the RTW dress on their website. Personally, I think it's a bit of a disappointment. The leather is pulling across the front and the cutout looks smaller because the neckline under the collarbone is lower. Obviously they made that dress custom for the Ashley. Anyway, mine is different in that it has leather across the back and no sleeves. (I actually did make the sleeves, but they pulled terribly, so I went back and removed them.) Also, their dress has a seam at the waistline and more of an A-line skirt. The top of it has princess seams which, had I thought to do the same, would have made the bust a LOT easier to fit. Oh well, there's more then one way to construct a garment.
The hardest part of this dress was getting a tight fit through the bust. If it was too tight the leather at the neck would gap forward; too loose and I was showing off my strapless bra. I worked and reworked this area quite a bit, and finally got it to a point I feel comfortable with. Good posture is a must AND, I'll be wearing it strictly as a date night dress and not to church.
I used that same bias tape finish for the armholes as my last dress.
I also added a facing to the lower neckline and started the lining
below that. The triangular shape of the leather was slipstitched to the
lining after the upper neckline had been sewn by machine.
This dress has a full lining made from red polyester. I usually like to
use Ambiance lining but couldn't find any in a matching shade.
I used a really old pattern from my stash, NewLook 6717, long OOP. I'm
not sure why I hung on to it this long. I used to purge patterns after
they'd been used and I made the ruffled version
years ago. (It is now too big and I don't care for the floral anymore.)
But, it's a nice basic dress with lots of variations and design
possibilities. I made a muslin to perfect the fit and raised the
neckline up to my collarbone. Then I drew a line where I wanted the wool
to meet the leather and added seam allowances.
Knocking off designer dresses is fun and challenging. I'm hoping to get another one done in the next few weeks!