Monday, August 6, 2012

Leopard Cocktail Dress

Sewing Level: Advanced

This dress is an advanced project because the pattern pieces feature asymmetrical folds, layers and pleats that are difficult to assemble and secure invisibly.  In addition the dress requires underlining and a multilayer inner foundation.  Additional features are a padded hem, two separate zippers, a waist stay/belt, and multiple linings.

I chose a fun fabric from my stash:  metallic rayon brocade in a leopard print.  A complete supply list is included in the Marfy 2845 Summer 2012 Tutorial in the upper right corner of the Home page. 

This pattern taught me that overlays can add a lot of style to a garment and can be drafted from the main pattern pieces quickly.  The dress has three overlays:  the first extends above the neckline, the second covers the lower half of the bust, and the third is on the side of the right hip.  The overlays are underlined with silk organza and then lined with self fabric so they look clean on all sides. Pleats built into the overlays add style and sewing difficulty.  I plan to add simple overlays to future non-couture garments because they're fun to make and they raise the chic factor. 

I fitted the garment somewhat loosely in the hips and waist so I would be comfortable sitting.  In People Magazine I see women in dresses that are over fitted in the hips (meaning too tight) and I think a too small garment adds weight to the wearer.  The dress is admittedly tight in the bust because of the coutil foundation.  The dress doesn't move a centimeter up or down because of the very firm structure built in. 
The dress back is simple; darts and a center back lapped zipper.  The fabric print plus the front overlays and pleats is enough design. 

You may find it interesting to see how much shape a coutil foundation provides.  Look at this photo of the dress during construction:
The dress holds its shape effortlessly.  Coutil comes in a variety of weaves and some are pretty enough to appear on the exterior of a garment.  Coutil is sold by the 1/2 yard 60" wide piece at

If you would like to see how coutil is built into this dress, please see the Summer 2012 Marfy 2845 Tutorial at the upper right corner of the Home page.


  1. OMG gorgeous! I have this pattern and I have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to sew it. Yours is so swoon-worthy that I now must make it. You have the perfect figure for it too.! Absolutely stunning!

  2. Wow, amazing dress. Enjoying reading your blog :) you make great stuff