Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Vikisews Patterns Courtney Dress in Black Velvet


If you read my blog post on the grey jumpsuit I made you'll know I was in need of some formal outfits to take with me to University. I wanted to bring something long (hence the jumpsuit) as well as a shorter dress so that I'd have something different depending on the occasion. I was especially keen to make two items of clothing that could be worn in different settings - I didn't want something overly smart that I'd only wear a couple of times so neither the dress nor the jumpsuit are that formal. I think there might be a ball at some point too, for which I have this prom dress that I made a few years ago if I don't have time to make another.

I really love the jumpsuit I made and it feels like something a bit more special, but I wanted a simple dress to take with me too. I don't own a lot of dresses and the ones I have made tend to be more summery - this blue floral one and this black one. Seeing as Uni starts in the autumn I needed something that could be worn with tights (those dresses are viscose so don't really feel like winter outfits) and that was a bit smarter.

It was my mum's idea to make a velvet dress. She suggested that I go to Fabric Land to try and find something quickly as I needed to make the dress before I left. Fabric Land is definitely not the kind of place I'd go to for fancy fabrics but it turned out to be perfect for both my jumpsuit and this dress. Considering how much effort I put into choosing a fabric for my prom dress, this was much easier! I chose a black velvet which I think works perfectly. It's a short dress so I can wear it to casual events but the fabric is smart enough that it works for formal dinners. 

I actually wasn't sure about the fabric whilst making the dress. Something about it felt quite underwhelming, maybe because of how plain it is. I also initially added a lining which really didn't work: the velvet has a slight stretch to it but the lining fabric I bought wouldn't budge when I put it on, making the dress much too small. There was a moment of panic when I tried it on with the lining and couldn't get it on, but luckily the dress fit perfectly once I removed the lining! 
I also really like how the velvet looks now that the dress is finished, there's something quite sophisticated about it. I couldn't decide whether or not to add topstitching and in the end added some to the bodice but not everywhere, which I think was the right decision.

Like I said, this dress was made with University in mind. However, earlier on in the year I had planned to use this pattern to make my prom dress. The prom planned for this year wasn't a big event like the one two years ago for which I made a lovely long dress so I had a shorter, simpler dress in mind. Anyway, I made a toile of the Vikisews Courtney Dress and even purchased some fabric to make my prom dress with. The prom was then cancelled, and I decided to keep the fabric for something else rather than making it into a dress. But, in the disorganised way of events run by teenagers, we had our prom put back on at the last minute. By last minute I mean a couple of weeks before hand, so there wasn't a lot of warning! 
Finishing my formal dress in time for prom seemed like the perfect thing to do, it meant that I could get more wear out of the dress and avoid having to get something separate for the prom. Seeing as I had already toiled the Vikisews Courtney Dress I knew I had a good chance of my altered pattern requiring minimal fitting. I also really like the design of this dress so I'm glad to have finally made it with a purpose in mind.   

Making my floral Courtney Dress was a bit of a nightmare. It required a lot of fitting and the fabric is really too thin for a dress. This time, I had perfected the fit of the bodice and knew that I wanted the skirt to be less tight around the hem. I'm so happy that the fitting paid off, I had a couple of moments whilst making this dress where I wasn't sure if it was going to work but the final product is just what I had in mind.

It's really hard to photograph the black fabric but the back has seams running down it like the front making it fit really well. The dress is finished with an invisible zip, always my preferred method of closure.

I think I've finally managed to do this pattern justice! The velvet worked so well, especially for making a more wintery dress. I also think it's a good one for dressing up or down, it's neither really casual nor really formal. In terms of wearing these formal clothes, I wore this dress to prom and I'm also going to an event this evening where I'll be wearing it! I also wore the jumpsuit during my first week of University and really loved it.


  1. Oh yes, very sophisticated especially with those shoes. Jo xxx

  2. A lovely dress and always a good idea to make a dress that you can wear again and again. The fabric choice is timelesss too.