October 15, 2018

'Tis the Season for Sewing Party Dresses

Over here at Needle Sharp, I'm living a retail schedule. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of working in a retail store, let me explain: Everything you do is roughly two to three months ahead of schedule. Back to School starts in June (a thought that makes the kid in me cry just a little bit). Valentine's Day kicks off on January 2. And, I guarantee you that at Walmarts, Targets, Best Buys and Barnes and Nobles across the country, they are frantically preparing to switch over to Christmas right now. 

I know, I know, that's crazy! It's not even Halloween yet!! But, then again, the Halloween candy went out in grocery stores in mid-August, so that argument sort of reinforces my point. 

Retail throws your whole schedule all out of wack!

All of this is to say that I've been dreaming of Christmas sewing since early September. And when I think of Christmas sewing, I think of pretty, party dresses. Christmas is one of those seasons when we get an excuse to break out our most glamorous outfits and celebrate while dressed to the nines. And who doesn't want to take advantage of that?

Serendipitously, an instagram hashtag has even popped up this month called #sewfrosting to celebrate this pursuit, frosting being a term coined by Tasia from Sewaholic Patterns to mean "impractical makes" versus cake, those everyday makes that you probably generally stick to (I know I do). 

So that's what this box is – a celebration of frosting. Because sometimes, you just want to make a fancy party dress! 

AND, if party dresses aren't enough to get you excited, I have some even more fabulous news! This month, we are introducing a fourth box to our family of sewing kits.

Say hello to our new Curvy Box!!!


This box has always been on my dream list of things to offer. In fact, it was number one, top of the list, to do as the store expands. And now, one year after we launched, we're finally in a position to do this. Squeee!

And honestly, it couldn't be a better month to do this. Party dresses are one of those pieces of clothing that should make everyone feel gorgeous, regardless of size. 

I'm a firm believer that sewing your own clothes gives you an intimate knowledge of your own body and helps you celebrate all those curves and idiosyncrasies that make you you. I sometimes joke that sewing will make you discover everything that is unique about your body, but oddly, I feel more confident about how I look since starting to sew my own clothes than I ever did before. And I know this is the case for lots of fellow sewers out there. Sewing is empowering, y'all!

Thankfully there are a bunch of great pattern designers who feel this way too, and with their catalog, I can now offer boxes that are both size-inclusive and downright gorgeous.

Curvy Box: Upton Dress by Cashmerette Patterns 

When coming up with this range of boxes, it was a no brainer that Cashmerette would play a big part in them. And the Upton Dress is such a lovely and versatile pattern. Depending on fabric choice, it can be a glamorous cocktail dress or an everyday work/weekend dress. 

Obviously, for this month, we're going the glamorous route. The three fabrics I've chosen transform the simple style lines into statement dresses, perfect for any party, date night or wedding you throw at it.

Curvy Box Upton Dress

  • Blue and White Floral Stretch Poplin - A large-scale floral fabric makes an instant statement. Such is the case with this royal and turquoise blue stretch poplin. Set against a white background, the flowers really pop, and they will make you feel like you're in your own private garden when you wear this dress. And, oh, did I mention the stretch? Just the right amount of it will make this dress nice and wearable.
  • Black, Gray, Blue Diamond Stretch Jacquard - It's hard to tell from the picture, but these little diamonds are layers of color: blue inside grey inside black. Wonderfully soft and stretchy, this fabric will wear beautifully and work for all sorts of occasions. From afar, it will look like a simple charcoal dress, but the closer you get, the more interesting it becomes. Draw people to you with your allure and then dazzle them with your style!
  • Black Stretch Sateen - It only seemed appropriate to have a little black dress in our first curvy box. Make this dress and you have your go-to dress for the foreseeable future. Pair it with a statement necklace or a cute jacket and you have your date night look. Or what about a fabulous belt? Or boots?  Or a vibrant scarf? I can't stop thinking of possibilities!

Lightweight Box: Belladone Dress from Deer and Doe Patterns 

I've been eyeing the Belladone Dress since I learned about Deer and Doe. It looks so simple in the front, but THAT BACK! I swoon! 

Because of the simple lines, it's a perfect canvas for fabrics with a lot of interest, and in this case, I went for sheen. You can really up your glamour with just a little bit of satin weave or metallic thread. So that's what these fabrics are. Time to get shiny!

Lightweight Box Belladone Dress

  • Black Cotton Sateen - With the little peekaboo back, this is the perfect pattern to create an out of the ordinary little black dress. The sateen has just enough body to show off the pleats of the skirt, and the cotton content will make the angles of the back crisp and bold. Say hello to your new favorite everything dress.
  • White and Gold Geometric Jacquard - I saw this fabric and knew I wanted to use it for this dress. Thin gold threads are woven into geometric rectangles on a cream background. It's almost architectural in appearance and it's just subtle enough to wow everyone around it without blinding them. And we don't want them blind! We want them wondering where you bought that dress!
  • Black and Bronze Baroque Jacquard - Sticking with the metallic theme I have going, this fabric transports me to 17th century and it's wonderful fabrics. Maybe I spent too much time staring at chair cushions on my recent trip to London, but I'm okay with that. This soft, surprisingly thin fabric is just plain gorgeous. And it will sew up into a gorgeous party dress. 

Medium Weight Box: Macaron Dress from Colette Patterns

I'm pretty sure the Macaron Dress is one of the first patterns from Colette, and it's stuck around this long because of it's classic styling and color-blocking potential. Plus, those sleeves have such sweet detailing that it really elevates the pattern. And, hey, pockets!

For fabrics, I decided to embrace the color-contrast of the bodice. And I'll admit, one is almost a copy of the sample, but, hey, it's a really good look. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? Let's take a look:

Macaron Dress Medium Weight Box

  • White and Beige Paisley Sateen with Silk Voile Contrast - The simple weave of sateen combines beautifully with an intricate pattern of beige-gold paisley swirls set against a white background. Silky smooth, in oh-so-sewable cotton, this fabric looks like brocade without all the hassle. Combined with a semi-sheer silk/cotton voile for the top bodice, and you have a bright and party dress that will make you feel like a snow queen.
  • Cherry Red Sateen with Red Lace Contrast - If holiday parties aren't the best time to wear red, I don't know what is. A true red (no orangy tones here), this sateen will fill you with seasonal cheer. For the top, I've paired a paisley cotton/nylon lace that matches the sateen perfectly. A fantastic combination!
  • Black Diamond Dobby Jacquard with Sheer Black Chiffon Contrast - From afar, this fabric looks like simple black sateen, but up close, there is a really subtle diamond pattern thanks to the dobby weave. Paired with a semi-sheer black chiffon, you'll have a stand-out black dress that shows just the right hint of skin. 

Heavyweight Box: Elsie Dress from Sew Over It

It's been a minute since there has been a Sew Over It pattern in any of the boxes. But they are back with a vengeance here with one of the gorgeous dresses that are really a staple of their designs. 

Elsie has the quintessential fit and flare dress styling, with a fitted bodice and a lovely pleated skirt. With the classic style lines, I chose to really up the fabric quality. This box is all kinds of lush. So here they are:

Heavyweight Box Elsie Dress

  • White Metallic Heavyweight Linen - This white linen is woven into a twill weave, then brushed with a metallic silver finish. The result is a beautiful, natural fabric with flashes of shine. Because it's linen, it will wear amazingly. And with the bright, simple color, it will be good for all seasons. A great dress for whenever you want to party!
  • Rose Gold Sequins with Blush Pink Silk Shantung - I must admit, this fabric choice was partly inspired by the gold sequin jumpsuit from Crazy Rich Asians. And while a dress made entirely of sequins would be absolutely to die for, the drape of the fabric doesn't quite lend itself to the skirt of the Elsie Dress. That's why we've paired the sequins for the bodice with a full-bodied silk shantung for the skirt. Together, you'll have a hands-down, knockout dress and your new favorite party look.
  • Royal Emerald Green Silk Dupioni - I love a good green, and the holidays is a great time to break one out of your closet. Vibrant and saturated, this jewel-toned silk dupioni will show off the skirt's pleats and fitted bodice. Plus, the slubs in the fabric will add visual interest and shine. Just a gorgeous green "frosting", if you ask me.

Well, that's it! The boxes for this month. I'm already at the point where I want to make every one. It's totally normal to have a closet full of fabulous party dresses, right?

And don't forget, we're sending out swatches on the 20th so if you haven't signed up or if you want to add the Curvy Box to your selection, follow this link to do so.

Until next month, happy sewing!





  • Hi Kathleen, the boxes are in our shop, under the menu item: Our Kits.

    Or you can find them at the link here: https://needle-sharp.com/collections/current-boxes/products/curvy-box-december

    Needle Sharp on

  • How do I order a curvy box?

    Kathleen on

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