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Message Board > Plus Size Sewing > Plus sized formal wear ( Moderated by JEF)

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Plus sized formal wear
I have been invited to a Gala and I have nothing to wear!
Andi
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Andi
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Date: 3/1/13 11:07 AM

Hi All!

I am hoping you can help me get on the right path!

I am a tree-hugging, 50yo, plus sized person, and I hav ebeen invited to a black tie gala. All of the "beautiful" people from our child's school will be there.(it is a fund raiser for the school). I would never consider going b/c it is not in our budget, but a friend has a table thru work and asked us. I really can't get a picture of what to wear/make. I am narrow in the shoulders, wide in the hips. I do not know yet if I have to do floor length or not, but honestly, floor length makes shoes less of a problem. I look good in classic shilouettes. Black looks good on me, and I love brights. I am thinking of staying away from prints. I also do not like sparkles and metallics. Maybe a 2 piece dress? And I do not feel good in sleeveless...was thinking 3/4 sleeve?

All I can thing of is a dress I used to wear YEARS ago, and I am worried that I cannot get a fresh take on this. I am feeling very "middle aged" altho I feel 25 not 50! Any help you can give would be great! Thanks! Andi
-- Edited on 3/1/13 11:11 AM --

EleanorSews
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EleanorSews  Friend of PR
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In reply to Andi <<
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Date: 3/1/13 4:11 PM

Oh...it's so hard when you have this image of an old favorite...

Here's one approach...for a holiday formal event, my sister (also plus sized) had a lace skirt made and wore a 3/4 sleeve v-neck top made from slinky. She looked very nice. I don't know what pattern they used 'cause I don't sew for her.

But, what about something like this? Kwik Sew 3468

You could consider the plain top with a lace skirt or a simple drapey skirt (think maybe a black poly charmeuse) and then a top or a cardigan and shell made from a pretty evening wear fabric or perhaps a deep toned sari fabric. My tendency is to avoid overly bright colors and prints, going for texture and tone-on-tone. JoAnn's has some reasonable dressy fabrics that are not sparkly. Think lace maybe or something with embroidery. But, go, look and try to step outside your comfort level a tiny bit for something a little more glamorous. You might surprise yourself!

ETA: Depending on the timing of this event, going with a basic pattern but lovely fabric might be a less stressful approach.
-- Edited on 3/1/13 4:12 PM --

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"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." Anais Nin

"Attitude is the difference between an adventure and an ordeal." unknown

carry
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Date: 3/1/13 4:51 PM

Hi Andi. I'm going to make Mcalls 6552 a fashion star pattern that came out last year.It is kind of bohemian and tree huggery and appeals to me for its 70's caftan styling.I could see it with a knit drapey bodice and silky skirt or one of the more modern big graphic prints or a kind of ethnic look.I think i'm going for Batik.Don't do black, choose your favorite color that will make you feel happy-it should be fun.Think this might work?

DonnaH
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DonnaH
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Date: 3/1/13 5:09 PM

Pick a silhouette that you feel comfortable in, and "formal" it up a bit.

One way might be to wear a simple maxi dress (in a plain knit or light weight woven) that you could wear at a non-black tie event, and add a topper in a very dressy fabric (a sari print or iridescent/2-toned silk for example).

A jacket is the most obvious choice, but it could be a shrug or capelet or (if sheer and fancy enough) even a poncho!

I would choose both the fabric and pattern of the topper first - and then find a maxi dress pattern with a coordinating neckline, and choose a color that goes with your topper fabric.

Another option, if you are willing to wear chiffon or the like, is palazzo pants. That would help w/ the shoe options as well! Pair them w/ a short tunic or medium length silk jacket (that you don't take off). You could also go w/ a flowy top in the same chiffon, but be careful of looking like you went the Scarlet O'Hara route (and made the outfit from your curtains, lol).

ETA - I agree, don't go all black, but if you normally wear a lot of it, making part of the outfit black would be OK. Go for something you like (even if it's a neutral like navy or taupe).

As for your "old" dress - maybe some shopping is in order (not buying, lol, just shopping) go to Dillard's or a similar store (in person you can even try on if you find something interesting and see how you look in the silhouette) or online look for formal wear or mother of the bride stuff (this site even has a separate section for formal dresses with sleeves!). See if anything is similar to what you remember - most styles are tweaked a bit to make them modern. Just add that (or subtract) to your new vision.
-- Edited on 3/1/13 5:16 PM --

schmammy
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Date: 3/1/13 7:55 PM

Last summer I made this as my mother of the groom dress. I used a fantastic azure silk dupioni and made it floor length. I'm 5'3" and wear a16W in RTW tops/dresses. I had never undertaken anything like this and certainly never had cut into fabric that pricey ($42/yd). The pleats were easy to do and marvelously camouflaged my (ahem) figure challenges. I enjoyed lots of compliments throughout the grand event.

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Indecision may or may not be my problem. -Jimmy Buffet

http://chihuahuaonmylap.blogspot.com/

carry
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In reply to schmammy <<


Date: 3/1/13 10:43 PM

Did you ever post a picture of YOUR dress?I followed all the discussions and put in my 2 cents a few times and wondered how it all turned out. I hope you enjoyed all the fun for the wedding and I'm sure you looked wonderful..carry

hazelnut
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In reply to Andi <<


Date: 3/2/13 1:10 AM

These styles are very similar to what I purchased as my RTW Mother of the Groom dress (floor length), and this style actually looked a lot better on my short, plus-sized bod than I ever dreamed it would. There are two styles KS plus size and almost the same style in the KS misses. Mine was probably more like the fushia misses style, with a more scalloped top hem, though it ended a little lower than the misses (dipping just past high hip) like the plus top. I think your fabric choices could make or break this style, but if I was looking for a formal pattern, these would definitely be in the running. HTH's

PollyBee9
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Date: 3/2/13 2:26 AM

I made up Butterick 3843 (sorry, I don't know how to post a link to the pattern picture) in champagne satin for a mother of the bride. She was large and a definite "pear" and the two-piece cross-over view worked great for her. She was pleased and it really looked nice on her. I will admit, though, that the cross-over bodice almost drove me crazy.

goodworks1
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thumbsup 1 member likes this.
Date: 3/2/13 5:30 PM

If it were me and I didn't think I'd be going to many of these sorts of events I'd try for something I might be able to wear again later in a more casual way.

So I'd probably buy one of these black rayon skirts:
Black Rayon Skirt

and add some color on the top. Or some sparkly earrings or necklace. Or a silky scarf. I'd be tempted to check out the local thrift shop for some bling that I could wear once and donate back to the shop.... Seriously, I'm 'allergic' to bling, generally, (and truly allergic to wool) so my wardrobe tends to be cotton, linen and some rayon. Not very black-tie friendly, so I sympathize. In fact I'll be going to a similar event again this month (once a year is generally my max!) and the above is my plan....

-- Edited on 3/2/13 5:35 PM --

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blog: goodworks1.wordpress.com

Kim12469
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Date: 3/3/13 10:12 PM

I love the idea of separates. I bought this same fabric to make this skirt for a party I was supposed to go to but never went. I was going to make a pretty faux wrap top in black velvet.

Butterfly skirt

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http://kimsewsilly.blogspot.com/

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