Dinner Party Basel by Honig Design

I absolutely love Elise of Honig Design's style, so when she asked me to try out her first pattern for sale, of course I said yes. Described as being "a modern take on a much-loved 1960s silhouette"--um, so up my alley, right??--the Basel dress is a kimono sleeved dress with a pleated tulip skirt and either a boat- or v-neck front and back.

I made a size 3 bodice and size 4 skirt, then increased the depth of the front pleats and back darts to compensate. This is a pretty easy way to "grade" and if you're only going up or down one size it doesn't affect the shape too much, but I wouldn't suggest it if you're grading up or down more than a couple sizes. Since I omitted the lining (opting instead to use a neckline facing) and used a stretch cotton sateen, my dress ended up a bit too big, but it was a simple fix to take in the sides a bit. Elise mentioned that the other testers didn't have this size issue... Probably because they followed the instructions? I love the neckline and sleeve length, it's super easy to put together, and I actually really enjoyed wearing this skirt shape--it's not my usual! As drafted, it's definitely closer to the longer just-above-the-knee length you see here, not the mini length seen here (I'm 5'7").

Since my dress is more cocktail than casual fall attire (although as my Nana taught me, any dress can be a winter dress if you just wear a turtleneck underneath), I opted for an indoor photoshoot for this one, and wore it for a recent dinner get-together my husband hosted at our house. He's recently been exploring Chinese cuisine--we both love Szechuan food especially and he wanted to show off what he's been learning! He made a huge spread from the cookbooks Lucky Peach 101 Easy Asian Recipes and Mission Chinese Food--so, not 100% authentic, but more so than your standard American Chinese food, and so delicious! Our meal included Chongqing chicken wingsmapo tofu, Sichuan catfish soup (this recipe is close), long beans, and bok choy. So. Good. Thanks Alex! You cook, I'll clean.

Those green beans are the best things ever. Actually the fish soup is my favorite but not very photogenic!

Okay! Back to the sewing--from Elise's introductory blog post (which you should totally read, it's really sweet): "My take is contemporary sewing patterns based on classic silhouettes.  You can find my shop on Etsy, and my first pattern - the Basel Dress is available now.  (It's 25% off with the code honigdesignpatterns until midnight Monday UK time)." I can't wait to see what she comes up with in the future, and in the meantime, you can download her free pattern (this one is just drafted to her measurements, though, fyi).

I've been wondering about kimono sleeve bodices recently--do you think you could use the clean lining technique seen here (aka the best way to finish a bodice ever)? Couldn't you trim 1/2 inch off the lining sleeve hem to finish your sleeve? I don't see why not, but is there something I'm overlooking? Also--any amazing Asian cookbooks to try, Szechuan or otherwise?


ps: after all the guests had gone home, i changed straight away into my new double gauze pajamas. it was a good, handmade night :)

allie J.

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  1. Love it! The fabric is gorgeous, where is it from?

  2. Love the dress! And we've been doing some cooking from the Lucky Peach book too! Awesome!



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