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Why Don’t You . . . ? Amp Up That Little Black Dress with Paillettes

The year was 2014, and I was in my sophomore season as a Mood Fabrics blogger. That inaugural band of sewists was as inspiring as the ambassadors here at Threads. Their skill and experience made me want to devour every technique, seek out new fabrics, and try every style.

Maybe that’s why I decided to make a little black dress. It’s garment that has never seen daylight, at least not since these old, cold January photos. Because little black dress + technicolor sewist adds up to a zero in my book.

Marcy Harriell wearing a little black dress viewed from the back and front

Unpacking the problem

I loved the fit and feel of this dress. The Lycra/wool-blend jersey married beautifully with By Hand London’s Georgia dress, and I was sure my addition of a whimsical fringed hem would solve the problem of hue. It did not.

Yet, it has survived. Because everyone who has a mind to wear a dress should have an LBD in their arsenal, right? Except that after leaving it to hang in my closet for seven years, I’ve proven to myself that I’m not going to wear a little black dress.

It was time to make the dress fit the wearer, in every sense of the word. Enter my next Diana Vreeland challenge:

Why Don’t You . . . go to the theater in a black tweed evening suit with a jacket embroidered in brilliant paillettes?

Paillettes. What a gorgeous word. I wasn’t about to make another black ensemble, but adding some technicolor to my only existing handmade noir piece sounded like the update I needed to make to get it off the hanger and back out into the world.

Colorful, oversized paillettes strewn across a pink gridded cutting mat

Finding my color

I scoured New York’s Garment District for some wild, oversized options but found my technicolor palette of paillettes online. These double-sided sequins…

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