ESP Picnic Dress (B&W Collection Dress 1)

This is a picture heavy post and I'll keep the comments to a minimum.   This is the first dress is what I'm calling the B&W Collection - a collection of 4 dresses all from black and white prints there were started to making packing and dressing on vacation easier - but I didn't get them finished.   

This is my newest ESP Dress - the picnic dress - now with lowered neckline

This dress is comfortable and easy to wear

I think - slowly - my photos are getting better

I really like my first ESP dresses and they have been in heavy rotation since finishing them.  But I found the neckline a bit too high.  So - I reached out to Decades of Style and asked how to lower the neckline.  I lowered the neckline on this dress 2" and it's just about perfect for me.  Other alterations:  placed center front bodice slightly off center and narrowed the sleeve width by 1.5"

The back fits better than this - but I was moving.
Also - in all honestly -  I could make the bodice a size smaller.

You can kind of see it in the photos above, but this dress has a 2" hem and then I added wide hem lace. 

Decades of Style, graciously, gave me permission to share the information.
That's amazing customer service - at least in my book.

Without further ado - here are the screen shots and instructions from Decades of Style.  (I was not compensated - just a very happy customer!)

First, here are your Front Bodice and Sleeve pieces as is in the pattern

Step 1. Line up the pieces at the front neck corner lining up the seam lines as best you can

Step 2. Extend the line from the top of the sleeve down into the Front Bodice as shown in pink

Step 3. Decide how much you want to lower the neck line and draw it from the center front over to meet the line extended from the Sleeve

Step 4. Draw from the new neck corner down to the Sleeve notch

Step 5. Cut along the newly drawn lines separating into 2 pieces as shown in pink

Step 6. Move the piece from the Bodice sleeve seam over to the Sleeve piece and attach

I hope you find this helpful!  I have to admit - it was a bit scary doing this alteration, but it worked!  And it was fairly easy given the instructions and screen shots.  Now - my neckline really looks square - where in the first version, not so much.  

What's the scariest alteration you've ever attempted?  And did it work?


  1. I love this dress on you! Using the red accents really makes the dress pop. And you're right the pictures are getting soooooo much better. I'm so proud of you and JB!

  2. Love the black and white - so versatile and easy to dress up or down.

  3. Oh, my favorite! This looks fabulous on you! I also love how you use hem lace. You and Carolyn are always adding little details like that to your dresses. I'm going try that alteration on my next one. Decades of Style gals are always so great at answering questions and giving advice.

  4. The dress looks great on you! And thanks for the alteration instructions--this is helpful info as I hate necklines that feel like they're choking me.

  5. That a really cute dress and I can see how that is a favorite to be stitch up again and again.

  6. Great dress! I think your photos look great, and how cool the Decades of Style let you share the alteration!

  7. You make me feel like a slacker. I've never made a muslin first addition and whatever changes I make I just make them as I go along, no notes or even much thought. I do combine patterns sometimes but I just don't put that much thought into it. Still, most of my adventures have been successful. On occasion I just don't like the end product for some reason, but I've never had a major fitting problem.

  8. Nice alteration and very pretty dress! You look lovely.

    To answer your question, I only find last minute alterations scary -- anything with a deadline. I know I can always make an alteration work... eventually lol.

  9. I love this dress on you. Great job on lowering the neckline, and thanks for sharing that information and the drawings.

  10. Love it! The red accessories are perfect with the black and white gingham.

  11. Love it.. Looks so pretty with the red..
    thank you for sharing the alterations.. I think I am going to buy this pattern..Really cute.

  12. This looks gorgeous on you, I like the lower neckline.

  13. I'm glad you were able to share the images, i can't wait to make one with a lowered neckline. This dress looks great in gingham and your pictures look very nice too! That third one is beautiful!

  14. It's really a pretty dress, and the red belt and shoes are perfect with it! I made 2 summer dresses last weekend, and on Wednesday/Thursday night I had made a dress for my mother in law's funeral. Shannon is coming up this weekend so likely no sewing...


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