21.8.10

Cocktail Dress

This is the dress I made to wear to a fundraiser cocktail party last night.  It is not the sort of occasion where I feel most comfortable, so I was going for understated.  Personally though, I find it hard to tell the difference between "understated" and "boring".

 I drafted the skirt part of the dress myself.

The bodice was taken from Vogue 1174.  I ordered the pattern before there were any reviews for it on PR, which is a shame because I forgot that Vogue puts in too much ease on strapless dresses.  On my usual size, based on measurements, there was 4 cm of ease across the bust, which is excessive for a strapless dress.  The foundation has your typical princess seams.  The outer bodice has both horizontal and vertical seaming, which doesn't show up well in my photo, but can been seen easily on the pattern line drawing.  I found it really difficult to adjust the pattern to fit, because of the combination of personal fitting issues and starting with a pattern that was way too big.  In the end I made a muslin of the foundation.  When I got that right, I drew on the seam lines for the bodice, and then cut up the foundation to make the pattern pieces for the bodice.  In the end I made 2 muslins before the final dress.  The final dress ended up being a smidge loose in the midriff, which gave a few wrinkles because the waist stay was tighter than the dress.  Making the muslins and pattern was a bit of work, but I do want to make up V1174 as per the pattern photo, so all this work will get an airing on a second dress.


In the photo of the foundation below, you can see that I used elastic, rather than grosgrain ribbon, for the waist stay.  I read about this possibility in the Summer 2007 edition of sew stylish, and thought it sounded like a much more comfortable option.  I put on the foundation, then did up the waist stay over the top, and marked where the elastic lined up with the seam-lines.  I attached the elastic by stitching it to the vertical seam-lines of the foundation.



In the next photo, you can see that I left openings in the back seams of the lining to pass through the ends of the stay.  The waist stay certainly did its job, as we danced like it was 1989 all night (I'm sure you know the song list!) and I did not have to hitch up my dress even once.


The dress was made from a piece of silk dupioni that I picked up from the remnant table at Gardams.  The lining is polyester that I bought locally.  I always think it is a shame to use a poyester lining on a silk dress, but I do not have much choice locally.  I was pleased that I could get such a good colour match.

Yesterday morning I made a bag to complete the outfit.  I had ordered a bundle of mystery remnants which arrived during the week.  I was hoping that there would be something in amongst the remnants that would be suitable for a bag, and I think that this piece of silver brocade was perfect.  The sewing gods have provided!  I used Vogue 8527.  This is the fourth bag that I have made from this pattern.  Recently, I got my will made up.  The lawyer, who knows me, asked if I was going to leave my collection of dresses to anybody.  As I was sewing this bag, I had visions of great-great-grand-daughters opening up a box to find 15 bags in the same style but different fabrics.  I guess when you're onto a winner...

12 comments:

  1. The dress looks gorgeous, and I LOVE the elastic waist stay idea. (Am filing that away for later use.) Great bag as well.

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  2. Very pretty bag. I also have made Vogue 8527 twice and have just cut it out a third time. I keep going back to this pattern, maybe because it holds quite a bit and unlike many of my handbag patterns, has a zipper closure.

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  3. It all looks like it came together fabulously. The bag is stunning! I think you need to post another photo of the dress though. It's hard to make out the detail and I was particularly looking forward to admiring the details on the bodice after seeing the muslin. I love the length. I'd also like to get a better look at the shoes, if that's not too much to ask. Perhaps I'm being a touch demanding.

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  4. Lovely dress and bag! I have this bag pattern so must dig it out and give it a go.

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  5. Amazing bag, I love it!

    The dress looks fab on you. I like how you made the skirt. And great colour!

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  6. Wow - more very impressive sewing. The bag is very chic, and the dress amazing. Well we all know what can go wrong with a strapless top that is not properly fitted - so great job perservering with that one and it getting it to stay put all night!

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  7. It's definitely not boring! I, too, like the idea of the elastic waist - although I'm sure I'll never have occasion to make & wear a cocktail dress. I think it's hilarious that you were imagining bequeathing your collection of handbags. Sewists have different brain wiring than other people do.

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  8. I thoroughly appreciate all the work you have put into this dress and purse, they're fabulous. You look great, so the hard work definitely paid off! I'm going to check out this purse pattern!

    I'm wondering where you order your mystery remnants?

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  9. That dress is gorgeous! Great fit, and I love the color - beautiful and understated, not boring at all.

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  10. Very pretty dress. And, it was a test of your sewing skills as well! Fabulous bag also!

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  11. I'm very impressed by the interior of this garment. My boning of the first strapless I made was very iffy indeed.

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