Sunday, 11 October 2009

Black evening dress

I know I said I would post about more fabric shopping, but I have been sewing today, so there is a detour.

A few weeks ago, I posted at Stitchers Guild about a dilemma. I am attending a conference next week, at which there is a Saturday night Ball. Initially I was quite excited about the sewing possibilities, but then I discovered that this was a black and white ball. Not a problem for many people, but as I generally look like death warmed up in either black or white, I felt rather disappointed about the theme. I also felt rather scared of sewing a formal dress.
Fortunately, as usual, the ladies at Stitcher's Guild had some very good advice for me. In a nutshell, the overall theme seemed to be, show plenty of skin, and keep the black away from your face.
I started to investigate patterns. Actually I bought patterns.
My early choice was Vintage Butterick 4919, photo credit Butterick patterns
which I really fancied making, and which looked a bit like the glamourous gowns suggested by the ladies at Stitcher's Guild. However, I showed this pattern to my daughters, who both said I would look as wide as I was tall, so this gown was scratched.
Next, I bought some Vogue patterns.
Vogue 1108, photo credit Vogue patterns,

I thought this might be a smart dress, maybe with a smaller bow . I showed it to my husband. He said it looked matronly. Now my husband has an endearing habit of thinking I look the same as I did when we first met, around 22 years ago, so I don't entirely trust his sartorial opininon, but he does not like this dress, and he is attending the dinner with me, so it was scratched too.
I sought some opinions on my Burda magazine collection. My daughters and my husband both liked this dress, BWOF 2008-12-102.
I was not so sure. It is rather bare. However, I have a nice stole as a cover up, only 8 years old (my brother's wedding) and black (no other colours available in the shops at the time), so I thought I would try this pattern.
I have not made a formal evening dress for 17 years. My figure was considerably smaller 17 years ago. I have not worn a formal evening dress for 8 years. My life does not generally call for formal clothing. This is an adventure. Somehow adventure sounds better than "I have no idea what I am doing".
Surprizingly, this dress is not terribly difficult to date. Abolishing the upper chest, shoulders and sleeves elimates a lot of of fitting issues. Remaining are my usual full bust adjustment

O.K. Princess line bodice FBA I can do, but what do you do with this?

I guessed - the lining is wider and longer, so I adjusted the pleated thingy the same amount as the lining horizontally and vertically.
Next was the backside and waist, out at one, and in at the other, so far, so good.

So today I sewed it up in black silk shantung from Gorgeous fabrics. Nearly done, and the only problem is getting in to the dratted thing. Women with my waist/hip ratio need a long zip, but a long zip in a dress with no back means unsightly bubbles at the bum - I will have to lie down to get this dress on! I should have put an extra zip in the side seam. I hope for dressed up photos later in the week. I wonder if my husband still fits into his dinner suit? Knowing him, it will be too big, and I will have to take it in!
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wendy said...

Somehow adventure sounds better than "I have no idea what I am doing".

I think this is my new sewing motto!!! :-D

The muslin looks great... I love the beautiful pleating coming together at the center, it looks so fancy.

Gail said...

Will follow with interest. I'm just about to start on a Year 12 formal dress for my daughter.

LisaB said...

I admire your taking this on.

I enjoyed reading your analysis of the patterns as related to your body type. Your writing style feels like I'm having a conversation with you.

Looking forward to seeing the black dress!

ejvc said...

Ah, the bum bobble - bane of my existence! I believe in dresses with a skirt for that reason. Also side zips.

Carol said...

This looks like the perfect dress for you! The pleats accentuate your tiny waist and will make you look curvy in all the right places and very, very sexy! A small black clutch, perhaps with a big old diamante on the front would look great. I saw a pair of black satin strappy shoes in Byron yesterday that would look great with this dress. I can't wait to see the finished garment on you.

a little sewing on the side said...

This style looks really lovely on you. Great choice!

kiltsnquilts said...

I love the style on you, can't wait to see the finished garment :-)

katherine h said...

Wow, you are going to look glamorous...and we haven't even seen the fabric yet. When I saw the Burda photo I had my doubts, but the muslin is shaping up really nicely. Great adventure.

Sue said...

That fit is looking great and the style looks terrific on you. Can't wait to see the finished version!

Kathi said...

The muslin looks great - I can't wait to see the final dress!! I am sure that will be stunning! And yes, men are disgusting, aren't they??!!

Karin said...

The muslin looks great! I can't wait to see the final result. I bet you'll look very glamorous. Have fun with this adventure ;-)