Added Oct 26, 2010
This gown was a last-minute project… I almost decided to just wear vintage to this year’s annual US Navy ball! But 10 days from the event, I decided that I really did want to make a dress, and I wasn’t going to let my previous set-backs (designs that just weren’t gelling) keep me back.
I was inspired by designs of the late 1930s/early 1940s with the flowing, full skirt and classic halter and midriff detail. Fabric wise, I have to admit that this cranberry red crepe-satin was a good choice, even though it wasn’t my first. Although it’s a polyester (I’ll try not to hold that against it), it’s a good quality one, and the drape and weight are amazing–and I adore the color. The bodice is from this pattern, and originally looked like the halter on the pattern envelope. However, after a late-night fitting session and playing around with the neckline a bit, I added the long ties to the back of the neckline. The resulting bow softened the look a bit and draped down the back for some interest.
The skirt is a quarter-circle (and then some for extra fullness!) pattern I drafted myself. I added the shirring detail at the center front, which is evocative of a lot of detailing from the late 1930s/early 40s on both day and evening dresses. There are 11 rows of shirring, which yes, took a bit to do since the fabric is a bit of a pain to work with! But it was totally worth it; the way the front drapes is amazing. Because I’m a stickler for balance in design, I echoed the shirring at the bust at the gathered portions, adding 3 rows there. I toyed with adding something sparkly (rhinestones, sequins, beads), but felt that the fabric was shiny enough on it’s own and I was planning on wearing some sparkly accessories.
The final touches were inserting the zipper using my favorite method , and making a self-fabric belt. I didn’t have a buckle for because this was such a last-minute thing. So I pulled out the handy-dandy button tutorial I posted last week and just made a larger version with a sparkly vintage button in the center. Instant “buckle”! (The belt itself is just closed with a hook and eye and then a snap.)
Be sure to read more on my blog
crepe back satin, georgette
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