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The Boulanger

Added Sep 7, 2013

by pambox

Sydney, Australia






This dress was made for my good friend Kate’s wedding. I found the lace years ago for $5 at an op shop (thrift shop) near where I used to live. It was obviously a sample piece of fabric that never ended up being used, so I bought it for future when-I-need-to-make-something-fancy times. And an outfit for a wedding was the obvious choice.

I decided to make something very 1920s-inspired, because I figure with so much lace the two options are late 20s/early 30s or 1950s, and I’ve always wanted some deco and flapper-era clothes. Also making something 20s inspired allowed me to finally make something in the style of Louise Boulanger, who’s clothes are amazing. This dress is based on a few of Boulanger’s dresses from around 1928 which featured dropped waists and frothy skirts. I’ve made my dress with an only slightly dropped waist, so it sits right on the top of my hip bones and doesn’t look so costume-y. I decided to use a champagne satin to line the dress, because I wanted it to be as close to my skin colour as possible (like a vintage illusion dress) and so the lace would stand out.

To make the dress, I drafted a simple bodice with a deep v in both front and back. I decided to do a side zipper so that the lace would not be broken up in the back. For the skirt, I simply made three tiered layers of satin and lace and then one more layer of just lace in between the second and bottom tiers. Unfortunately I don’t think it shows up very clearly in the photos. I had to sew the satin and lace of each piece together before I could join any of the pieces together, just to make sure everything sat together properly. The skirt alone has about 6 metres of fabric in it, which also makes it really heavy, even though both fabrics are thin and light. Each tier of the skirt has a circumference of a little over 2 metres, and I had to hand gather it all because that much fabric won’t be gathered by a machine. I used wide bias binding to cover the raw edges of the skirt and bodice when I joined it together, to keep it neat and to hold it in place before doing the main waist seam. I still had to redo most of the waist anyway because sewing together so much fabric is really awkward! But it did work out eventually and without too much difficulty.

The wedding was a wonderful day with great weather, and these photos were taken in the grounds outside the church. The garden really matches the styling! Photos by Ezzles as always.

Material Notes

3.5 metres lavender lace
3.5 metres champagne satin




Garment Type
Evening Wear, Romantic, Vintage
Lace/Sequins, Satin

3 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • File0012_10_large

    Sep 7, 2013, 09.36 PMby jennyrecorder


    1 Reply
    • 100_1411_2__large

      Sep 10, 2013, 11.02 AMby pambox

      Thank you

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    Sep 7, 2013, 09.35 PMby Mary Athey

    This is lovely on you and i’m so impressed with your drafting x

    1 Reply
    • 100_1411_2__large

      Sep 10, 2013, 11.02 AMby pambox

      Thanks – my french curve is so useful!

  • The_mermaid_large

    Sep 7, 2013, 03.05 PMby blueartisan

    I like how you’ve done the dropped waist, it’s very hard to get a dropped waist to flatter anyone but a boy lol Where you’ve done it is the perfect point I think. Looks great!

    1 Reply
    • 100_1411_2__large

      Sep 10, 2013, 11.00 AMby pambox

      Thanks! I kept it just resting on my hip bones and made sure it wasn’t too loose.

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