The fabric is a "poly" (that's what the label said; I guess that's poyester!) which I bought as a 2m remnant from Tessuti Fabrics a while back. It feels like paper taffeta... it's lightweight but quite crisp and structured. When it moves it rustles (love, love, love that) and it holds this sort of big skirt shape really well. There are some fold lines on the fabric but when you crumple it up then smooth it out again, no creases - yay! it's just the sort of fabric you shouldn't even bother TRYING to iron!
I used Vogue 8811 for the dress, a reissue of a 1940 original design - advertised as looking like this:
Once I'd sewn the dress together it was obvious the high neck was going to annoy - it was even too high for my dress dummy! I also felt that the dress needed something dramatic at the neckline to balance out the pouf of the skirt. So I took out my bodice pattern pieces and traced them onto some tissue paper, and then I just drew a nice dramatic wide colllar with a much lower neckline. Because my collar is based on the original flat pattern pieces it fits the bodice well, but I also made it up initially just as facings to review the proportions on the dress. It seemed to look how I wanted, so then I cut it out another couple of times to make the collar - and hooray, it's just the dramatic look I wanted. Oh, if only the dress wasn't so tight!
My side zip is wonky looking - late night hand stitching, after the discovery that the dress was too tight:
My bust darts end way too high:
But I love the look and sound of this dress - the colour, the shape, the rustle - here's the full length view (easier to stand on the sofa to get a full length view than to work out a different place to put the camera):
Seriously, if it didn't FEEL way too tight and uncomfortable I would be drinking champagne right now. From the good glasses!
I'm not going to chuck it out. Who knows, the fabric may grow as it ages or something...
I think this cost me around $47 all up. I wish it fitted.
$28 for 2 metres of fabric. About $5 for the pattern + part postage in one of those Vogue patterns sales. Say $2 for the zipper, bought ages ago for something else. About $4 for sewing needles. $0 for sewing machine thread (an already used reel), and about $8 for overlocker threads.
If you've made this dress yourself or have sharp eyes you may have noticed I didn't quite finish it. I didn't make the belt (does it need a belt? wouldn't that accentuate the tightness?) and I've just overlocked the hem for now (I want a nice invisible hem finish but this fabric takes on puncture marks from needles so I need to think some more before hemming). And I made a couple of changes - the new collar as described earlier, which also meant I didn't need the back neck slit and somehow amazingly also didn't need the shoulder pads.
This is not a hard pattern - the cutting out and sewing were straightforward - but the total elapsed time for me to make this was around 2 weeks: 15 minutes here, 30 minutes there... mind you, we did have a party to organise last weekend too (happy birthday Master UpSewLate xxx), and I did seem to spend a lot of time thinking about this dress when I should have been making it.
Hmm. There are many other patterns and fabrics tempting me, but I could always make this again in a larger size with my identical remnant of the same fabric.... (who buys two identical remnants??? you too?)