A New Gown for a New Year

Earlier this month my husband & I drove up to Toronto to go to Toronto Malanka. Toronto Malanka is a ball to celebrate Ukrainian New Years Eve, (or new years eve by the old calendar). The dress code is black tie & so I had to find a gown to wear.

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With all the craziness in the lead up to Christmas I didn’t have time to make a new gown from scratch, instead I decided modify something I’d made previously. I don’t have many evening gowns but I do have a heap of cocktail dresses that I’ve made over the years & a lot of left over fabric (one of the benefits of buying fabric just because you love it & without any real plans for it).

I took a dress that I loved, which had a separate skirt & bodice, unpicked the skirt & used the leftover fabric to make a new floor length skirt. Don’t worry I didn’t waste the original skirt – I sewed it onto a waistband so I could wear it again.

The new skirt was remarkably simple to make. I started with a base underskirt which was a short hair canvas pencil skirt with a silk organza overlay. For the silk brocade overlay I had a single piece of fabric that was 1.5mx1.5m. To make the skirt I folded the fabric in half, sewed the selvedges together & and one of the cut ends together leaving a small opening for a waistline on the bias (the folded triangle in the picture below is the location of the waistline.

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Once this was done I attached the waistline of the brocade skirt to the underskirt to stabilize the waistband. Then all I had to do was add some clasps to close the skirt & hand stitch the folds in place. All in all it took me a few hours over the weekend & another couple of hours hand stitching after work.

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GownConstruction Detail

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I don’t have much more to say, other than I love this dress.

This dress was the fabric’s fault

I made this dress to wear to a friend’s wedding in March.

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The red & navy silk brocade was a new purchase, but everything else was made with scraps & remnants already in my stash. The side drape is made with a rayon wool blend that I used for another dress, the silk edging is left over lining from the same dress, the corset was made with left over red & navy silk (which was interfaced, prior to sewing) & the dress lining was also made with left over fabric. So turns out it was worth keeping all those random remnants & fabric scraps.

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As well as using up a lot of old remnants, this dress was also a bit of a franken pattern creation. The main bodice is from Simplicity 2639, the skirt is from Vogue V1174 & it’s all held in place with an internal corset made using Simplicity 5006. All three patterns have had a pretty good workout over the past 3-4 years & well & have well & truly cemented themselves in my ‘go-to’ collection.

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The construction process was a little adhoc. I started with the corset. The corset was made as per the pattern & I added spiral steel boning.

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Next was the bodice & dress lining, I modified the neckline of bodice pattern (Simplicity 2639) to match the neckline of the corset pattern (Simplicty 5006), because it’s a softer sweetheart neckline & I prefer it. I cut out the dress bodice & I put the bodice pieces together & attached it to the corset & lining.

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The next step was to add the silk ribbon that runs around the top of the bodice. Rather than drafting up a pattern, I put the bodice on a dummy, arranged the navy silk ribbon the way I wanted it, pinned it in place & then slip stitched it in place.

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Last of all was the skirt. I made up the skirt from V1174. The only alteration I made was to eliminate the pockets. The skirt was stitched in place on the bodice and then I hand stitched the drape in place. The drape is just a rectangle of fabric gathered at the side.

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All in all, the dress came together relatively easily & without any major dramas, which is kind of surprising since I didn’t really do a good job of planning it out.

 

P.S. In case you’re still wondering why this dress was the fabric’s fault, read yesterday’s post.

A Fabric Obsession

Have you ever walked past a fabric store & seen the most amazing fabric OF ALL TIME?

Have you walked in to take a closer look, spent a good 5 mins looking at it, before walking around the store pretending to look at other things while really all your thinking is, ‘I don’t need that fabric, I have heaps at home, but it’s really nice, AND it would make the most beautiful dress, but I don’t need it & I shouldn’t buy things I don’t need….’

Then you leave the store.

Without the fabric.

Then you spend the next month thinking of nothing but that fabric, how beautiful it is, how if you had it you could make the most beautiful dress in the world, you should have bought it, you’re a fool for not buying it, I bet if you go back the store now, you’ll kick yourself because someone else would have bought it all because it’s so nice.

Then you’re walking past the fabric store again, 6 weeks later & you see that the fabric you’ve been obsessing over is still there! So you buy it without even thinking.

No? That hasn’t happened to you? Are you sure?

Well, this happened to me at the beginning of the year, with this stunning navy & red silk brocade.

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I saw it in Clegs at the beginning of the year & I think I spent about 6 weeks obsessing about it, before I actually went back & bought it. I was so glad it was still there!

I have since made this into a dress that I absolutely adore… but more on that tomorrow. 😉