Friday, July 30, 2010

Takes the Bronze

My new cocktail dress...
I'm kind of in love with it.  Wish I could be wearing it all day, if that was in all way appropriate (might attract a few sideways glances in the supermarket, for one)  And as for my work in the office... well the pussycats might appreciate that I went to the effort.  Oh, hey you look great, but really, you shouldn't have.  Not for us.  Just going to be vying for prime position on your lap as usual, is all...
 I did meet some gals for morning tea this morning, but as I was easily the most dressed up (in exactly this outfit, my new favourite since I finished it, and have worn it three times in the last three weeks now) then the new cocktail dress would have been a tad overkill.  Sadly.
The flavour of this design is kinda eighties, I reckon.  The silhouette is reminiscent of the costumes we were treated to on Dynasty; the exaggerated shoulders (and how cool are they?!!!!) the peplum.  The mid-knee length.  The clever designer of this pattern however has taken the essence of that genre and given it a modern little twist.  The asymmetry of the collar treatment.  The jagged uneven teeth on that peplum.  I think that's why I was drawn to this new design.  Classic shape but with an edgy funky strangeness about it.  A slightly off, not very faithful interpretation of a shape now considered way old hat.

Dress; Vogue 1155, "antique" silk taffeta
Shoes; Misano, from Labels
Bag; gift from my husband, early on in our marriage

Pattern Description
Semi-fitted, lined, above mid-knee length, fully interfaced dress has princess seams, midriff, peplums, two piece short sleeves, wrap front with buttons, hook and eye closures
Pattern sizing
6-12.  I cut size 10
Did it look like the drawing/illustration on the patten envelope after you had finished sewing it?
yes, except I had added 7.5 cm to the overall length, and ended up overlapping the fronts a bit more to get better coverage
Were the instructions easy to follow?
The instructions were clear.  Bear in mind this is an Advanced/Plus Difficile pattern.  There is a rather bewildering instruction in one part; steps 28-31 would have you sew the midriff section to the bodice, then sew the midriff facing at the ends of the midriff only, turn right side out and handsew the top level of the facing on the inside.  (??)  A far better method to complete this part is the traditional way, ie, right sides of the midriff and midriff facing together encasing the bodice, the sew the three layers together in one clean seam.  This is how I did it.
What did you particularly like/dislike about this pattern?
I love the design, and how it looks.  Totally love those sharp out-there shoulders.  It has pockets!  How many evening dresses have pockets? precious few and there should be more...
The shape is a little boxy for my tastes and not as fitted as I would have liked, so I made a few fitting alterations to get a bit more shape into it.  I  also didn't like how the entire dress was to be interfaced.  Iron on interfacing has it's rightful place, but for an entire dress?  I don't think so...
Fabric used:
Silk taffeta, or silk dupion
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
The instruction to apply fusible interfacing to every piece gave me pause.  Eventually, because I was using very stiff fabric which has a lot of its own body already, I decided to just interface the facings, as traditionally.  I also interfaced the sleeve cap pleats once sewn in place, as these need to be quite stiff to look good.
I added 7.5cm to all skirt and skirt facing pieces, as I thought the dress looked very short on the pattern photograph.
Step 28-31, sewed the midriff facing and midriff to the bodice in one clean seam, rather than in the piecemeal method outlined in the instructions.
I have a narrow torso, and removed about 3cm width here overall,  graduated around each of the midriff sections. When it came to sewing on the buttons and hook and eye closures it was still a little loose about the midriff and the skirt gaped a little more than was comfortable for me, so I also overlapped the front pieces a little more (another 3cm) than indicated in the instructions.  Overlapping the fronts a bit more gave a better fit for me and made me feel better covered up.
Would you sew it again?  Would you recommend it to others?
I might sew it again.  I wouldn't mind a black version now!  I would recommend this pattern to advanced seamstresses who like garments with an edgy look, as well as a sewing challenge.
Well, I adore my dress!  Although I reckon this could be categorised as much a coat as a dress.  The construction is just like a lined coat.  And the closure, very coat-like too.  But I feel very modern and sharp in this and am excited about wearing it to special occasions!

Later edit: You WILL need a petticoat or slip with this dress as it gapes considerably when you are seated.  I made one using Burda 8071 in silk satin of the same colour, sitting 2cm shorter than the dress.  It works beautifully.  To see the slip, go here.


  1. It looks great!I'd say it would be perfect for having tea with some friends, but maybe I picture another kind of enviroment for that :-) Anyway, you look stunning and very sharp in it!

  2. WOWOWOW! I saw the pattern some time ago, but it didn't impress me much. However, I love it on you! It's not much different from the original, but it looks magnificent on you. The color also suits you so well. Bravo!

  3. Gorgeous! All asymmetric details look great, and I love how sharp shoulders are. It looks even better then on a model.

  4. Aaaah, goorgeous! And I do prefer your version to the one on the pattern envelope, although they look a lot alike. Only your fit is better, and I like the extra overlap.
    Could you make it as a black wool two-piece maybe? You could then wear it to less formal occasions.
    Or make the top-bit in linen, as a jacket. That'd look great too.
    I've seen the pattern online and liked it, nice to see a "real" version of it!

  5. oh, very lovely. I think a fun shape for you too. It almost seems like in a different fabric it might be business appropriate? I dunno ... this looks so much fun to wear!

  6. Very Impressive!! I really like your blog too and have joined your followers.

    If you get chance please check out my blog. It’s in its very early days but I'm holding a little vintage giveaway. If you’re interested its

    Vikki xx

  7. This is such a beautiful design. I love how unique it is, the uneven peplum and the collar asymmetry of the collar.

  8. That is gorgeous! It's like that origami you see sometimes. and think, how on earth did they make something that detailed out of what was once a 2-d form.

  9. This looks great! I have this pattern too and you may have inspired me to add it to my fall looks.

  10. Holy cats, that's gorgeous! I don't think it's 80s at all. It's got a modern quality with the asymmetry and those terrific shoulder pads. You look incredible in it!

  11. Absolutely stunning! I love the color of the fabric, and the details of this dress are very impressive.

  12. Wow what a beautiful dress. I like the asymmetry of this design also and paused to consider the pattern. You really did an amazing job putting this together. Enjoy wearing it every chance you get!

  13. Fantastic result yet again Carolyn. At first glance I thought I saw the bag featured in the latest threads magazine. I have not had time to attempt making one yet but have joined a sewing group so hopefully I will get started on an outfit for the spring luncheon.

    I am also looking forward to catching up with your mum and viewing her Sydney fabric purchases tonight. Bet you are too:-)

  14. OMG I can't believe that you made this dress. I thought that it looked super hard and super awesome. I'm so excited to see it made up! You did a fabulous job on it! And it looks great on.

  15. you LOOK very modern and sharp in it, too! One day I'll be able to sew like this...
    Thanks for the inspiration, you look fab!

  16. WOW! This looks amazing, and whle I see what you mean with your dynasty references, I do this this is really modern looking. Your dress looks much better then the picture that comes in the pattern. Nice job!

    xoxo, Ashley

  17. That's an fantastic dress. I totally love the style and you look fabulous in it!