Thursday, January 3, 2013

Semiformal Dress

I've been procrastinating on making a dress for my school's semiformal dance, which is in a week.  I thought that if I wrote about it as I make it, I would be able to see my progress and that would encourage me to keep working.

I'll start by giving a bit of background about the dress.  Ever since I took a corsetry class in October, I knew that I wanted the dress to have a corset bodice -- both for the waist-cinching that it provides and for the general hullaballoo about wearing a corset.  At some point, I decided that I wanted a big 1950s-esque skirt.  I think at around the same time I also decided that I wanted to have some form of netting over the skirt (for elegance) and as a kind of partlet over my chest (to give some sense of modesty).

I looked at images of 1950s/1960s dresses from Mad Men and authentic sources (ie, whatever shows up in a Google search or comes across my Tumblr dashboard) and also images of modern dresses with the kind of netting I was imagining.
From a 1941 movie about the 1840s
(The Flame of New Orleans)

From a 2007 TV show about the 1960s
(Mad Men)

Alice Lon, a 1950s singer/dancer known for her petticoats

1955 wedding dress

Veronica Lake, 1941

Fire and Whispers by pure-insomnia

Russian designer Ulyana Sergeenko
Originally, I had thought that the dress would be black and light blue, with the petticoat and netting being black and the skirt and corset being blue.  I would find the blue for the corset in the remnants box at F&S Fabrics (on Pico Blvd) and then match the color in a cheap fabric for the skirt.  To spice it up, I would add some beading or sequins to the skirt and bodice, time permitting.

In reality, I did not find any blue in the remnants box that I liked, but I did find 1 3/4 yards of an interesting knit gold fabric.  My plans changed to a simple gold bodice and a black skirt, which is also better for my budget.



So far, I have finished the skirt (except for topstitching in gold around the bottom) and figured out how to cut out the fabric for the petticoat.

I got smart and cut the fabric on my mother's kitchen island, which is raised.  The circle skirt pattern can be found here, but be warned that the measurements are the diameter, rather than radius (length)!

My goals for today are:
  1. cut out the petticoat fabric
  2. sew each tier together
  3. baste + gather the tiers (bottom to middle, middle (1) to top, middle (2) to top)
  4. finish the waistband with bias tape, sew on hooks
  5. get out to the fabric store to get stuff for the fashion show
  6. work on sizing the corset pattern, add some to top for boobage control
I will post again tonight with my progress!

UPDATE:


I grossly underestimated the time that cutting about seven yards of fabric would take.  I promised to post my accomplishments last night, but by the time I finished what I could do it was 3 AM in Los Angeles so I opted to go straight to bed.  I cut out the fabric and sewed almost all the strips in each tier together. 

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