...fabric for the Adventurous Sewist

The difference between 1950’s glam and 1980’s retro? I’d say three inches!

Posted by Maree Cunningham on

My Dior inspired gown hasn’t quite gone to plan as I feel I have ended up with 80’s retro.
I hate to say it, but I think my dress, is going to end up at the back of the wardrobe, never to see the light of day as I consider this.. a failure...
’A failure ? ‘ I hear you question. ‘Seriously?!’
Well... it hasn’t quite turned out as planned.. so it falls into the sewing failure pile..
I know.. anyone that struggles to sew on a button is always amazed at how someone else can knock up a fully lined dress with ease and can not understand why they would consider their latest make a sewing failure.
I was going for Dior inspired glamour, using Dior’s Aladdin dress from the 1953 Vivante line as my inspiration. The moment I saw this dress in the V&A a few weeks back when I took my niece to see the ‘Designer of dreams’ exhibition I just knew I had to re-create the dress.
However it has ended up a couple of inches short so that 1950’s glam I was going for screams 1980’s bubble skirt.
 
As a sewist of 30 years, I know I should have added a couple of inches to the skirt length, just to be sure it ended where it was suppose too. But as I was trying to be frugal with my fabric purchase / pattern repeat and I didn’t.
I really should have known better.
So I have ended up with a 1980’s bubble / balloon skirt, call it what you will. Hubby’s first comment was that it reminded him of the girls at prom! Clearly we are both teenagers of a certain era and even growing up on opposite sides of the planet- he is English, I’m an Aussie, we have still managed to share those classic 80’s fashion moments that are truly iconic.
So after my latest make I would now define the difference between 1950’s glamour and 1980’s retro - as three inches!
Overall, yes, I am happy with my dress even if I am 3 inches short for 1950’s glam that I was going for.
It’s not what I would consider perfect and I am a little hesitant to wear it out as it’s not really what I wanted.. but... I can live with it... or I could unpick the bubble part of my skirt and end up with a lovely drop waist double box pleat dress.. that should really have bright pink skirt lining!
Maybe I’ll wear it to Disney first and then see how I feel.
 
Make details.
For the Bodice I used a vogue options pattern from my stash V8019 and tweaked the styling a little to suit my design. The bodice is fully lined and boned complete with waist stay and a lapped metal zip. (My hubby has problem with tinny pulls on the invisible zips and has been known to pull the odd top off... this is now a compromise as it saves the argument later on).
The skirt pattern I used was Gertie’s Butterick B6556. I used the box pleat measurements from this pattern and doubled the skirt fullness as I wanted a double box pleat.
I only wish I had taken a pic of my dress at this stage as the double box pleat did look great and is a perfect option for anyone who is put off slightly by having a gathered skirt as I alway think it adds more to my waist and hips which I am always trying to make look smaller than bigger.
The skirt is also fully lined ( I wish I had done the lining in a colour - maybe pink and not the white I used..). The skirt has a layer of tulle sandwich in between the main fabric and the lining to add a little more body to the skirt.
My fabric was found on eBay- thanks to a share on Gertie’s sew and tell page. The moment I saw this fabric I just knew it was perfect for my Dior inspired dress. I was trying to be frugal with my fabric purchase and didn’t want to over order, but I under ordered and didn’t have enough to do the double box pleats that I really wanted and then discovered it was sold out. I ended up messaging Holly at the www.thefabricshops.co.uk to see if she had a bit more knocking around and she did.
The fabric gods had smiled..
Hubby and I went down to a little village not far from us called Lacock in Wiltshire UK, that is fame for many a backdrop to a period drama and is also the home of Professor Slughorn’s house in Harry Potters ‘the Half-Blood Prince’.
We took the photos in the grounds of Lacock Abby- truly worth a visit. The grounds are just beautiful.
My Dior inspire 80’s retro number took me two weeks around the day job on my days off and I would describe it as a fairly straight forward make.
Now what next to to sew... sew many options...
Happy sewing ..
Maree ‘a Mad Seamstress’
Mx

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