Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mission: Homemade Party Dress

OK, now I know I tell you guys all the time that I've got this new pattern and fabric and I'm going to make this and that and then I never do. I know I have dozens of sewing projects all ready to go, notions and matching thread just waiting to begin. I know I can't even walk through my sewing room without wading through the sea of individually bagged projects.

But this is different.
Seriously, I went to SEVEN stores yesterday trying to find a party dress. I've googled my brains out, and come up with nothing. Is there a law somewhere that though shalt not attend thy party lest ye be adorned in skin-tight, barely-there apparel? I have a ton of dresses already, but for once it might be nice to wear something a little festive, a little fancier than usual. And so you see how I'm left with absolutely no choice than to make my own, right? This is a perfectly logical plan. Or, it was until I decided I wanted......

(brace yourselves)


Can we even refer to this as merely a dress? It shall be henceforth known as the most utterly perfect confection of times past. Because of course it's vintage, and nowhere to be found. And even if it were, it would have a 20-inch waist and cost several hundred dollars. At least.

Here's how this happened. I was browsing Pinterest (where all insane ideas begin, naturally) and found this brilliant website that provides pattern ideas to knock off popular pricey dresses. Truly genius stuff. I found this:

...Which I thought would be really cool in more evening-appropriate fabric. Unfortunately, the pattern is from Burda, which makes me want to hurt myself. So I browsed the un-ridiculous pattern websites in search of something similar, but the closest I could get was this:

...Which is probably better anyway, considering the double-tier looks exactly like an Barbie dress I have, a la 1985. But what fabric to use? Here were my first ideas:

One * Two * Three * Four * Five * Six

I don't know what it is with me and tulle. It just is, ok??

Obviously I would not do all the crap on the bodice of numbers two and three. I like how the bodice is satin or taffeta or something, and the skirt is tulle. And I like the color contrast, but I like the monotone too. Hmm decisions...
The rest of them present the same problem as the vintage one- How do I drape that tulle? I kind of have an idea in my head, of cutting the overlay piece larger than the pattern, then gathering it down on the sides, then constructing it with the pattern piece. But rarely do the ideas in my head actually turn out like imagine. And then there's the issue of the boning. The thought of the zipper alone makes me sweaty, so obviously I have no business messing around with boning. 

So I've got three options here. (Well really four if you count not doing this at all.)
1. Easy- NO TULLE. Just some kind of plain fabric that will require only one layer.
2. Medium- Fabric bodice, tulle overlay skirt.
3. Yeah Right- Recreate the vintage dress.

What do you guys think?
Even with the medium option, I'll need help- How many layers of tulle do I need? Should I just lay it on top of the pattern piece fabric and sew them at the same time? Or should I make a separate overlay skirt and apply it? If I wanted to try the vintage one, what are they using anyway? It doesn't really look like tulle. Could I do a blush pink for the base of the dress and then brown or black for the overlay? Would it show through like the tulle? That one has way more gathers in the skirt than the pattern, can I wing it?

Halp!!! I would be eternally grateful for any tips or suggestions.

Update! It has been brought to my attention that this pattern would be more appropriate!


Lisa said...

I would choose your base fabric and buy a bolt (or two) of bridal illusion to match. (Illusion is the stuff with the tiny holes--it looks better than tulle.) Make the dress w/o the illusion, only baste the seams instead of sewing them permanently. Then we'll drape and pin it on your bod. Then you can sew it together.

WHY do you need a party dress???

SewSweetStitches said...

Really?!?!!? Awesome.
I'm having a party for you. You don't HAVE to dress up. I just want to.

Chloe said...

I agree with the bridal illusion. I have had lots of success using it as an overlay but for the bodice it gets a little technical, enlarging the pieces proportionally for the overlay, gathering it with a basting stitch (use two rows one on each side of the stitching line) and then sewing it with the base fabric like it is all one piece.

Clear as mud?

I think every girl needs a party dress, even if it just hangs in the closet....

SewSweetStitches said...

Chloe, that is what I was picturing for the construction process, thanks! Good to know this is not completely impossible :)

Lisa said...

Oh, dear. I had a bad feeling about this party...


SewSweetStitches said...

Are you saying you want us to have matching dresses? I'm down with that

Angela (Cottage Magpie) said...

What a gorgeous vintage dress! It's beautiful. I can't wait to see what you decide to do with this! So fun.

The vintage dress looks like cotton organdy to me, by the way (at least, from the picture). I love cotton organdy, but it's hard to find these days.