I received a lot of complements on my dress and even won the Lady's prize for best formal outfit of the evening. What a nice surprise as there were so many wonderfully dresses people there! I'm not sure how I feel about being crowned with the title "Lady of the Evening," it cracks me up a little as it brings to mind a slightly unsavory kind of character. ;) The gentleman who won the Lord's title was wearing a very nice Bonnie Prince Charlie jacket and tartan trews!
Several people asked me about my dress. This is the dress pattern I used, vintage Simplicity 1469. Originally I was going to use the green crepe from my Halloween "curtain dress" but changed my mind. Having made two different green dresses for formal events this year I decided it was time for a serious color change. So I looked through the fabric stash and picked this mustard yellow/gold crepe. The time period for the event was 1946. When looking over the pattern I discovered it actually has a copyright date! 1945 to be exact so it was perfect. Most early 40s patterns are not dated so this was a nice little discovery.
After some debate I opted to make the full length version. I figured if I was going to make an evening dress I should go all out. I looked around on Etsy and a number of other places to find inspiration for the trim. I knew I wanted to do something with sequins but wasn't sure just what. Below are a couple of dresses I used as inspiration. The plan was to use black, red, AND green sequins but my local fabric shop was sold out of green. Boo! So back to the drawing board.
|Playing with different trims|
|Close up of one of the Victorian/Edwardian jet bead flowers|
Here you can see the three main pieces of the dress - waist, peplum, and skirt after hemming- waiting to be sewn together. First, the peplum was basted to the skirt then the two were attached to the bodice. The last thing to add was the zipper. Not my best work, I hate sewing zippers! The only adjustments I made to the pattern was the skirt length - a given because I'm only 5' 2"! - and the seam allowance to the skirt.
I decided to wear some of my rhinestone jewelry. The necklace and earrings I'm pretty sure are 1950s and the bracelet is probably later. I admit I felt a bit over dressed but they were really sparkly and fun to wear! I also wore my black 1940s peep-toe shoes from Honey Talk Vintage and carried a gold mesh Whiting & Davis clutch. It has a little hinged snap closure with rhinestones. I did a little research and discovered that the Whiting & Davis Company, located in Plainville, Massachusetts is the oldest purse company in the US and is responsible for a variety of exceptional mesh purses and other accessories. They started as a jewelry firm in 1876 and made their first mesh bag in 1892.
I set my hair in pin curls the night before the event and waited to take them out until just before we had to leave. My hair doesn't really like to hold a curl but now that it is a little shorter I have an easier time creating a 40s up-do and victory rolls. And my curls actually lasted the whole night so I was happy. It looked half way decent the next day too:)
Cori wore his 1940s tuxedo, peaked waistcoat with matching bow tie, and a vintage tuxedo shirt. He was also wearing his Swank cuff links and shirt studs which we purchased to wear with his 1920s tuxedo for the Downton Abbey event back in January. There were a lot of nicely dress gents there and even a few in uniform too. We had a wonderful time! Thank you to Jason Volk, the Dane Estate and everyone else who worked so hard to put this event together!
Not sure who actually too this photo but here's a group shot of most everyone who attended the event.
Summary of the Pattern
Fabric: Mustard/Chartreuse crepe from discount fabric store
Pattern: Simplicity 1469
Notions: Zipper, snaps, red and black sequins, antique jet bead flower motifs
How historically accurate is it? Very! The crepe is very close to dresses on the period and the trim was inspired by several original dresses.
Any tricky parts to the pattern? The side placket and zipper but I always find these a little tricky. Adding the trim was time consuming but fun and I'm happy with how it turned out!
Did you change anything? Just the length of the skirt.
Time to complete: About a week, I worked on it a few hours each night after work
First worn: December 2013
Total cost: Around $30
Notes: Overall very happy with how this turned out! Sometime I will get around to adding the remaining sequins. I also think this dress needs a belt. Maybe a self fabric belt with a black buckle?