Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Breakfast at Tiffany's Dress for Senior Prom

Hello everyone! Thank you all so very much for your wonderful comments here on my blog, on Facebook, and on Flickr about my Sew For Victory dress. I was floored by how well it was received. Thank you! There are little things here and there I would like to change (most obviously a longer slip is needed!) but over all I'm very please with it. Cori and I are going to a big WWII event in Pennsylvania next month and I'm planning to bring this dress along. :)

I posted briefly on my Facebook page a few weeks back about a new sewing project. Now that my Sew For Victory dress is finished I have started to work on a prom dress for my friend Abbey. Some of you may remember the blue and silver lace prom dress I made for my young friend Jen. You can read all about the construction and see the final pictures in my posts here.

Abbey wanted something different and really special for her senior prom. So when she asked me about helping her create this particular dress I was super excited. I will be creating a version of the famous black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 movie, Breakfast at Tiffany's. As part of my research on the dress I'll have to watch the movie, again. Oh darn. ;)

Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's - source
Source- Christies
 The original dress sold at Chrisie's a few years back. Here are a couple photos I found of the dress on display at the FIDM Museum and Galleries. Audrey's wardrobe for Breakfast at Tiffany’s was designed by couturier Hubert de Givenchy. In 2011, the FIDM Museum and Galleries held a special exhibition to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the movie. On display were recreations of Givenchy’s little black dresses worn by Audrey in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Little black dresses designed by Hubert de Givenchy for the movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s - Source
Little black dresses designed by Hubert de Givenchy for the movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s - Source
I first looked through my patterns to see if I had anything that would work as a base pattern. When that failed I searched online. Right away I knew that what ever pattern we picked would need to be altered to create that classic back. Below is the pattern I'm working from, Butterick 2460. It has the same gathered waist and an almost identical bodice. The skirt, obviously, will need to be lengthen but that should be easy. Another change will be to move the zipper from the center back to the left side.

Butterick 2460
Butterick 2460
Here is the progress so far....

The first step was to cut out and baste a mock up of the bodice straight from the pattern with no changes. I wasn't sure about the size so I wanted to get a good idea of those alterations first. There are two sets of darts to the front, and as was common with late 1950s and early 60s patterns the bust area is rather pointy, for lack of a better term. We going to see if we can smooth it out a little bit. After fiddling with the darts for a bit I begin drawing the new back.

The original back neckline will more or less become the bottom of the 'U' shape that connects to the shoulder straps. Next I used a marker - for some reason orange was all I could find - to draw the cut away sections, making sure to leave a portion of the center back attached to the center of the 'U'. Here's what it looked like.

I cut the front neckline a touch lower and had to adjust the arm holes as well. Here is the "new" back mock up. I need to remember to give myself a little extra material at the center back where the point meets the U. The plan is to keep the back all one piece. I'll be lining the bodice as well as using some interfacing to help the back keep it's shape.

Need to add a bit more fabric to this center section of the back.
Here's what the final mock up of the back looks like. The black marks indicate the back darts and adjustments needed for the side seams.

That's it so far. I'll work on adjusting the skirt to work with Abbey's measurements and gather my supplies for the actual dress.

This project is perfect timing as I just learned that the blog Rhinestones and Telephones has launched the Hepburn Hepburn Project. :)


  1. Your progress is coming along great. Looks like you've worked out the back. So lovely! You would think the pattern for this dress would have been recreated.

  2. That's awesome! Such a good idea for Prom.
    I found this pattern for this dress on another site: http://www.evadress.com/10143.html
    But yours may be more screen accurate and you're using a period pattern. Dunno about this one.

  3. I wore the exact same dress--made with love by my mum--for my prom way back in the 1990s! I felts so glamorous with my elbow length gloves and updo... Your darling daughter is going to look fabulous.

  4. The event you're going to this summer wouldn't happen to be the WWII Weekend in Reading, would it? I only ask because that will be my very first WWII reenactment, and I'll try to come say hi!


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