Saturday, November 5, 2016

Simplicity Retro 9247 1950s formal dress

This pattern is long out of print. There are similar patterns out there for this style dress.

Simplicity 9247 1950s prom dress AKA the Liz Taylor- A Place in the Sun dress. One of the views has the bodice top covered in small flowers. Just like Liz's dress in the movie. I am sure many a young woman wanted that exact dress for Senior prom. I did not make the floral bosom view. I need no enhancements up top thankyouverymuch.

EMP in Seattle had a great Halloween party and the theme was Undead Prom. I knew I wanted a fluffy 50s prom dress! Even when I was thinner vintage 50s net prom dresses were never in my size. So here was my chance to live the dream!

Dress details:

I made View B, no fluff on the bodice and a tea length skirt. What inspired me to make this dress was a really fun Halloween netting I found at JoAnns. It was a black and silver metallic novelty netting with flocked velvet half moons and stars. So cute! The main gown fabric (under bodice & underskirt) was a changeable silk taffeta. This was a nice stash buster project for me. I had originally bought this for a bustle dress but It just didn't jibe once I received the fabric. Underneath the netting it really added a nice pop of color. The two other fabrics were lavender netting and lavender tulle. Bodice is fully boned and is three layers of fabric plus separate lining. 1st layer novelty netting, 2nd layer lavender netting, 3rd layer silk. The first two layers are not ruched. The topmost layer (novelty netting) is ruched to fit the bodice pieces on the front of the dress. The skirt is four layers of fabric---1st layer novelty netting, 2nd & 3rd layers tulle, 4th layer silk.

Fitting and construction:

I have never fitted a strapless bodice before. I decided to use the largest size (20) 44 inch bust. I knew it would probably be a bit big in the bust area but I also had to consider my waist measurement (36). I made a muslin of the bodice and used a bra similar to what I would wear with the dress. I was still in flux about undergarments. Unable to find a comfortable strapless bra. The fit of the muslin was good except for the apex upwards in the front. I had to bring in the seam allowance about an inch so the bodice would curve over the top of my bust and not pop away from it. A common problem I notice in strapless dresses on busty gals. Once I had all the upper bust kinks worked out I was good to go.

This is an easy dress to put together. There were no issues with the instructions.


Easy make once you have it fitted. The skirt is a lot of fabric squeezed into a small area. If you are on the smaller side you may want to make your skirt panels smaller in width because there is no difference in the panel measurements between sizes.. It was a struggle for me to fit all that fabric to the bodice waist. The other problem with all that fabric is it made my waist look bigger than it already is. I decided to make a sash and a matching bolero. The sash helped pull in the waist and give it definition. The bolero provided me with additional coverage because strapless isn't really my thing.

Additional information and tips:

Make a waist stay! Please make a waist stay! It helps when you put on the dress and have a side zipper. Makes it much easier to zip up. Also, and this is the most important thing, it helps keep the dress up. Nothing ruins a lovely lady in a pretty dress like watching her spend the evening pulling it up every 5 minutes. I see so many young ladies in their prom finery walking around hiking up their dresses. If you buy a strapless formal and it doesn't have a waist stay tape please find someone to put one in. Gertie (Patterns by Gertie, Butterick) is all about the waist stays. So important. I danced the night away and I had no need to pull up my dress.

Undergarments AKA finally found something:

After much searching for a comfortable strapless bra (never happened) I went to good ole JC Pennys online. There under the "granny lingerie collection AKA shit my mom wore in olden times" was a glorious lace long line bra. I also call these a merry widow. I decided to go up one band size just in case. It arrived in a week and the fit was very nice. The cups were stiff but not as supportive as I needed so I stuffed some silicone chicken cutlets into the bottom of the cups. I know, sounds amazingly sexy....Worked a charm. The added bonus was the bra's crisp lace overlay provided extra grip and helped keep the dress in place.

The party was fantastic! Made even better because it was a girls night out with my best friend! So much fun, so much dancing!

Bolero is Simplicity 1819 with no sleeve ruffle. 

 Bringing the sexy to Star Trek.

Me -n- Lady T!

 Main entrance.
 There be dragons...

Random photo.

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