Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Butterick 4918 Retro 50's evening gown

So I decided to make a retro 1950s dress for the Vampires Ball PDX this time around. I wanted something ankle length and easy to dance in. After going through my pattern stash I decided on Butterick 4918.

Circa 1952 evening dress. Fitted boned bodice with fabric drape across the bust. Full gored skirt, floor length. Sizes 6-20.

I was gifted with 8 yards of excellent quality blue/black shot taffeta. Yay! I decided to add some sparkle with a net overlay that was studded with faux sequins. You can find this stuff at JoAnns in their novelty netting section. It is fairly inexpensive and I was on a budget.

Sizing and alterations:
I chose size 20 based on the finished garment measurements. I figured I would need to take it in just a bit in the bust and let it out a bit in the waist. I was exactly right. From the bust apex up I took it in about 3/4 of an inch. I let out the waist 3/4 of an inch. I shortened the skirt by 2 inches, I'm 5 ft 4 inches barefoot. However, I did neglect to make a corresponding bust adjustment to the bodice drapes along the top seam line. So that part became a bit fiddly when I attached it. But I made it work.

Putting it together:
Easy. The instructions were easy to follow and it went together quickly.

End notes:
This is a really pretty dress! It was easy to wear and I received many compliments. Flattering for a broad size range. Again, if you are expecting it to look like the envelope art you will need a very fluffy crinoline. I used Simplicity 3737 view C. It really makes the dress look fabulous. Also the wider/fuller the skirt the smaller your waist looks.

I made a cummerbund (no pattern). It closes with hooks and eyes. I used Decades of Style Sleek Sleeved bolero pattern circa 1940s. A very easy make. I had run out of the blue taffeta so I just used black broadcloth and a layer of my sequined novelty netting. I made my headdress using a headband, roses, leaves, butterflies, netting and feathers. I decided on blue and burnt orange for my headdress colors. My shoes (not shown) were a 1940s style peep toe platform. 3 inch heel + 1/2 inch platform = 2.5 inch heel. That is as good as it gets for my middle aged feet.

We had a great time at the ball. As a retired goth it's nice to dance to some good music and have a couple drinks. My BFF and I will definitely go back next year.

The picture on the right shows the dress with a nice full crinoline. What a difference it makes.

 My sexy BFF! Patterns I used, McCall's Shape Shifter corset, Harlots and Angels hobble skirt and Vogue 9016 view C bolero.
 Melody Ballrom Portland Oregon

 Me and Ms. Smolder ;-) Rawr!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Simplicity 3737 Crinoline for my 1950s dress

Gearing up for The Vampires Masquerade PDX 2017 in a couple weeks I decided to make a 1950s taffeta dress. A friend had gifted me with 8 yards of good quality blue/black taffeta. So yummy! I decided to go with Butterick 4918. I'm not reviewing 4918 yet because I want to get some good pictures of the dress.

Once I finished the dress I knew I would need a big full crinoline. I have had this OOP Simplicity pattern 3737 forever and view C was the perfect length for my 4918 dress.

Crinolines of different lengths and ruffle butt panties. I chose View C and ordered my 16 yards of crinoline netting. The pattern also wants you to purchase 40 yards of ribbon for ruffle trim. I prefer to use Xtra wide double fold bias tape for my crinolines. It gives a nice finish to the scratchy netting and a bit more body to the ruffles. Happily Vogue Fabrics sells it BTY in black and white. Yay! I ordered that too.

Side notes:
I have made two other crinolines from crinoline netting. I have only seen crinoline netting in black and white. I did make another fluffy petticoat that is a combination of poly organza, specialty netting (a stiffer netting that comes in some colors). However, I do not recommend this "specialty netting" because it's horrible to gather. Last but not least is el cheapo 72 inch wide netting that comes in a rainbow of colors. The grannies like to crochet this stuff into dish scrubbies. Needless to say it is very scratchy and more flexible than standard crinoline netting. However my poly organza petticoat is kinda hot to wear, so not my favorite.
I don't use tulle at all and I haven't tried nylon chiffon since I can't source it locally. Nylon chiffon makes fabulous petticoats. It's soft and super fluffy, in a way that tulle can only aspire to. Some of the prettiest petticoats you can purchase at Malco Modes are nylon chiffon. So yummy!

Pattern alterations:
I used size 20 and shortened it by 2 inches. I tend to cut my waistband elastic smaller that the pattern recommends. It's like they want you to cut it at exactly your waist size and what good is that? My waist is 37 so I cut the elastic to 34. No other alterations.

Instructions and construction:
The instructions are fairly clear. I used the diagrams a lot for this project. Some of the sewing is counter intuitive. Wrong sides together, wrong side to right side. Basically in the end you have a two layer crinoline with all the scratchy seams facing each other in the middle.

End notes:
It went together perfectly. This is a very labor intensive project because of all the cutting and gathering. I did use my gathering foot instead of a long basting stitch. It worked just fine and made it a bit quicker to finish. Just be warned this thing gets very fluffy and cumbersome as you sew it together. Be patient, the end result is worth it.

I decided to add some pink ribbon trim and pretty rosettes.