Monday, December 18, 2017

A 19-Teens Purple Taffeta Dress

So, this is actually a dress I made a few months ago. I've been waiting for better pictures to surface from the photographer, but that doesn't look like it's going to happen anytime soon, so I'll just post about this dress with what I have!

Back when I made this dress, I was deeply entrenched in all things 18th-century, but I took a quick detour into 1912-land to make a dress for my sister's wedding. I was one of her bridesmaids, and her only requirement was that we all wear purple. It didn't even have to be the same color or fabric. The other girls did ended up choosing dresses in the same color, so I asked the shop for a sample of the fabric, and headed to the design district to find something that matched. I managed to find a really lovely taffeta in exactly the same color, so I bought what was left on the bolt, and then put it on a shelf while I tried to come up with an idea of what kind of dress I wanted.

The fabric itself really is lovely (I had actually eyeballed it before, and was really pleased when it turned out to be a match!), and I wanted to make something that I would be able to wear again. The other girls had all bought short, sleevless cocktail dresses, but I don't wear short...anything, and a cocktail dress would have been banished to the back of the closet, likely never to see the light of day again. I toyed with a few different designs, and time ticked away, and I finally had to make a quick decision.

I eventually dug up the Butterick cross-front 1912-ish pattern. I had used it before to make a quick dress for an Edwardian event, so I knew its quirks and various fit issues. First off, I had to use the largest size, because I have taco-ed myself right out of Butterick's sizing. I knew it would still fit in the bust and waist, but my hips are several inches larger than their largest size. This may not be entirely a fast-food issue, though, as several others who have made the pattern have mentioned that it is tight through the hips when making the size straight from the pattern. I adjusted the hips before cutting the fabric so I knew they would fit.

I cut out the gown one evening after work, and then poked around online to find a bit more inspiration. Looking at the gown pinned to the mannequin it looked so...plain. It was a wall of purple taffeta, it needed something to break it up. Finally, I came across this lovely dress.

It's nearly the same color as my dress, so I immediately gravitated to it, and it has the low cross-front like the pattern. I hit the fabric warehouses to try and find a deep purple velvet that I could use to accent the dress, and came home with a deep purple acetate velvet. It wasn't ideal, but it would do.

I had purchased three yards of the velvet, with the idea that I would make the underskirt in the velvet, as well as the accents. I initially didn't think it would be enough, but I ended up being able to make everything just as I had planned!

Terrible cell-phone pics are terrible.
There was one piece of scrap velvet that ended up the perfect size and shape for the little sash-y bit where it peeks out from the skirt overlap.

I ended up really happy with this dress. I didn't expect to love the outcome of a quick dress like this as much as I did. I'm excited that I have another Teens dress available to use for future events, too, since this is an era I love, but am sorely lacking in my closet. I do plan to go back and fit a few fit issues, and maybe make the little sheer purple top underneath it.

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