Monday, May 7, 2012

The Little Rock Dress


Yes, the Little Rock Dress is finished! It's actually been finished a while but a) I hadn't had the chance to wear it and b) the weather's been so horrible for the last week that it's been too dull for photography. The vintage fair at Old Spitalfields market gave me the opportunity to give the dress its debut, and it got several compliments (at least from those who glimpsed it under my overcoat - it was so cold).


I decided to embellish the bodice with a swirl design in sequins, as a nod to the all-over sequinned swirls of the inspiration worn by Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

I also lined the skirt portion, using the pattern for the outer skirt in reverse. I couldn't find any tutorial on how to deal with the split, so I ended up stitching the seam allowances of the skirt to the lining, which seems to do the trick and looks nice and neat.


The whole outfit is based on the original. Sadly I was unable to find a feathered showgirl headdress, but my 50s feather half-hat makes a respectable substitute. The various rhinestone bling I got from ebay and charity shops, and I gave a further nod to the sequins of the original with my sequin ruby slippers.


Fabric: Wool crepe, £15 per metre (about 2.5 metres).

Pattern: Bodice from McCall 6601 (1946) with self-drafted skirt.

Techniques: Pattern drafting; Lining the skirt portion; Hemming with hem tape; Embellishing with sequins; Shirring and topstitching (don't know if they really count as 'techniques' to me any more, since practically every project of mine involves one or both!).

Verdict: Overall I'm pleased with how this came out, especially since it was my first attempt at actual pattern drafting. The fit in the bodice is a little weird, despite making a muslin - the back is too blousy (I think I was concentrating so much on getting a close fit in the front that I forgot to properly fit the back!). I suppose one day I can take the dress apart and fix that, but it's not a priority.


Dress, made by me! 1950s feather half-hat, From The Attic on etsy; Rhinestone necklace and bracelets (just glimpsed - I had intended to wear them over the sleeves, but they aren't loose enough), ebay; Clip-on earrings, car boot sale (possibly - I can't remember); Brooch, charity shop; Shoes available from my shop.

PS: Yes I am wearing foundation garments!

34 comments:

  1. What a wonderful dress! You should be very proud! xx

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  2. wow that dress is just so stunning! I bow in admiration;)

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  3. My god! It's absolutely gorgeous! And your figure - well, I am one jealous woman right now!!

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  4. You get an AWARD for how this turned out!!! It's amazing!!!!

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  5. Oh my goodness, what a gorgeous dress! You have got such talent :)
    R xx

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  6. This dress is amazing and you look just perfect!
    You're so talented.

    And your waist... I can't stop looking :)

    xoxo,
    Agnieszka

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  7. What a sensationally, captivating, endlessly beautiful ruby red gown. Amazing, skillful work. You look like a million dollars, dear gal!


    Wishing you a fantastic Monday & week ahead,
    ♥ Jessica

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  8. Oh, my goodness, I love it, it's fabulous! Well done.
    I am soooo envious of your ability.

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  9. You look absolutely marvelous in it. What a stunning dress! I can't believe that was your first go at pattern drafting!

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  10. Blimey what an outfit!! You look absolutely hot to trot!! Claire xx

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  11. I love your rendition of that dress. It's so wearable and flattering! I wish there was a pattern for it because that skirt detail is absolutely stunning. Well done!! x

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  12. That turned out great! I love the way it hugs your curves in the right way. Great job.

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  13. You (and the dress) look fantaaastic! Joan Holloway would be very jealous. So am I! :D

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  14. Hi!
    I am a sewer myself and i really enjoy browsing your blog for inspiration... I am not good at commenting, but today I just had to!
    Reading your article, I was really amazed by its design... and then i caught myself wondering "is she wearing any foundation? it's so perfect..." and then you answered, like you read my mind.
    this piece is amazing. I had trouble picturing what it would end up looking like from your sketches, but I am truly impressed by the end result!
    Have a great afternoon!

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  15. That's superb! I adore all the little details. Well done indeed!

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  16. Wow Charlotte, that's impressive!!! You look great!!! Were you at Spitalfields yesterday?

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    1. I was at Spitalfields on Saturday - post coming tomorrow!

      xx Charlotte

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  17. Va Va Voom! What a beautiful outfit! And your hair looks fantastic! Thanks for posting.

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  18. OMG!!! Just read your Spitalfields post and had to come and have a look at this! What a dress. It truly is stunning and fits you so well. I wish after my four year fashion degree i had skills to make something like this...but no still epically failing to even manage to replace a zip in a dress. : /

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  19. OMG AMAZING!!! I was looking forward to seeing the finished dress. It's stunning. The silhouette is beyond vavavooooom. Great job!!!!

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  20. Wowee!! You look amazing! the dress fits so well, how many times did you have to unpick the muslin?! heh I'm attempting my first go at pattern cutting at the mo as well, its rather tricky, bit scared to cut the final fabric now! but having seen your I most certainly will be getting busy on the sewing machine next week.

    Thanks as always for the inspiration, hope you're enjoying London!

    Emma
    xxx

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  21. Oh me Oh my!! I'm well impressed!! And jealous!!! Want and need the whole outfit! You need to find more occasions to wear it!

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  22. Amazing job on the dress.

    Can I ask which foundation garments you wore? In particular the waist area...

    Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. What Katie Did corset (Mae, I think), laced loosely for shaping more than actual waist reduction. I need to get a girdle!

      xx Charlotte

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  23. This dress is so bombshell! It turned out so great! It looks incredible on you!

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  24. Amazing dress that looks amazing on you :D

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  25. I'm a bit behind in my feed reader, but wanted to say that this dress turned out gorgeous! You look amazing and I'm in awe that this is your first pattern drafting attempt. Bravo!!!!!

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  26. Beautiful dress. Love the skirt. Great job.

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  27. How gorgeous is this whole outfit?! You look stunning! Great work on the skirt, although I'm now a little bummed that it's not from an available pattern (you know, so I can totally rip off your look ;)) haha.

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  28. This dres is SPECTACULAR!!!! I want one! :)

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  29. Just looking at the picture, think this dress would be great for plus sized women. Aside from getting a coolsculpting New York, this dress can also help reduce your waist line.

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