Saturday, 27 April 2013

White Mischief and a disastrous dress

Captain Bayley and his Infernal Mechano-Perambulator will be at the War of the Worlds White Mischief party in London on May 25th. Look for us! There might even be some new pieces...

I'm thinking about what to wear. War of the Worlds is a late Victorian novel, but the infamous Orson Welles radio dramatisation took place in 1938. I'm kind of feeling a diesel/decopunk look - and judging by the promotional materials for the event, I think that will work.

Inspired by Tilly on the Great British Sewing Bee, I've bought some sewable tracing paper, and I'm going to try to go 'off pattern' for this one. Of course, 1930s dress styles often have hideously complicated constructions, so it might be a bit too much for me to bite off. I love unusual constructions, but the topography is pretty tricky! Plus, it can't just be any old vintage pattern, it has to be punked up and stylised. While I was on the bus this morning, I amused myself by designing infernally complicated and completely unrealistic dresses in my head.

The ultimate dress, I think, would have a mandarin collar and wide keyhole neckline en décolleté. There would be an empire line, and princess seams running down to the dropped waist, which would be constructed with an art deco sunburst pieced out of fabric. Even in my insane daydreams I know I'm not crazy enough to attempt that kind of a dress with a slippery fabric like charmeuse, so, black silk dupion with all of the seams picked out with fine gold satin piping seemed like the obvious choice.


Did I mention I'm a really impatient, lazy seamstress?

Anyway, I pieced the bodice out of my magical new sewable pattern paper - and it's not actually too bad. It's doable and the fit isn't bad (although I might recut it with some adjustments). It's the skirt. The bit that I thought would be fun is actually a nightmare of epic proportions. Proportions are the key point, actually. It's been a few years since the last time I made an evening gown, and even for a trumpet shape there is some serious volume involved!
The pattern. 

It doesn't help that I'm currently sharing our spare bedroom with three bikes, two mattresses a large duvet and two cats. This is restricting my 'cutting surface' (floor) to almost nothing. I just can't get my head around this pattern. So, I might go back to the drawing board on this one...

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