Monday, April 15, 2013

1930s Evening Gown

In 2011 I had an upcoming formal event for university and I didn’t really want to spend a lot of money or wear one of the dresses I already owned. I love, love, love the evening dresses from the 1930s - the sleek lines, flowing fabrics and figure hugging silhouettes are so flattering and I really wanted to have a dress like that for my upcoming event.

After falling in love with the green dress that Keira Knightly wears in Atonement, but being unable to find any patterns that didn’t require huge alterations to make a replica I decided to go with something else.

I loved the deep red colour of the 1930s inspired dress that Keira Knightly wore in her Coco Mademoiselle commercial for Chanel, as well as the cut of the back.

As well as the dress on the left in this picture from the 1930s:

So drawing inspiration from those examples I found this pattern on the Vintage Pattern Lending Library. If you haven’t been to this site yet it truly is a gem. All of its patterns are reproductions of original patterns from the 1840s-1950s. On the website the pattern is described as “1930 Evening Gown With Deep Back For Petite Woman”.

All in all I found this pattern pretty easy to use even with the original instructions from the 1930s. The only real problems I had with it were working with stretch satin, as I’d never used it before (I found a great tip about sewing the seams using baking paper as a backing to stop the material from pulling which worked wonders), and the V insets of the skirt as again I’d never done those before and the pieces can be quite hard to fit together! Here is a back view from my first fitting:

 All together the gown took me about 2 days to make (as usual I left it until the last minute!). I love the way the dress worked out. Apart from a bit of puckering at some of the seams due to the stretch satin, it looks really good. I’ve worn it on a number of occasions and the best thing about this dress is that if you pull it up to below the knee/mid calf and fasten it with a brooch it looks like a 1920s flapper dress.

Here are some photos of the finished product:

When I wore it for the first time in 2011:

And when I wore it recently in 2013!


I finished off the art deco look by styling it with my antique 1930s green glass and marcasite ring:

1 comment:

  1. Lovely dress! I've always wanted a slinky evening gown, though in a dark green. :) Nice job!