This is The Gatsby Dress.
Part three in a multi-part series (part 1, part 2), with another installment to come next week after I wear this dress to a HOT party here in Los Angeles. The reason I made this dress was for the express purpose of glamming it up at The Great Gatsby Party, hosted by Drink, Eat, Play at the historic Park Plaza Hotel. The Gatsby Party takes place this Saturday, December 1 and along with a group of fun friends, we have VIP tickets to this sold out event. We will partake in special cocktails, a special VIP lounge, multiple ballrooms with dancing and music, and otherwise enjoy dressing up to pretend that we are at Jay Gatsby’s mansion for one of his fabled parties.
You know me… any excuse to sew a party dress!! I did my research and made some decisions about how far I wanted to cross the line of “historic” and “costume” and how much I wanted to keep my dress as modern as possible. After quite a bit of searching, I chose Vogue pattern #V8814, view B.
This was also my first Vogue pattern and I procrastinated making it for a number of reasons. Among them, the rumors I have heard about how difficult Vogue patterns can be, which turned out to be a bunch of hogwash because in the end I squashed all of my fears and conquered this dress! First of all, this Vogue pattern was no more complicated than any of my favorite Simplicity patterns. Clothing construction is what it is, regardless of the pattern maker. Plus, I am quite sure that I have sewn far more difficult clothing projects with other pattern brands. I do, however, have a couple bones to pick about this pattern that I will detail (below) in the usual “Things I Like” and “Things I Don’t Like” section.
The other major reason I procrastinated in making this dress was that I chose some stunning sequined mesh for my fabric. The sequins were indeed an unexpectedly major challenge! Holy crapola. I say “unexpectedly” because I knew it would be a new fabric for me, which always involves a few curve balls, but I did not expect it to require THAT much delicate handling.
The fabric became terribly heavy the more I sewed all the pieces together and once I began cutting through the sequins… they began to fall EVERYWHERE. The sequins didn’t just litter my work tables and the floor of my sewing studio, but they also tracked everywhere. All over my apartment. Tracked by my feet. Tracked by Mr. Giles and his furry-toed paws. We very well may be picking sequins and sequin bits out of every imaginable corner for months to come. (I do not exaggerate!)
With that said, the finished effect is probably the most glamorous and decadent that I have ever made with my own two hands… but I can’t say that I am chomping at the bit to sew with sequins again for a very long time.
Then Mr. Giles had some fun with the sequins. He alternated between trying to eat them like cereal and jumping inappropriately onto furniture to chase the reflecting dots of light. It is safe to say, my beloved cat is taking a very, very, very long nap right now… I think this dress wore him out more than me!
Here are some memorable moments in the construction process. Despite the craziness of sewing with sequins, I definitely enjoyed looking at luxurious materials the entire time!
Understitching the lining led me to this point, further proving that not all moments in sewing make one feel particularly smart. Generally speaking, it’s not great if you find yourself with your fabric packed in the center of the machine… tsk, tsk to me.
I have made peace with slip stitching! I enjoyed a peaceful moment, slowing down to slip stitch the satin lining to the zipper back. It looks fantastic, too, which is a shame since no one will see it but me.
I should say that I use my hemming gauge more than I do, but I really don’t. My 1950s and 1960s inspired retro wear is usually hemmed at my knees and I know that length so well, I tend to cut the fabric just right negating the need for my hemming gauge. It was fun to break it out!
This picture clearly illustrates the difference between elves and hobbits. I am a hobbit. That is how much fabric I cut off to make my dress Flapper-length appropriate. *sigh*
I can’t put this dress on my dress form backwards to show you the full underside because the sequins stick to the surface of the dress form. But I pulled the bodice down so that you can see some of it and how pretty it looks with the champagne satin!
I will say this: the most luxurious feeling is satin draped all over your skin! Half of true glamor is FEELING glamorous. Definitely accomplished this.
Things I like about Vogue V8814:
- The silhouette was perfect for this occasion! I needed a drop waist to match the style aesthetic of the 1920s, but I didn’t want it to be a sack. This dress design fit the fill in all the best ways possible. It has the relaxed torso, but it still hugs my body just enough.
- What part of this design doesn’t scream, “Va-va-va-voom!!”?
- The criss-cross straps are great. They stay up (straps tend to slide off of my sloped shoulders) and the effect is flattering from the front as well as the back.
- Even though it’s a bitch to hem, the drape-y full skirt is ultra glamorous. It moves beautifully and makes me feel like Daisy Buchanan.
Things I don’t like about Vogue V8814:
- Oh, dear notches. I almost sucked my eyeballs out with a straw, the notches on this dress did not line up at least 50% of the time. Luckily I made a toile before sewing my fashion fabric, so I figured out most of the pitfalls I needed to watch for when sewing the actual dress. If you decide to make this dress, I recommend a muslin mock-up so that you can rip out stitches to understand the seam lines. The better matching points are the joined seams, hands down.
- The prescribed zipper installation was just like the Couture Witch dress and now that I have done this zipper installation method a couple of times, I can say I do not like it. If I made this dress again, I would lap the zipper or swap it out for an invisible zipper. Due in part to the sequined fabric (it does not crease like regular fabric), it bugs me that I can see the zipper (i.e. it’s not invisible) when I’m wearing the dress.
- The pattern was also drafted for someone much taller than my vertically challenged body. Argh. The tea length dress skirt came to my ankles. Seriously?? I did not enjoy cutting off that much fabric, although it is not the first time I have had to do this.
- There was some major gaping at the side bust and mid-back at the zipper center. I created some darts to compensate for this fit issue and now it hugs my body perfectly. I probably pulled in about six inches in total through use of my own shaping darts.
Here is the finished product… although in these pictures it is still missing a completed hem job. Stay tuned for the final pictures from the party to see the final effect, complete with matching headband and clutch purse.
Well, Moxie Peeps, what do you think? Is it Daisy Buchanan enough?
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