This is Part 2 of a three part series. See Part 1 by clicking here.
As Madonna says, “Get Into the Groove”. It’s time for 80s Prom!!!
I am wearing Simplicity #4070 for this occasion, in view C as a strapless dress with a bubble skirt. Instead of the flower embellished waist sash, I’ve swapped that out for view D’s wrap around ribbon detail.
You might have read in my 80s Prom Preview post that I was making this dress in an emerald green taffeta. Oh, the best laid plans… turns out I grossly underestimated the amount of fabric I needed, so I turned to the rest of my midnight blue taffeta and had just enough. Phew! You might remember this midnight blue taffeta as the same material I used to make my Couture Witch outfit for Halloween, except for that dress I sewed it with the wrong side of the fabric as the right side.
I did not make a toile for this dress because I procrastinated (I’m an expert at this) and was distracted by the holidays and weekends out-of-town. Bring on the Project Runway home challenge! I swear, both the green and blue taffeta are cursed by time — I originally used them to make steampunk costumes for myself and my sister. I bought about 11 yards of each at Michael Levine’s through a fantastic deal that I bargained down with one of the store managers, and cut the fabric so efficiently that I have had quite a lot left over since then. For the steampunk dresses I sewed on a compressed timeline like a tiger was chasing my ass, and for the subsequent projects I have found that no matter how much I plan, I am still sewing like a tiger is chasing my ass. Every time. But only with these two fabrics! I am not sorry to see all this taffeta find new life off the bolt. I am ready to indulge in some new special occasion fabric the next time I have to make a party dress.
My biggest hurdle was for the Moxie blog. While I was sewing, I documented my construction process (as usual) but later discovered that my SD card developed a corruption issue, so I’m sorry I don’t have a lot of photos of this dress in progress. It was seriously DIY like Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink, except I like to think that I did not slaughter my dress as they did in that movie (I still hate her pink prom dress at the end!).
This project gave me a couple new challenges. While I have sewed with boning before, I had not yet made a strapless dress. I wanted the dress to stay up (no wardrobe malfunctions, please!) but also feel comfortable, so I ended up doing some extra careful measurements of my body and decided to blend sizes in the bodice. It was my first time doing this! I love the way this fits now and I may do a lot more size blending with future patterns. This was also my first bubble skirt — thank you, Simplicity, for stocking a pattern with 80s design aesthetic!
I also decided to sew this with an invisible zipper, rather than a lapped zipper as recommended in the pattern instructions, because I didn’t feel like taking the time to carefully lap the fabric and baste it. I also feel like an invisible zipper just looks nicer on a party dress. But in order to sew an invisible zipper, I have to swap out not just the foot, but also the ankle on my machine because the newer feet from Viking don’t fit my old machine model and I *love* the clear invisible zipper foot.
Things I like about Simplicity 4070:
- It gave me everything I needed! I wanted a bubble skirt and the bodice had a lot of options to choose from.
- This pattern is relatively easy to sew and on my compressed time frame, I really appreciated that.
- Because the edges are all finished with linings instead of facings, I didn’t have to edge finish any of my seams because they’re all tucked inside. The taffeta I sewed with sheds like Mr. Giles in the summer, so this helped cut down a lot of labor.
- No hemming required! Such is the beauty of a bubble skirt.
Things I don’t like about Simplicity 4070:
- I wish I would have had a chance to put some tulle stuffing in the bubble skirt to make it REALLY bubbly, but the pattern didn’t offer that. By the time I figured it out, I had already attached the bodice to the skirt and didn’t want to overly stress my fabric by ripping it apart again.
- The ribbon detail looks amazing, but it’s a pain in the ass to put together. It took me a while to figure out how I was going to pin them so that I could sew them easily.
- I really don’t understand why the pattern doesn’t automatically call for an invisible zipper. I think that it looks significantly better than a lapped zipper with the fancy fabric and all the details around the waist.
And here are pictures of the finished product! Before the 80s Prom on Saturday I need to adjust a zipper slightly, but other than that, this dress is ready for prime time.
I am styling this with fishnet stockings, heeled booties, obnoxious earrings, a flowered headband, and I think a side swept pony tail. Stay tuned next week for pictures from the party! I can’t wait to rock it out with my friends… we’re going to make the 1980s wish it was partying with us in 2013.
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