A Tale of Two (Er, Three) Dresses

I’ve had some memorably bad New Year’s Eves. I think it’s because I spent my 20s chasing what other people might deem a great night instead of doing the things that suited my personality and my budget. One year, I attended a party at the home of a friend’s girlfriend. Lack of turnout caused the event to devolve into four of us playing Star Wars Trivial Pursuit. Did I mention that I had not yet seen a single Star Wars movie at that point? Even if I had, even a proud nerd like me deserves a night off from her pocket protector. Inevitably, I devolved into drinking Cold Duck champagne straight from the bottle and passing out on the couch.

So, it took me quite by surprise when I found a New Year’s Eve party that I actually wanted to attend. Dubbed the Bootlegger’s Ball, it was a Prohibition-Era style shindig, where participants were required to dress up, and encouraged to do so in their best vintage or vintage-inspired finery. Bellydancers, burlesque, hot and gypsy jazz. That sounded right up my alley. After all, events of this type were one of my many obsessions in 2010.

But what to wear?

Pattern: Kwik Sew 3756
Fabric: Emerald Stretch Velvet Panne w/ Satin Ribbon

I really wanted to start 2011 in something I’d made myself since sewing turned out to be my single most engrossing passion of the year past. I thought at first to wear this dress, actually one of the earliest things I made in 2010. It’s from Kwik Sew 3756 and I chose to sew it because it had only three main body pieces, plus the set-in sleeves, about which I was warned but threw caution to the wind. At the time, my dart-making was pretty shaky and I added those rhinestones at the neckline to hide the imperfections. Then, I made a belt out of satin ribbon and a rhinestone belt buckle to finish it off. The squared off portrait collar seemed period-appropriate, as did the little bits of bling and the velvety fabric. But after trying it on, I decided it looked more like something you’d wear to meet your new boyfriend’s mother than a tribute to the slack, underground debauchery of the time between the wars.

Pattern: Butterick 5559
Fabric: Sophia Stretch Double Knit

Then I thought I’d wear my most recently completed project, Butterick 5559, which I had hoped to wear on Christmas Day but didn’t finish hemming it in time. As you can see my dart-making has improved (look at those nifty tucks, too) even though they could still use some work. But I realized that no amount of accessorizing would make this thoroughly modern design look like something out the Jazz Era.

So what did I wear?

This hot little red number that pays homage to the wiggle dresses of the late 40s and 50s, admittedly a little past the target period. Even though it’s purchased, I did make the fascinator myself.

I had a great time and I got told (by someone who had probably taken her Cold Duck to the head) that I looked like a young Ella Fitzgerald, before she was a mess. Um, thanks, I think.


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2 responses to “A Tale of Two (Er, Three) Dresses

  1. blogofalltrades

    Aww, thanks.

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