Pattern Review: EvaDress Patterns 1929 Evening Frock
Saturday night was the night of the Gatsby Gala and I did indeed finish and wear my Gatsby dress. It was a very interesting evening. Very interesting indeed. The dresses were all very beautiful. Most were beaded affairs. Others chose the fringe dress route. There was definitely a sexy 20’s vibe going on. I think I was one of a few of women who chose the 20’s dropped waist look. Here’s my review.
Pattern Description: 1929 Evening Frock and Vest. I made only the frock.
Pattern Sizing: Size 18. I made it up with an FBA of 1.5 inch increase. As I mentioned earlier, Sherril, Jeannette and Kellie helped me with fitting the bodice at PR Weekend in San Francisco. We added some fisheye darts in the front and back to make the bodice more fitted and flattering. The unfitted style of the bodice and dropped waist combined with my bust line and hips were doing me no favors. However, in the end, I decided to forgo the extra shaping despite my vanity as it took the dress out of the 20’s era.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Kinda sorta. I think the pattern drawing is of someone who is 8 ft tall and 9 inches wide. So on me it looks somewhat wider and shorter than the svelte drawing you see above. I guess ladies in the 20’s had to deal with idealistic pattern drawings as well. 😉
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. They were a little old fashioned, but pretty concise and very clear. I followed them for the most part, except for topstitching the skirt onto the bodice. I emailed Beth from SunnyGal Studio last week hoping she would share some of her expertise with me. She had some great tips for order of construction and how to attach the skirt to the bodice, particularly the vee insert at the front. Her advice and lots of practice on scraps were how I was able to make it through
the torture of working with silk charmeuse the construction of this dress. One note though about the pattern instructions, they mention piecing the skirt pattern pieces depending on how wide your fabric is. Beth advised to place the front and back pieces on top of each other to match the side seams and then mark a point for the piecing join so it is the same on both sides.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I loved how perfect it was for my event. I loved the vee insert design detail (until I had to actually sew it of course). No real dislikes actually aside from the lack of shaping (ahh vanity, you are so cruel a mistress).
Fabric used: Silk charmeuse in the most gorgeous shade of emerald green. I was hoping for my own Atonement moment. Haha. The lining is a silver china silk. Both fabrics I bought from Mood Fabrics. I bought the silk charmeuse in person at the NYC store, but the lining from their on-line store. Originally I was going to use some raspberry colored china silk for the lining, but thought it was too garish in the end and ordered the silver at the last minute. I was anxiously tapping my foot waiting for the UPS man to deliver it last Wednesday. My silver sequin trim is from Pacific Trimming. Both fabrics were wonderful to work with if a bit recalcitrant.
Pattern changes or design changes made: The main change I made was including an FBA on the bodice. After constructing the dress and trying it on, I took a photo of it to send to Beth, Sherril, Jeanette and Kellie. Beth suggested pleating the straps since they were a bit too wide and matronly. I also took in the side seams a bit and put in some shaping at the CB. These changes necessitated a zipper; I put it in at the side seam. Of course, as luck would have it, I had to insert that stupid zipper in three times. Three times. Into silk charmeuse. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst frenemy. Oh, ok, maybe I would. The last change I made was to construct the lining as one piece (meaning bodice and skirt in one but with a front and back). This meant free hand drafting the skirt portion off of the bodice pattern piece. I flared it out at the waist and made sure not to exceed the width of the skirt.
Any problems encountered during construction? I think the toughest problem I encountered during the construction of this dress was overcoming my vanity issues. Sigh. Then there was the silk charmeuse. Oy vey, this fabric is a bitch. A gorgeous bitch though. It was like working with liquid gems it was so lustrous. But oh it was so shifty and wouldn’t hold its shape. I had to stay the neckline with silk organza. I constructed the bodice separately from the skirt to save having the skirt pattern pieces lying around and losing their shape from handling, whims of the gods, etc. The vee waist seem was highly tricky. I kept making samples, but each one was successively becoming crappier, so I had to just go for it on the real deal. Was there swearing? Yes. Was there screaming? Yes. Did I finally manage it? Yes. Was it enjoyable? NO! Is it behind me? Yes thank the gods. Did I mention the THREE zipper insertions???
Any new techniques learned? Well let’s see, the vee waist seam with the inset corners. Sherril sent me this on-line tutorial on inset corners from Threads. It’s fantastic. Bookmark it!
Any interesting design details in this pattern? Did I mention the vee waist seam? It’s the make it or break it detail of the dress. And the wrong trim could just sink it. I love my trim.
Which sewing machine(s) did you use for construction? Since I was working with silk charmeuse again, I chose the Emerald 183 again. However, I opted not to use the walking foot and weirdly didn’t have any slippage issues. Weird.
Time to complete construction: Not including the muslin and the pointless dithering over the shapelessness of the dress’ silhouette, about 4 and half intense days.
Will you sew it again or recommend it to others? I most likely will not make it again as I don’t foresee going to any more Gatsby galas in the near or far future. But I definitely do recommend it to anyone who has their own Gatsby gala coming up. I would advise making a muslin first for sure though, preferably in a like fabric. Making my muslin up in actual muslin was quite demoralizing. Definitely consider reshaping the straps/armhole to be more appealing. And don’t forget that the trim makes this dress, so choose carefully.
Conclusion: One of the most impactful things Beth told me in our conversations about this project was that this was a costume. At first my immediate reaction was it’s not a costume, but she was right. It took a lot of pressure off of me. Where and when the heck am I going to wear this dress again? Probably nowhere and never. It’s a costume. And after all the angst and trials in making the dress, it ending up being a great dress. Nuff said.
And now without further ado, here’s how the dress looked on me.
And my beautiful parents.
And because my project list is long with a lots of deadlines, I spent my entire day working on Jack’s costume for his acting debut as Scottie Pup #2 in the school play, 101 Dalmations. Here he is in a partially constructed Scottish tam. I had not yet added the pompom or his scotty ears when I snapped this picture. But isn’t he just the cutest??? I know I’m the mom here, but come on!