I went with the last option for this year's Halloween cosutme: Vogue 2609. A 1934 design, I wanted to look my best for the party. Now, I didn't plan this costume out well in advance. Oh, no. I barely knew what I was doing a week before and had no idea what I would be that night. When I found out it was an Edward Gorey-themed party (hosted by the lovely Dances of Vice), this pattern immediately jumped out from my memory. Maybe not so turn-of-the-century as Gorey, but certainly in a fabulous and macabre feeling, if made in the proper way.
|Awkwardly brushing out the edges of the|
caplet featured in this pattern
I've never sewn this pattern before, but I was confident in my sewing skills, so I cut out all of the pieces (including two of the godet pieces the same way - so in the final product you may or may not notice that one of the back pieces is ... not as shiny as the rest of the dress, because it's sewn in backwards) and set to work on sewing it all together.
|The open-back design!|
(That tie at the bottom is supposed to be
tacked down - pshaw, it's fine!)
What I noticed, looking at the pattern back (which I did not have the convenience of doing while I was at the fabric store, the pattern being out of print) was that it didn't have a zipper. I had bought one anyway because I figured it needed to be closed somehow. Well, this being 1934, they didn't exactly have zippers. They had snaps. And I wasn't going to put in a whole long set of snaps, because I like simple solutions. So, I ignored that part of the directions and did it my way, putting in my zipper. I felt happy to have bested the patterns of the past with the technology of the future.
The next part that unsettled me, in reading the directions, was the fact that the godet (the skirt part at the very bottom) was supposed to be appliqued on. Again, I was not doing this and decided to do it my own way, which I saw as the correct way. I just sewed the godet to the dress, as one would do - right sides together, make sure to get it all pinned down, sew together, turn right side out. (I was kind of nervous that the applique-style attatchment might not work as well, for some reason, and so I just felt more comfortable putting the skirt in the way I did.)
The last surprise of this dress was the contrast fabric. When I was getting it cut, they told me the price, which was far more than the dress fabric. I thought it was right-side out on the bolt, because it was satiny, and just said "Whatever" and went with it. Well, after I cut the pieces for the dress and went to get them ready to attatch, the two halves of the fabric didn't want to come apart. I took a pin and separated some of the remnants from my cuttings and learned - a bit to my horror - that this was no satin at all. This was some kind of terrible, weird Latex-coated fabric. There was no turning back, though, as this was probably a day or two before and I didn't want to get anything else. I would deal with it and triumph over it, as I had with the rest of this dress.
But I think, in the end, it turned out quite spectacularly in the end. I was happy to tell people that I'd made my dress, and though I personally don't have any photos of myself at the event, I did find one from someone else where I'm in the background:
Photo by Gabi Porter for MetroMix New York
(more photos here)
(more photos here)
Yep, right there. On the right, with my lovely open back and my friend who came with me to the most magnificent Halloween party I'll probably ever attend. I hope to go more of their events sometime, just to see all the people who get so done-up! (You should search for more images and just look at all the gorgeous things people wore. Really. I was amazed.)