Remember the 1980′s when we all wore taffeta dresses with poofy parts and those gala occasions that reflected style?
Well, some of my clients have not left that era…nothing wrong with a 1980′s dress as long as your figure didn’t slide south since then. But when things have dropped and the zipper won’t go up…you is in big trouble.
My new client has a gala celebration to attend on the East Coast…all the best people will be there and she is commissioning a local jewelry artist to whip her up a topaz necklace/collar to be worn as her “statement” piece. So let’s see what she found at the back of the closet in the 80′s section.
She brings in a brown paper grocery bag with a wrinkled up brown taffeta floor length ball gown inside with a pleated top that looks like it has outlived it’s life as a “crumb catcher” having caught way too many crumbs. It hangs open like a faded tulip flower ready to drop it’s petals.
That’s not the only issue…the zipper will never go up, it stops at her waist. Everything that used to be high is now down low. She explains she wants this gown cut off just above her knees and the scrap fabric used to make panels in the back along with huge rosettes to cover the panels. Again the client’s vision is not always mine or within the realm of good taste. Sure, I can put panels in the back, remove the zipper and re-attach it but making rosettes is NOT in my repertoire . She offers to make them and I say “sure but let’s wait until the panels are in”.
You can see where the pins are is where the old inside lining is sitting waiting for help.
At this point, I’m thinking I should have backed away from this project but it is too late.
The floor length fabric is removed and the scrap is made into center back panels with the old zipper attached…here is the sequence: interface the edges for zipper insertion, follow the muslin pattern, line up the top and bottom sections, pin top to bottom sections, zipper is ready stitch,
It looks ok but has to be refined further so back to the pattern piece At this point the patches are doubled so the inside can be used as a lining and can extend to the old smaller black lining. The horizontal seam must match exactly to the old seam.The raw edges are serged together down both sides and the chalk marks show the exact seaming with the dress center back edges. The patch is basted in and the upper pleated section will have to be released to allow the pleats to try and meet in the center…fingers crossed! Thankfully, there was enough fabric inside the upper empire binding to allow the extra width. Then all the pleats were hand tacked every couple of inches all around the bodice top…no more catching anything! Top pleats are flatter and the hem is basted. The hem had to be “not pressed but kept rounded” as per request of the client so I used rayon hem facing and sewed it by hand.
Here is the inside with old lining pinned to new facings…they will lay flat eventually…ha ha. The funny thing is, when I asked the client if the dress lining ever felt tight when she wore it, she said yes, very tight…weird?
So the lady is off to the ball and she says she will send photos of herself all dressed up. Who knows whether she made those rosettes and attached them…if it were me, I sure would not want to draw attention to that huge back patch that screams “I have middle-age spread” and my seamstress did the best she could.