Vintage Style Cocktail Dress

This is my latest creation – a dress with a princess line bodice nipped at the waist with a box-pleated skirt. The brief was to create something that has a feminine and vintage feel. So, we came up with the ’50s (it was an obvious design choice staring us right in the face). Below is the anatomy of this dress…
The fabric is a luxurious brocade silk with this gold bamboo leaf motifs.

The bodice outer shell assembled.

Dart manipulation on show to achieve a ‘princess line’.

Seam allowances ready for snipping and further shaping and pressing. When you make a tailored dress pressing is the key method to achieve a smooth finish. This takes hours and hours of ‘tender-loving-care’ labour, but it is all worth it.

The sleeves assembled with the lining.

The sleeves ready for ‘setting into’ the arm hole.

The ‘set-in’ sleeve. This method of sleeve construction is the best method to achieve a tailored look. Any jacket construction would employ this method to achieve a ‘fitted’ look and a precise shoulder line.

The skirt lining assembled as a series of panels with embedded ‘shaping’.

The outer shell skirt panels with backstitch markings to mark the pleat lines so pleating can proceed without marking the fabric with chalk. Another labour-intensive phase of the work but worth all the time and effort to keep the fabric pristine.

Detail of the loose backstitching.

The skirt assembled and pleated. Basting is used to secure pleats temporarily. After these stages are done, only then can the sewing begin. The sewing process isn’t shown here as I have posted this in previous posts. This dress took 56 hours (from patten construction to production).