I have a long unfinished (both in length and time since I started writing it) blog post about all of the themed outfits I’ve made for myself – mostly for dance parties as it turns out. Unfortunately I attended a lot of these events before the age (in my life) of the decent cell phone camera/selfie skills, and neglected to record each ensemble when it was in full effect. I do regret my lack of documentation, but figured that better late than never I’d start a series looking back at some of my creations.
The first post is actually my most recent make. The event was a fundraising dance party for a local organization that provides community outreach in the form of after school art programs for kids in a poorer neighbourhood. Every year they have a themed party with an art sale, Photo Booth and DJs. The theme this year was Disco.
I used to abhor the 1970s in terms of fashion, but it’s not all horrid polyester leisure suits! Look deeper and you find the sultry sequin gowns of Donna Summer and the flowing draped chiffon numbers by Halston and Biba. Since recently organizing my plentiful pattern collection, I knew I had lots of period resources. After some research into shapes and colours, I designed a dress with elements from two different patterns as my starting point.
I liked the angled bodice shape of the first pattern – something that wouldn’t cut me off in an odd way, with the sides actually hitting at my natural waist. The second pattern was used as inspiration for the sleeves, but sadly the giant flounce was the only missing pattern piece! I used the cutting layout to guide the shape – really just a large oval with the opening for the arm closer to one end. They are probably the biggest sleeves I’ve ever made/worn, but they were pretty fun to dance with.
Just to make things more difficult for myself I did the following:
– Used two layers of draped/sheer fabrics with a lined bodice
– Draped and hand tacked the outer chiffon layer on the bodice
– Made the skirt outer layer into overlapping panels instead of one piece
Unusually for me, I wasn’t sewing down to the wire (although I think I was doing some finishing touches the day of…). Knowing the nature of chiffon (fussy and requiring patience), I tried to make sure I budgeted enough time to deal with tweaking things. Things like hand picking the zipper through all the layers so I had total control over shifting fabrics.
I decided to do rolled hems all round on the serger – neat and delicate to let the layers flow. It was tricky to match the purple, but I managed to mix and match what I had on hand to make a good blend.
A last minute addition was a silver lamé belt made from leftovers of my New Year’s dress (another one I should post about!).
Accessories: Graduated Disco Ball earrings I’ve had forever but rarely get worn, my everyday scissors necklace,rag spiral curls, beige nylons (this really makes it 70s) and shoes that looked great but were not optimal for dancing and made me extra glad I brought my flat sandals to walk home in.
I promise to try and post more fun theme outfits soon!