Friday, December 10, 2010

New Black Tie Plan

You all definitely set me right in my thinking on the Black Tie gala I'm attending at MoMA. Your message was loud and clear: choose sleek and sophisticated rather than poufy ballgown. I love the idea of doing something floor length, but slim. I was pondering vintage patterns on Etsy, when I came across the stunner pictured above. It's a 1950s McCalls pattern designed by Pauline Trigere, whose work I've often admired. I fell in love with this design: I love the flared-back skirt, the bodice interest, and the unusual combination of a boatneck with a strapped back. So, of course, this pattern is on its way to me. How could I resist? I'm definitely looking forward to diving into it.

The pattern has a photographic envelope front, which was a rarity in the time period. Hello, Betty Draper!

As for fabric and color choices, I've been playing around with the idea of ombre-dyeing my own silk. Do you remember Gwen Stefani's fabulous Galliano wedding gown? I've thought about this dress so many times in the past few years!

I would love to try something like this in ivory silk (either 4-ply crepe or shantung), gradiating from a deep red at the hem up to a pale pink above the knee. Though, honestly, the Trigere design is so lovely and clean that it would be pretty in a solid color too. We'll see.

Have any of you tried ombre dyeing? There's a good article on it at Dharma Trading, which also carries tons of dyeing supplies.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts!

56 comments:

  1. Wonderful choice. You will look gorgeous in that, Gert!

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  2. I live in the Philippines and love reading your blog. I regularly need evening dresses here and am going to steal the design of this one if you don't mind for my next formal affair! Will have to make the pattern myself though. I also love the idea of the ombre dyeing but I feel it may be too much for this dress as it would distract from it's beautiful lines. I've only ever tried ombre dyeing a T-shirt and that came out more like an ombre tie-dye (lots of white bits! which was fine on a T-shirt but would be too casual for an evening dress.

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  3. I don't usually comment - I'm more of a lurker, but jeepers that dress pattern is f'ing gorgeous. I can't wait to see it made!

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  4. I really, really like this new pattern choice! I think it'll suit you so much better than the other one (which was nice, but not really "stunning" like this one!). I say go for the ombre dying too--I think it would look really amazing with this design!

    ♥ Casey | blog

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  5. I've always liked Gwen's wedding dress and think this is a great inspiration. Pics please of you in your finished dress!!!

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  6. Perfect! perfect perfect perfect

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  7. wonderful, beautiful!

    I can't wait to see the finished piece!

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  8. That's a gorgeous pattern choice, really super-sophisticated. I think it would look best in a solid colour too as it may look to much to have it ombre dyed. Can't wait to see the finished article!

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  9. Perfect choice! You will stop every clock in the room with this, whether ombre or not.

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  10. I have done a lot of dyeing and I think you would have a hard time dyeing the large pieces you would need without access to a real dye studio. It's hard to do in your basement sink! Go with a gorgeous solid!

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  11. How timely! I am about to embark on a HUGE silk dying/paining adventure on a kimono. Starting today - I'll post how it goes - I'm sort of terrified but excited to turn my basement into a mini dye factory :)

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  12. That pattern is freaking gorgeous!! I think you should go with a solid color-something really rich looking. It's going to look beautiful on you. Can't wait to see pictures.

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  13. I love it! Are you going to wear gloves?

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  14. How Elegant! You will be stunning!

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  15. This pattern is definitely a winner! Absolutely gorgeous silhouette, and I love the high neck and open back. I think that sort of look is so elegant. Have fun!

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  16. I think a solid would be really elegant with that pattern! It might just be me, but the red dye on the Gwen Stefani dress kinda looks...a bit bloody.

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  17. This is definately one time when I think less is more. This dress is sophisticated yet vintage. Perhaps ou try it in a solid colour as suggested above but go for more of a sixties solid colour that suits your colouring? I am not sure, perhaps a Turqoise, or a Peridot green? Or may just a beautiful jeweltone colour? BUT there is always the ever sophisticated black?

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  18. ooh that pattern is gorgeous!! you will look stunning!!

    i think you should definitely keep the color solid... the lines in the design are amazing and you don't want to distract from them.

    but i think whatever you decide to do will probably end up perfect :)

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  19. If you do decide to dye it yourself you're going to want to do a couple of practice runs.

    Gorgeous dress.

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  20. LOVE that pattern! That will be awesome; can't wait to watch the construction process!

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  21. Wow, Gertie, just.. wow. That is an amazing pattern and sort of reminds me of a 1940's off the shoulder one I plan on recreating.

    As for dying fabric, I am going to warn you that it is MESSY and takes a long time. You'd be better off trying your hand at it on just a skirt first in the spring time when you can go up on the roof and use the space up there. Trying it in a NYC apartment in the winter could overwhelm you with chemical smell. Not to mention any mishap with dying powder or liquid will stain everything you own in a three foot radius. *ahem* Not that I've ever done this before. *Innocent look*

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  22. Gorgeous. Just gorgeous.

    I think a really deep jewel tone solid would look amazing in this pattern on you.

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  23. Thanks, everyone! I'm leaning toward a solid shantung, perhaps a deep raspberry color. I definitely want to try that ombre dyeing at some point though. I love it so much!

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  24. i have been a professional dyer for about 10 years. ombre work can be very satisfying, but as someone else previously said, you really need a lot of space to do lengthy pieces of fabric. you also need a dye vessel that is tall enough and wide enough for the water to flow freely around your pieces. 4 ply crepe has a tendency to want to roll when it gets wet along the selvedge and cut edges which could prove very tricky for a beginning dyer. this is also something that should not be done in a kitchen...ever. these chemicals are serious. i say go for a beautiful solid...or opt for a hand painted ombre using a product like dyna flow(heat set with an iron). it's in the dharma catalog and is great to work with.

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  26. Gertie, the dress pattern is gorgeous. Personally, I would make it in a stunning color as I'm sure so many other women will be wearing black and you'll get lost in a sea of sameness (I'm sure you wouldn't but you know what I mean). Choose a color that's a standout knockout. As amcartolano stated, choose a jeweltone. Oh, and matching gloves. *swoon*

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  27. Gorgeous pattern!!

    Also, I have had very good experiences with Dharma Trading. Never tried ombre, but I agree with Becka, it might be difficult in your NYC apartment, especially with a protein fiber like silk, which you need to dye hot. A plant fiber (cotton, rayon, linen...) would be much easier because you could get a big plastic ice tub and dye it in there. Best done on the roof as ladykatza says, or in the bathtub.

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  28. What an incredible dress pattern! And I love the idea of the dyed silk. Can't wait to see it. :)

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  29. That's the first dress I thought of when you mentioned ombre dying on Twitter! (Gwen's dress, that is). I LOVED it! I love the pattern you've picked out as well. While I think it'd stand on it's own without the ombre, I'm excited to see what you do with it.

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  30. I don't know. To me, that silhouette looks good only on someone shaped like Audrey Hepburn -- a very tall woman with minimal curves. Have you thought of making a croquis of your shape and sketching the adapted pattern on it to get a more realistic idea of what it would look like on you? Maybe it'll look fine, but it's hard to translate the photo.

    I also think that the dress should be a solid color. Use a textured fabric for more variety if desired. The dress is about the structure and the silhouette and a big print or other surface textile effect will only fight with it.

    In addition, black tie does not necessarily mean a long dress. Shorter women can be overwhelmed by long dresses. There are many chic, formal, shorter dresses out there for small women.

    I'm hesitant to state my opinion because I know that candor often doesn't go over well on home sewing blogs, but that's my opinion.

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  31. The trick to ombre dyeing is to do evenly. This is particularly tricky with a fabric that wicks liquid quickly (like silk). I have done it however, with mixed results, in the theater costume department at my university. They had a HUGE cauldron to heat gallons of water for dyeing large quanities of fabric. You will need some sort of rigging to help you lift your fabric smoothly at an even rate. Dharma Trading is my reference and supplier of choice.

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  32. *dies*

    GORGEOUS!

    I cannot wait to see the finished product. And hand-died silk? I'm getting the vapors.

    *fans self*

    I hope there will be some construction tips and pics!! Especially for any silk-dyeing experiences.

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  33. I hate to double-post, but I was too quick the first time.

    I just wanted to reaffirm your color and silhouette choices. The boatneck and flared bottom should be wildly flattering on your shape, I think. And you know the raspberry will be beautiful with your complexion.

    Not to start a riot, but I'd nix the gloves, though... They tend to look too costumey. I'd find some marvelous statement bracelet and earrings to wear, since the neckline and embellished bodice may prevent you from wearing a necklace.

    Oh look at me; the dress isn't even finished, and I'm accessorizing already!

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  34. That pattern is beautiful and I love ombre dyeing it's a lot of fun but I don't think it would look right with your pattern choice.

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  35. There are fabrics already ombre-d too if you want to save the dyeing experience for another time, though I think a white->gray->black head-to-toe job would be striking and set the typical LBD on it's ear!

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  36. May I ask where you found this beautiful pattern? I'd love to make a dress like that! it would be perfect for new years eve.

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  37. I say make it in white! That dress so reminds me of something Oleg Cassini would have designed for Jackie Kennedy, though of course, she would have had him close up the exposed back. In fact, I think it's more like the Jean Louis dress for Doris Day in Pillow Talk (scroll down). I can so see you wearing long above-elbow white gloves too. See here

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  38. Ooh, I have that pattern but have had neither the courage to make it yet, nor indeed the occasion to wear it! Not only is the dress fabulous, but when I look at the envelope I always expect Cary Grant to be hiding behind one of the columns, waiting to whisk away the Eva Maria Saint look-alike!

    Can't wait to see what you do with yours. I'm sure it'll look stunning.

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  39. The dress is stunning. I'm sure you will be a knockout at the event. I say, go for a rich jewel tone in a solid. I think Gwen's wedding gown is beautiful, but to make a white gown would really resemble a wedding dress. It sounds like ombre dyeing is pretty hard, I've seen some beautiful ombre prints at Mood if you wanted to skip the dyeing process.

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  40. Gorgeous pattern, and I think it will look stunning on you! I'm loving the idea of it in emerald!

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  41. Love, love, love that pattern and you will be gorgeous in a raspberry /wine /red family and shantung sounds wonderful.
    Perfect for the event, too.

    I always like reading your post and the comments (when i have time) and this one cracked me up:

    "I'm hesitant to state my opinion because I know that candor often doesn't go over well on home sewing blogs, but that's my opinion."

    Sometimes I think I'd like to start a blog called "It looks Home Sewn!" . And I would feature beautiful home-sewn clothing. Ironic is popular now, right?
    ;)

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  42. oh wow what a lovely pattern. can't wait to see it finished.
    The ombre dying would look fab too I've always admired gwens wedding dress its a lovely effect and something different :)

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  43. I tend to agree that the dying project could be overwhelming.

    If you want some color interest, what about changeable silk?

    I'm thinking of all the wonderful mid-century dresses I've seen in damask or changeable silk that combine kelly green with either chartreuse or bright blue.

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  44. Gorgeous pattern choice! I'd suggest going for a solid colour instead of the ombre. All I look at is the bottom of the ombre dress.. and you want people to focus on YOU not your hemline! :)

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  45. Have to admit that, though I didn't comment, I wasn't super thrilled with the first choice. This oen is 1000 times better - love it! It's so timeless. Have to have gloves... :)

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  46. Wow, you couldn't have come up with a better dress. It's a real stunner with the "business in the front, party in the back!" You're going to be the belle of the ball.

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  47. Yes, yes, yes, this is perfect.

    Not sure about the ombre dyeing with that design, though.

    Is it awful that my first response to 'ivory silk' was worrying that another guest might spill red wine on it?

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  48. Oh my gosh what an absolutely STUNNING pattern. I'd be tempted to stick to a solid for this one and save the ombre (which I also love) for something more flow-y, but its going to great whichever you choose.

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  49. this pattern is STUNNING! I can't wait to see your post on it :)

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  50. Gertie, This pattern is divine! It’s much more sophisticated yet practical ( easier to tuck under the table at dinner). Considering you already have that "old Hollywood glam meets rock and roll" look I’d like to see it in a solid color that shows off your tattoos and make that the focal point as if they where jewelry/part of the ensemble. If you must dye, I would color on top with a downward fade so all your garnish will be at one end of the silhouette and your face as the focal point. Do tell your thoughts on hair...
    Another faithful lurker,
    G.

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  51. Love this dress. You're going to look amazing!

    I vote against ombre. Love it lots, but it's a soft, romantic look and this dress is sharp and sleek. You want a solid or just maybe a very sophisticated, graphic print.

    You are going to be the center of much admiring attention!

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  52. You'd kill'em all in this dress. Raspberry silk would be divine! And please no black shoes or gloves.

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  53. I agree with so many others...the new plan is perfect.
    JMHO- I would go with plain colour fabric for gown..add wrap for sparkle and wowow.

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  54. When you mentioned ombre dyeing I couldn't help but think of this dress from an old movie I saw as a girl and never forgot. I don't know if this is actually ombre dyed--perhaps the tops layer is creating the effect somehow--anyways I thought it combined the color with the sleek evening gown. http://www.mytopclip.com/play.php?vid=17387
    Although I think you picked such a lovely pattern that even in all black it is elegant.

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  55. A few days after reading your post, I saw a Givenchy dress on Zoe Saldana in an old magazine. It immediately reminded me of your post.

    http://www.glamour.com/fashion/blogs/slaves-to-fashion/2010/03/11/0311zoe-saldana-givenchy-couture_fa.jpg

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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