Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wanda Jackson-Inspired Fringe Dress


I made this dress in April and never blogged it, can you believe it? This fringe dress was directly inspired by Rockabilly singer Wanda Jackson, who used to wear the hell out of cute little fringed sheath dresses.


Now she wears the hell out of fringed jackets.



Anyway, I made the dress for a performance at our local bowling alley, where I was lucky enough to get to sing several Wanda songs (this was for one of the rock band boot camps at Beacon Music Factory, if you're curious).


I managed to get 40 yards (!) of red chainette fringe at Daytona Trimming in NYC--if you buy the bolt, you get 50% off. How could I resist? I had enough fringe to make a test version, the dress itself, and trim some really cool shirts for my band mate fellas.

And I still have a ton of red fringe.

The pattern is, believe it or not, the Sultry Sheath from my first book. I just re-drew the front and back necklines to form a scoop with peaks at the top, and then added rhinestone straps.


The dress itself is made out of silk zibeline, which I'd never sewn with before. I originally wanted faille, but they were sold out in red. I knew I needed something strong enough to support several pounds of fringe, and the zibeline was perfect. It has a lot of body, so it was the perfect base. Here it is, mid-fringeing. It was almost a shame to cover it up.


I put the dress together in the base fabric first, then sewed fringe rows so they were overlapping by about 1". The top was trickier, since it needed to follow the lines of the the bodice. I did a test in muslin first.

I found that the fringe worked best when it ended at the waist, and then started again at the skirt, so that the fringe doesn't obscure the waistline.


Chainette fringe has a braid at the top, which I left exposed at the neckline. 


Then, I just turned in the neckline seam allowances at hand stitched them in place. The silk crepe de chine lining is hand stitched on top of that seam allowance. (Or it would be, if I'd gotten around to sewing the lining in before the performance. Whoops . . . It's on my ironing board, still waiting to be sewn in.)

Fun fact: It's called chainette fringe because it comes with a row of chain stitching at the bottom of the fringe, which holds it together during construction. Once the fringe is sewn in place, you get to pull out the chain stitch, releasing the fringe. Honestly, that's the most fun thing ever. 


The best thing about the dress is the way it moves! So much fun to wear.





The other great thing is that I've now gotten over my obsession with fringe, so I don't have to fondle it longingly every time I go into a trim store.

80 comments:

  1. That looks like the most fun dress ever!! Love the fringe and the adaptation of your pattern!

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  2. Wow! Wanda Jackson would be proud!

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  3. That's stunning! A good tip about not obscuring the waistline; I've seen some fringed dresses which look a bit shapeless because they haven't included that little gap, but yours manages to be shapely and sexy. The colour is fabulous with your hair, too!

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  4. OMG! This is ridiculously wonderful! I can't think of an occasion when I would ever need a fringe dress, but I'm tempted to make one just to swish around the house in!

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  5. What a dress! It looks fabulous on you! Also reminds me of my youngest daughter's prom dress. It was red dull satin with beaded fringe on the bodice overlay. It looked stunning on her, and I saved the dress.

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  6. Gorgeous! The dress really does look a lot of fun to wear.

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  7. Amazing dress! You look so happy in it. The best part of handmade.

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  8. I think this is one of my favorite Gertie dresses ever! It's a jaw-dropper, so retro and slinky. Suddenly I NEED a fringe and rhinestone dress in my life.

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  9. Beautiful and the dress is spectacular, too.

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  10. That dress is pretty spectacular. Great job!
    I got a whole bolt of lace trim at Daytona when I made my wedding dress.... I needed half the bold anyway so it was like getting 2 for the price of one!

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  11. I've wanted a fringe dress since Amanda Valentine made one in season 11 of Project Runway, and you've rekindled my desire for one! There's a Cher concert in my city on Halloween, and could there be anything more perfect for it?

    It's gorgeous. Like seriously, gorgeous. I want to steal it from you right now and wear it forever! I'm glad you posted construction details, as I was a little bit stumped on how everything would come together!

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  12. WOW!! what a beautiful dress and I LOVE the color!!

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  13. Your dress is just stunning, absolutely amazing on you- you gorgeous girl!

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  14. Wow. This is probably my favorite thing you've ever made. It looks completely fabulous on you!

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  15. I agree with everyone here. That is one absolutely stunning dress and it fits you so well.

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  16. Did you know Wanda's Mom sewed most her dresses for her (at least that was what she said on stage once). I have a vintage fringe dress similar to yours in black but I love love love the red. I want to make one too. Bravo.

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  17. Did you hand sew or machine sew the fringe on?

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    1. Machine--just edge stitch the top of the braid

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  18. You are a doll!!! I love the dress!! :D
    Giggled re the lining truth...can relate to that!

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  19. Uber cool dress Guertie πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

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  20. you look great! This is totally the kind of dress I dream of sewing but really have no need to own :)

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  21. Absolutely Fabulous dress - everything about it screams opulence and fun!

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  22. Really great!!!! What a perfect Dress!!!
    Liebe Grüße,
    Sabine

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  23. Just stunning! It looks like it's so much fun to wear--I love dresses with some serious movement to 'em!

    Cheers,
    Jenny

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  24. Gertie, wow, it's beautiful!

    How many yards of fringe are on a bolt?

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  25. that dress is fan-freakin-tastic! you are cute as a button and that is the perfect red for your hair! thanks for sharing, madam fringe!

    -dani e

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  26. Takes me back to Candy Johnson in 1963 in the Beach Party movies. Her dress was emerald green and she could really make those fringes fly!
    http://remindmagazine.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/candy-johnson-shimmy-she-devil-in-the-green-fringed-dress/

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    1. That was exactly what I thought when I saw it! Candy actually wore a red one nearly identical to Gertie's in the Bikini Beach Party credits. I love it Gertie! See Candy's version here: http://youtu.be/sBPnihoZdR8

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  27. The dress looks like fun and you looked like you had fun!

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  28. Such a great dress! I made one very much like that for my son's ballroom dance teacher. I love working with fringe.

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  29. OMG, I love that dress! LOVE! I must try my hand at fringe -- on anything!

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  30. that's a lot of swissing! lol! love it!
    Helen

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  31. I love that this dress is fitted and not 20's flapper because that won't work for my figure. I have to try this!

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  32. Gorgeous dress, and it looks great on you!

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  33. Gertie, I never and I mean never comment on blogs. However, you look amazing and I believe it was worthy of my first ever blog comment. Sewing high five, Danielle

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  34. This may be the best dress you've ever made! It makes me want to make a dress out of fringe!! Great job!!

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  35. Rock on Gertie! Fabulous Fringed Frock!

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  36. Congratulations Gertie

    The colour suits you very well, and the fit is really terrific.
    Looks like you have fun wearing the dress.

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  37. That. Just. Looks. AMAZING :-D

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  38. Wow! That dress is fabulous!

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  39. You make fringe look sensational. Stunning job!!

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  40. Wow, what a stunning dress! Always wanted to make a 20ies flapper dress with fringes, now my fingers are really itching to finally realize this.
    Really adorable, it rocks!
    ~ette

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  41. You look so gorgeous, "Wanda"! You must have had so much fun wearing it. Did you get tons of compliments at the bowling alley?

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  42. This looks exactly like the dress Wanda is wearing in that Hard Headed Woman video!! I love it. I'd probably spend all day long just swishing around the house in a fringe-y dress lol. Awesome, awesome make.

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  43. Dear Gertie, the dress looks gorgeous. I know Wanda Jackson only as a singer of german songs in the 60's. Like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bij0Q6AjpnM&feature=kp.
    I wished I can hear you sing, her rockabilly songs are great.
    Looking forward for more dresses of you.
    Greeting Karina (sorry, my english is bad)

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  44. Wow!! I'm pinning this, its fab!!

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  45. That dress is amazing! It suits you so well.

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  46. You are a genius! What a fun, fun dress to swish around in -- an aerobic teacher's dream dress :)

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  47. OH WOW! WOW! WOW! WOW! THAT IS ALL. WOW!

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  48. This is so ridiculously glamorous! I'm in love.

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  49. You might have got over your obsession with fringe but you've given me a new obsession with it! This is such a beautiful dress

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  50. Oh my hell, that is so gorgeous!! The red, the fringe, oh my! And I'm making a note right now: when I sew my wedding dress (for uhh, my hypothetically nonexistent wedding), it'll be made out of silk zibeline. That is a LUSH fabric (with an equally lush price).

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  51. Va va voom! I can totally see you on stage rocking your dress. Awesome~

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  52. The dress is awesome, it must be a lot of fun to wear it.

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  53. I usually don't like fringes. But wow, your dress is so amazing! I'm totally in love...

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  54. WOW! This dress is amazing! love the colour and especially the fringes

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  55. This is an amaaaazing dress! It looks a lot of fun to wear!

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  56. Wow! Love the effect, and the pop of colour. Especially loving the photos - they look very natural and candid, you look truly happy.

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  57. Oh My!! You totally nailed this! So great to see something different pop up in my reader :) I'd want to swish around in this all day if this was me!!

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  58. OH MY GOD!!!! THAT IS THE COOLEST DRESS!!!!!!!! WOW!!!!!! I wish we could see a clip of you singing in that? You are amazing!

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  59. Wow, that is a stunning dress!

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  60. Chainette fringe really cool. You look amazing in this red dress.

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  61. Beautiful dress and beautiful you!! Ive recently started sewing - Id love it if you could stop by and say hello!

    http://cheekycherubcandles.blogspot.co.uk

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  62. Its a gorgeous dress! I love the red. I wish I have an occasion to wear such a fun and flirty dress.

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  63. Waw! Amazing dress! This is strange : I was looking for pictures of Wanda wearing her famous white fringe dress so I could make my own in red. And there I found your dress, perfectly matching what I had in my mind!! So I thank you a lot for all those explainations which are going to help me a lot!
    Oh !And you sing? Mrs Wanda songs?? Ho I'd love to hear that!! (she is one of my favorite rockabilly singer (the queen, aint she ;) and I would love to hear what you do! )
    Again, great job, congrats!!

    Sophie, from www.wildchildsophie.com

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  64. How much fringe would you say you used on the dress altogether gertie?

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

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