19 November 2012

Why is it Called A Cocktail Dress When There is No Cock Nor Tail in Sight?

I never got to go to prom.

It's sad, and I'm obviously deprived, but I never got to go.
Apparently if you don't turn up to half your classes, are constantly late and are well known for being a "bright young woman with potential - if only she'd apply herself!", prom is out of question.

This is actually relevant, I promise.
I'm lucky enough to have a boyfriend whose work holds a proper Christmas 'do [could I sound more British?], and I get to spend a night at the British History Museum looking fabulous at a black tie event.

Black Tie events are kinda like proms, right? Just with more legal drinking, no after parties, and less likelihood of unwanted teenage pregnancies, right? Right?

If you're following me on Pinterest, you might know that I have a Cocktail Dress Inspiration board. The Inspiration part comes in the form of - I get to be that person that makes their own dress.
I'm going for cocktail for two reasons;
  1. Wikipedia said I could.
  2. I don't want to hire something and end up looking like this;
I sometimes have nightmares that I'll end up transported to the eighties and have to wear a wedding dress with sleeves like this.

 Okay, three, because it looks classy as fuck.
Okay, okay. FOUR. Because sometimes it IS cheaper to make your own - and it's the run up to Christmas. Meaning I'm broke.

So after a relentless search of Google/Etsy/Ebay/Pinterest, I really couldn't stop thinking about this dress from Aiseirigh Vintage on Etsy.

Look at it! It's gorgeous and full, and the overlay had my head dizzy! I mentally ticked it off on my list. I needed something along these lines. Dressy, but not "I will only ever wear this once" dressy.
Making clothes that only get worn once or twice is up on my "I really hate this" list, next to Georgia Jagger and the Go Compare Man.

And so pencil to paper, this happened;

So basically, I'm making a black taffeta dress, a simple sweetheart-neckline circle dress, but the fabric should have a nice sheen to it to create a more "luxe" feel to it, and an accompanying dobby print lace pullover, which will be a frankenpattern of both Gertie's Bow Tied Blouse and the kimono sleeves of her Wiggle Dress, from her New Better Book for Sewing.

What I wanted to create is an illusion of the mesh-topped dress, with the option of wearing the pieces separately, and as taffeta can be heavy, without creating any pulling of the lace when it's hanging up.

Basically, something simple, but pretty, with wearability outside of a Black Tie Event.

What do you think?
What would you wear to a black tie event? Post all your beautiful dress ideas in the comments, I fancy looking at pretty things instead of looking at the mess of fabric/patterns lying around my sewing table!!


Sorry for the break in posting, I'll post more now that my hand is slowly becoming less of a pain!


  1. This looks fabulous! I really like the idea of the two pieces to make it more wearable. I cannot wait to see the result! Beautiful inspiration, too...

  2. eee, I'm super jealous that you're do is at a Museum! The Aiseirigh Vintage dress is lovely, but I think the large one on your pinterest screenshot is perfection.

    Girl Reviews Things xx

  3. LittleMissPhantasm21 November 2012 at 01:17

    You mean you wouldn't rock an 80's prom dress? I'd be all over that shit! Not so much the sheath dress with lace overlay and poofy sleeves, but the ones that are covered in sequins! I actually have an 80's/early 90's style prom dress stashed away in my projects bin, I should really finish it.

    I was a bad student and I went to prom. :) Prom was horribly lame. Our school didn't have a lot of funding. There was also this bullshit about if we wanted to host prom off school property we'd have to fund raise off school property. We ended up hosting it in the cafeteria, it looked like such ass. I honestly can't say it was worth going to. A lot of hype about nothing. Adult parties are much more fancy, I prefer them. If I had time to hit up a party for the holidays I'd most likely go vintage. Maybe something Grace Kelly would wear. Or Marilyn Monroe's diamonds dress, because it's so effing kitsch and I just want a reason to make a replica of it. When it boils down to it, I'd probably wear something with kimono sleeves and a cinched waist with a full skirt.

    I like your design idea and I'm curious to see the end results!

  4. I'm pretty excited, as you can imagine! I haven't been to the National History Museum since I was a kid - so I'm really looking forward to going whilst dress up to the nines!

    I think that dress is beautiful, too, don't get me wrong! It's just that I can't find lace that looks like it that isn't over £20/mtr and I just can't afford that on my budget!

    One day...

  5. Okay, okay, I'd rock an 80's prom dress. But this isn't the event!
    Actually, If you like tacky 80's dress, I have this amazing-because-it's-so-bad dress i rescued from my mum - it's BRIGHT YELLOW with black leopard print... I love it because it's kinda horrible. One day I will get around to fixing it up!

    Your prom... wow. I thought our prom was bad! I ended up "crashing" it [read: walked straight in and walked straight back out"] and it was sad and lacking in anything apart from drunk teachers. But in the cafeteria? Ouch.

    I think vintage-styling is perfect for a black tie event - it's just so classy! And I get to see my boyfriend in a dinner suit which excites me!
    I really wish I had more time/money/skill to make a really, really elegant dress. Something with an incorporated corset a lá Dior's New Look, with boobs I could rest my chin on, a lot of luxury lace and tulle and... ahhh. In a perfect world I'd look amazing ;D

  6. LittleMissPhantasm26 November 2012 at 07:11

    Oh my goodness, a bright yellow leopard print dress?! A third of my closet is rainbow animal print (>。<) I love tacky things, especially from the 80's and 90's. There are things in this world that are just so ugly they rule. Like bulldogs, or some walruses, walrusesss...walri. Meh.

    Yes, my prom was busted. I also happened to go to one of the sketchy schools that had a bad reputation. It was funny because the most "reputable" school had daily knife pulls. I think we had one knife pull in a decade.

    Vintage style clothing is just so awesome. I've always had a fetish for the fifties, and more recently the thirties and forties. Everything was so pretty back then. I collect vintage patterns. I remember the first vintage pattern fondly. I was shocked at how good the quality of pattern paper was, and the instructions! My word. You can actually follow them. I too wish I had the funds to make a super elegant dress. I'm not sure if I'd got the super huge ball gown, or the expensive flow-y type. There was fabric at the shop here that resisted human touch; it felt like a living being. It's like chiffon, only a bajillion times better. It costs $45 CAD/meter (0 . 0)

    I checked your new post! So excited to see the end result!! You tempt me with your sewing; I have no time to sew right now T0T

  7. It's honestly hideous, in the best way! It was my mother's in the 80's, and the dress she met my dad in! She wanted to throw it out because they're now divorced and we're all estranged from him, but I wasn't going to let that happen!

    We had no knives in our school, just a lot of pencils going into eyes. And Bunsen burner attacks.. But typical that the reputable school ends up being the more violent.

    Vintage patterns shock me also! Although there's things mentioned in the notions that I have never in my life heard of!
    There's an elegance to vintage that just hasn't survived so well in the present - I suppose because of the reform of women's rights, if you can get away with wearing a miniskirt without being announced as a whore, more power to you!
    I just wish it was a little more... easily accessible to dress in such a way.

    And thank you for your excitement! Sadly the pullover isn't going quite to plan, but hopefully I can salvage it!
    As for time management, have you seen Tilly's post on sewing in a busy life?

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