Vintage black satin evening gown

I made this in November 2005 with ten day’s notice. My boyfriend told me that his best friend’s birthday party was back on for the weekend. This wouldn’t cause too much alarm in most cases, but this was her 30th birthday and she was renting out a country house for an entire weekend with a black tie catered dinner on Saturday night.

Yes, I said “black tie” – that means I needed a posh evening gown in 10 days!! I don’t have posh money, but I did have a this pattern, Simplicity 5876, for a vintage evening gown that I fell in love with but had no occasion to make or wear

I ordered the 7 yards(!!) of black duchess satin and 4 yards of lining fabric that same day, and got started on copying the pattern and cutting out the pieces over a few evenings, and then I sewed the entire dress in a single day that I happened to have off work.

I absolutely love the elegance of this dress. I was initially concerned that the cummerbund would draw too much attention to my thick waist (well, it was in November when I made this – I’ve since lost 17 pounds and 4 inches off my waist!) but the cummerbund really made this dress. I’ve also used the flounce sleeve pattern from one of the other views as an all-purpose sleeve on non-formal shirts to great effect. The final fit is sublime and overall, it is just wonderful to wear. I feel like the epitome of elegance and sophistication when I wear this. I could easily see this as a wedding dress.

At the time, I couldn’t believe that I finished it in time, and that it turned out as well as it did! I’m particularly pleased with the fit, since the top is one size, the bottom another, and the waist a third! The other girls at the party all spent £200 on their dresses and no one could believe that I actually (gasp!) made mine. I tried to keep it quiet since it wasn’t my place to outshine the birthday girl, but I really did get hundreds of compliments, even before they found out I did it all.

So let this be a lesson to all of you who buy patterns just because they’re beautiful and you have no occasion to make it and can’t really justify buying another – go for it, because sometimes having a pattern on hand will save the day!

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