Finished Project: The 1930s Gold Classic Film Dress

Wow- Another project to post! I must be on a roll.  I have two more to post, but both of which I didn’t get *terrific* photos of, or no photos of, so this may be the last for a while.  Or maybe I’ll just borrow photos from friends.

The theme of Costume College this year was “The Golden Age of Hollywood.”  If you remember, last year I made a gold satin 1930s dress with a cape.  Well, that was before the theme for this year was announced.  Obviously I had to repeat the vintage theme… and the gold… and a cape… ;)

In all reality, this project didn’t completely come together until a few weeks before Costume College.  I was being indecisive.  Couldn’t decide on pattern… couldn’t decide on a fabric.   I just knew I wanted it to be sparkly.  Bought a fabric that didn’t work out.  You know why?  I thought “surely, 4 yards will be enough for a 1930s evening dress.”  But then I remembered a skirt I drafted based on dresses worn by Ginger Rogers in the Fred + Ginger movies and pulled it out and laid it down on the fabric.  In the end the dress took over 10 yards.  The previously bought fabric is marinating in the stash until it becomes something else (and right now I’m thinking that something else will be a 1920’s evening dress.  I blame Katherine/Koshka of The Fashionable Past).

One of my all time favorite 1930s evening dresses was one worn by Harriet Hillard as Connie Martin in Follow the Fleet (a Fred and Ginger movie).  Although I really don’t like the musical number, here’s a video clip from YouTube showing the dress in motion.  I think I was subconsciously thinking of this dress when I made this one!  In the end it looks rather similar.  In fact, I’m now determined to make myself a pretty spray of gardenias to wear across the front next time I wear the dress:

But enough chatting!  On to pictures!

What’s a dress without a cape, right? The cape was made from a 1940 McCall pattern of “scale” sequin fabric with a faux fur trim at the hem.  The dress itself was made from a strange almost netted fabric with gold spangles all over it.  The slip was made from gold lamé crepe bought from SewHallie (aka Couture Allure) on Etsy.  I was trying to harken back to the fabulous gowns of Hollywood yesteryear with this dress.

The dress itself was a combination of many patterns.  I drafted the skirt based on Ginger Rogers’ dresses (as mentioned earlier) and the top of the dress was cobbled together from three different vintage patterns.  Luckily it fit perfect after the first mockup.  The hem has horsehair in the edge to help give it extra body and “swirl power”.  I added fishing line to the edge of the sleeve to help it have a little more body at the hem as well.

The best part about the dress is the swirl power!

So that’s it! This was my secret Costume College Gala project.  It’s very fun to dance in, so I hope I get to trot it out again soon :)

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34 thoughts on “Finished Project: The 1930s Gold Classic Film Dress”

    1. You have done an amazing, amazing job on the dress and cloak…thanks for including the “wrinkles” of the fishing line and horsehair.
      Great inspiration!

  1. This ensemble is really stunning! I’ve seen brief glimpses of it in other Costume College attendees’ pictures and it wow’ed me. Being able to see the whole thing in these pictures is amazing!

  2. Oh. My. Goodness. That dress is sheer magic! I love the color on you; with your skin tone and hair color it looks as if you’re glowing! So, so beautiful. I didn’t think you could top the last two, but wow, you sure did!

  3. You look like a vintage Belle from Beauty & the Beast!! Simply stunning! I love the Ginger Rogers inspired skirt too! Could you please give more details on how you drafted that?

    1. Thank you! I actually draped it on my dress form. I have a commercial Wolf form, so I pinned my style lines of the skirt from the waist to the lower hip, and drafted in my lines. Then I flared out the skirt, similar to a wide inset gore shape. It took up a HUGE amount of fabric, since every shape was a little bit different, I had to number all my pieces to keep track. I watched the Ginger dresses moving over and over and over again to figure out what sort of cut they gave them, and in the end, even though the skirt took about 10 yards of fabric, hers still had MORE gores! They must have had a HUGE hem circumference!

    1. Thanks! I thought about it for a second, but the skirt takes up so much space that the pattern would probably cost over $50. There are eight gigantic skirt pieces, and they’re all shaped a bit differently.

  4. Holy holy holy shit. I am utterly, totally bowled over. First of all, you look unbelievably beautiful. AND THAT DRESS! I can’t believe you now have this hanging in your closet – I would be making breakfast, and doing yoga in just so I could feel likeGinger Rogers every damn day. BRAVO!

    1. Thanks! I found the sparkly fabric and fake fur in the Los Angeles Fashion District. The fabric for the slip was from SewHallie on Etsy.

  5. Stunning, and I love the mix of textures…gives it a real 3-d quality. Great use of fishing line! I want to try making rolled hems using fishing line with my serger, it also works with well for wedding veils. I’ve an idea to use it in a collar, what do you think?

  6. You look AMAZING!! What a beautiful dress – the fit, the swirls, the sparklies! The cape, holy wow, the cape!! Just incredible. I seriously cannot stop looking at these pictures – I’m just in awe.

  7. Good heavens, that’s a spectacular dress and cape! I sure would like to see a close up of your fabric, too! Did anyone else recognize Harriet Nelson of Ozzie and Harriet in the Youtube clip? I had forgotten that she was also a singer.

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