Finished Project- 1930s Dinner Dress

I’m back from Costume College! It was such a blast, and I’m somewhat sad to be back as I had a blast with all the friends I had not seen in a while but so overflowing with sewing inspiration from all decades and centuries.  What to sew next- an 18th century ensemble, a Regency ensemble, something 1890s… there’s just too many fun periods to play dress up!  Actually, I’m toying with going a bit earlier with patterns, too, but that’s a different story.

THANK YOU to the attendees who attended my class on Sunday! I was a bit nervous, but you all were so wonderful that I had a blast teaching and meeting some blog followers in person.  I will be posting some of the images from the class here on the blog, so stay tuned!  Another highlight for me was seeing a lovely gal in the 1930s Beach Pajamas! It was the first time I had seen anyone wearing something made from the patterns in person, and I ran all across the hotel lobby full of excitement!

This is the dress I wore to the Saturday night Gala.  I call it my “Carole Lombard” dress (see inspiration photo here),  or “Super Satin” (name courtesy of a friend).  This dress was actually whipped up in 4 or 5 days of sewing, but I am SO thrilled with it!

The pattern I used for this dress was Eva Dress 744, her multi-sized 1930s dinner dress pattern.  It was a great pattern to use and I especially love the cut of the skirt.  I did make a few changes just based on personal preference.  Most notably I added 6 inches of length to the cape, cut the back skirt gore twice as wide as the original to have more “swoop” at the back, and added about an inch to the length of the top bodice between the bound buttonhole type facing that the cape passes through and the top, but did not add it to the lining (so that the top piece had more fabric gather above where the cape inserted, then tacked down a “tuck” to just add to the drapey effect).  Also, in lieu of making the cape detachable I decided to just go ahead and attach it and stitch closed the slit through which the cape passes.  I also cut the cape on the cross grain of my 60″ wide fabric so I could not have a seam up the back (which meant I had to piece the lining, but no biggie).

All in all this pattern was MUCH easier to make than I had anticipated.  The hardest part for me was inserting an invisible zipper at the side seam (hi, bias satin + zipper.  Ouch! What was I thinking?  It originally called for snap closures, but I wanted the smooth line), and the newest thing I had learned was zig zagging clear elastic at the back bodice to help it stay “put”.  I am glad I had thought of putting thread basting down the center front of the skirt and the bodice, as it helped me with fitting to make sure the skirt was hanging correctly. I am totally in love with the skirt of this pattern and can see myself adding it to various bodices for different evening gowns.

I used a great heavy gold rayon satin I purchased in the LA garment district for the body of the gown and cape.  The bodice and cape are lined in nude silk charmeuse.  Let me tell you, I was iffy about using my nice fabric to line this in because I was hording it, but oh my gosh, the silk charmeuse on my shoulders and arms felt SO nice that I’m glad I used it!


I love these close up photos of the various little details of the gown.  The belt buckle was from the LA garment district as well (hello, only $3!).  The cute authentic 1930s purse was purchased from a friend (Tottie on Etsy).  The bracelets were stacked, and they are both vintage as well.

SO many thanks to the very talented photographer, Gar Travis, who was generous to be the photographer of these images (excluding the top one) and let me post them here on my blog.  He does amazing work!  Make sure to check out his website, where he posts more of his beautiful photographs from events.

46 Comments on Finished Project- 1930s Dinner Dress

  1. Miss Virginia
    August 3, 2011 at 7:18 pm (13 years ago)

    That is INCREDIBLE!! In that dress & that hairdo, you look exactly like Myrna Loy! Absolutely breathtaking!!

  2. Erin
    August 3, 2011 at 7:18 pm (13 years ago)


  3. Reagan Foy
    August 3, 2011 at 7:21 pm (13 years ago)

    OH MY GOSH! I love it! You look like a starlet. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Please tell me you felt like a million bucks that night?! I’ve been dreaming up a similar style dress in my head and you’ve inspired me to make it happen…and of course in silk charmeuse since it does feel so devine!

  4. Nadja Eleonora
    August 3, 2011 at 7:25 pm (13 years ago)

    Wow! You are totally stunning!!! And the dress is wonderfull, I want one too!

    (To mannage to sew an invissible zipper in biascut fabric is magic, to do it in satin to must make you a wizard,or do you sewingmachine a spell? A tutourial in that art please? )

  5. Casey
    August 3, 2011 at 7:26 pm (13 years ago)

    *jaw drop*

    Lauren, you look so gorgeous! The dress is beautiful; I love the modifications you made–it really takes the gown to a whole other level! I bet you were getting a ton of compliments!!!! :) (I know if I had been there, I’d probably try to steal it… hehe!)

    Glad to hear your class went really well too! :)

  6. Evie
    August 3, 2011 at 7:27 pm (13 years ago)

    That first picture is absolutely breathtaking! Stunning dress!

  7. Carly
    August 3, 2011 at 7:34 pm (13 years ago)

    You look like a movie star!! :) This dress is totally fabulous. I can’t imagine sewing a bias dress like that! I really just love it!

  8. PepperToast
    August 3, 2011 at 7:35 pm (13 years ago)


  9. Sara
    August 3, 2011 at 7:38 pm (13 years ago)

    Oh milady, this is such a stunning gown!!

  10. Stephanie
    August 3, 2011 at 7:42 pm (13 years ago)

    Wow! I particularly love the first photo! You so look like you belong in such a glamorous place. :)

    And congrats on seeing someone in your pattern! They are so wonderful!

  11. Dejah Thoris
    August 3, 2011 at 7:42 pm (13 years ago)


    So beautiful!

  12. The Glamorous Housewife
    August 3, 2011 at 7:44 pm (13 years ago)

    If I had that dress I would LIVE in it! It is amazing and you are gorgeous!

    Thanks doll,
    The Glamorous Housewife

  13. Janell
    August 3, 2011 at 7:55 pm (13 years ago)


  14. Jill
    August 3, 2011 at 8:34 pm (13 years ago)

    So so so beautiful and perfect!

  15. Tasha
    August 3, 2011 at 8:38 pm (13 years ago)

    Oh Lauren, what a bombshell! You look straight off a Hollywood set in the 30s. What style and grace. The dress is just amazing.

  16. Jeanne Marie
    August 3, 2011 at 8:45 pm (13 years ago)

    Absolutely glorious. THIS is exactly why I’m trying to become a better seamstress. This is so inspirational.

  17. Debi
    August 3, 2011 at 8:52 pm (13 years ago)

    Oh WOW! You look like a million dollars! You definitely look like a 1930’s Hollywood star! I love this dress so much!!!! And the lining and length of the cape is just fantastic!!! YAY!

  18. lladybird
    August 3, 2011 at 8:53 pm (13 years ago)

    WOW! i wish i could think of more adjectives that haven’t already been used to describe how great you look… but i’m speechless. you look like a movie star!! beautiful beautiful dress!!

  19. MissRayne
    August 3, 2011 at 8:54 pm (13 years ago)

    Sensational, i can just ‘feel’ the heaviness of that satin

  20. andreahg
    August 3, 2011 at 8:57 pm (13 years ago)

    Holy Cow!!!! You look amazing! The dress is absolutely stunning!

  21. Angela
    August 3, 2011 at 10:07 pm (13 years ago)

    Simply stunning!

  22. Marie M
    August 3, 2011 at 10:24 pm (13 years ago)

    Wow that’s an amazing dress !!! So georgous ! Perfect. You are so talented .

  23. PepperReed
    August 3, 2011 at 10:34 pm (13 years ago)

    A*Mazing!! You look fantastic and the dress is gorgeous! I have some beautiful gold crepe-back satin that I envision a dress like this made from; gotta get those skillz of mine growing. :^)

  24. Libby Gohn
    August 3, 2011 at 10:40 pm (13 years ago)

    You look absolutely fantastic in this dress. And I can’t wait to get started the Palisades dress that I bought after your excellent class.

  25. Evangeline Holland
    August 3, 2011 at 10:47 pm (13 years ago)

    You look like Barbara Stanwyck to me! Stunning and breathtaking.

  26. S.B.
    August 3, 2011 at 11:17 pm (13 years ago)

    Absolutely stunning gown!!!! It looks beautiful on you!

  27. Claudia La Rue
    August 3, 2011 at 11:57 pm (13 years ago)

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing your pattern “tweaks”, too!

  28. Andrew Schroeder
    August 4, 2011 at 12:45 am (13 years ago)

    I saw a picture of you in this dress on flickr and I immediately thought “Carole Lombard!” Glad to see I was correct! You look fab!

  29. kittysdrawings
    August 4, 2011 at 1:55 am (13 years ago)

    Oh my that dress is incredible! Wow.

  30. mala_14
    August 4, 2011 at 2:44 am (13 years ago)

    You look so gorgeous and glamorous! I’ve been seeing everyone’s Costume College pictures and have been loving your outfits. You did a wonderful job!

  31. Jennifer Vance
    August 4, 2011 at 4:49 am (13 years ago)

    OMG!I can’t believe you made that!Love it so!

  32. Paperdoll
    August 4, 2011 at 7:02 am (13 years ago)

    That is soooo beautifull!! iv’e been a little bit obsessed making a regency style outfit on and off for ages, can’t see when I would ever wear it though!! X

  33. Emma
    August 4, 2011 at 7:05 am (13 years ago)

    Absolutely impeccable – from the dress to the make-up! That colour looks amazing on you and the dress is super flattering. I can’t imagine what a pain that slide fastener must have been, though. I just finished a satin rayon full slip (also 1930s) that just wouldn’t stop distorting and it was my most painful sewing adventure yet.

  34. Kate in England
    August 4, 2011 at 9:34 am (13 years ago)

    My goodness that is one INCREDIBLE dress – you look absolutely stunning.

  35. Caroline
    August 4, 2011 at 10:56 am (13 years ago)


  36. MB@YarnUiPhoneApp
    August 4, 2011 at 12:44 pm (13 years ago)

    And how easy is to make a 1930s gown, just as easy as it is to make a contemporary one, friends. For the most part. And all those little details are what make this gown so very Depression-era. Now, I got ask: is the belt buckle turned around? It seems like it might be, (purposely of course to get the period look). I might add not only is not difficult to sew something like this, you can do on a budget. Buy your fabric on sale, etc.

  37. Janice
    August 4, 2011 at 2:12 pm (13 years ago)

    Well done, you look amazing!! You’ve definitely inspired me to try out this pattern.

  38. Lauren
    August 4, 2011 at 3:14 pm (13 years ago)

    Just amazing, Lauren! You always look like you stepped right out of history!

  39. Tiffany
    August 4, 2011 at 5:52 pm (13 years ago)

    That is absolutely beautiful! I will be sure to follow your blog! Thanks for sharing… I can’t wait to start on a pattern of my own.

  40. The Dreamstress
    August 5, 2011 at 12:15 am (13 years ago)

    You look so, amazingly gorgeous in this! It’s just drop-dead stunning!

  41. Addi
    August 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm (13 years ago)

    Not only does the dress look faboo, but your hair came out great! The waves are lovely, and it really looks bobbed! :)

  42. Funnygrrl
    August 5, 2011 at 8:05 pm (13 years ago)

    The cape…Wow. The bodice…Amazing. The colour…Perfection.
    Gorgeous beyond words.

  43. Mel
    August 6, 2011 at 1:19 pm (13 years ago)

    Stunning! I’ve been reading Raymond Chandler lately and you look like you stepped out of the pages of one of his books. Is there perhaps a little matching pearl-handled pistol in your handbag…?

  44. Isis
    August 8, 2011 at 11:20 am (13 years ago)

    You look like a movie star! Stunning gown!

  45. Laurie
    August 11, 2011 at 2:48 am (13 years ago)

    That is stunning!

1Pingbacks & Trackbacks on Finished Project- 1930s Dinner Dress

  1. […] Wearing History’s 1930s gown – This is one of the most gorgeous garments I’ve ever seen.  Homesewn or not.  Lauren has created wonderful patterns based on vintage patterns and her blog is a daily treat for me.  I have not attempted one of her patterns yet but I have many on my wish list.  I don’t want to copy any of her gown photos but here is the inspiration photo. Carole Lombard […]

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