A Floaty Cocktail Dress

Photo May 19, 7 11 36 PM

It’s been a while since I wore this dress, but it just takes so long to get photos done! I was planning on just rewearing a dress to our spring event because all I want to sew lately is comfy basics. But then Fabric Mart had all those J. Crew silk/cottons on sale, and I saw this teal/black poly taffeta for $1/yard and just added a few yards to the cart thinking that in my line of work I’ll probably use it someday. Then our event chairs announced the theme of the event was going to be mid-century vintage, the taffeta and a large-scale floral J. Crew chiffon ended up next to each other in my shameful fabric overflow pile, Gertie’s lovely cocktail dress popped into my mind, and this it just happened. When everything aligns like that you have to go with it!

Butterick 5882, image from Pattern Review

I bought this pattern during a JoAnn $1 sale because I thought it was beautiful, but it’s not a style I saw myself in at all. Honestly, I never planned to make it. This dress just had to be, though, and I actually do like wearing it. The fabric, which was surprisingly easy to sew and looks pretty good for the price, just swishes and floats around you. It’s awfully fun to wear! The dress came together fairly quickly, and I really enjoyed making the pleated bra part. I’m always drawn to wearing simple shapes, but I am finding that I just love the puzzle of a more complicated pattern.

Photo May 21, 8 10 28 AM

This dress was just a joy. So often sewing can be full of minor struggles, but once in a while you get that dream project where fabric, pattern, style, fit, everything just happens as it should. I was so happy to wear this dress, and I got a lot of compliments at the event from our super-stylish board members.

As pretty as this dress is, though, it does have a problem. Full circle skirt + weightless fabric + a puff of wind from a lobby door opening = me flashing the lobby of the Fairmont Hotel. My skirt was up over my ears on all sides. Luckily it was before the night started, I was just greeting a couple of our volunteers (they got a real kick out of it), and I favor the most modest of undies. I don’t really know what to do moving forward, though. I thought about trying to weigh the skirt down a bit, but I don’t want to lose the swishiness or drape of the light skirt. It might just be a strictly indoor dress, and one that I may wear a more fitted half slip under… just in case!

Photo May 18, 12 11 29 PM

22 thoughts on “A Floaty Cocktail Dress

  1. This is such a gorgeous dress! That color looks so beautiful on you! No wonder why everyone was complimenting you. Don’t you just hate the wind combined with circle skirts? I find myself walking around holding my skirt down most of the time. I wonder if sewing weights in the hem will work to hang down, but I think you’re right about losing the drapiness. That might only work on a thicker fabric like your taffeta. I can’t see it working with voiles I like to sew with. I guess just wearing slips will help for those Marilyn moments. I’ve had this pattern for a while and have yet to sew with it. I think you’ve tempted me to give it a try.

    1. Thanks! It’s one of my very favorite colors and looked better in person than I hoped! It’s really light, though, like a voile actually. I think a slip may be the only answer πŸ™‚

  2. Beautiful work, Kelly!

    Perhaps adding another skirt layer in a heavier cotton, and then thread tacking the two together at the seamlines would help keep things in their proper place? And, of course, a petticoat is always an option . . . it wouldn’t have to be super fluffy. πŸ™‚

  3. What a beautiful dress! Sadly I have no advice to give, but I hope you figure out how to make it more breeze-friendly. It would be a shame if you didn’t ever wear this gorgeous dress again!

  4. This is absolutely gorgeous! And the colour is lovely on you. Re the skirt, I was thinking that a tulle petticoat might help, (not a big sitty-out one if it’s not your style) one layer of tulle would do because I find that fabric can sort of stick to tulle a bit and not move so much. That said, Laura Mae’s suggestion sounds perfect.

    1. I have some tulle that’s been sitting around for years so I am going to try both (probably the weekend before I next need to wear the dress… sigh). Thanks for the suggestion!!

  5. This dress is absolutely beautiful!!!! Love the colors, especially the pop out at the bust and its so flattering on you!

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