The “Shall we dance?” outfit | Adey Lim
Fabric: Yellow and Pink rose voile fabric 3 yards $14 from Arab Street, black and white polka dot light weight cotton 2 yards from stash.
Pattern: Simplicity 1657 and Du Barry 5636
Year: c. 1940s
Notions: Buttons from stash
Time to complete: 6 hours
First worn: September 2011
Wear again? Yes to both but not together
Total Cost: ~$14 ++
I have to confess that I know not what to sew this week. I didn't have the slightest clue what the spanish harlem style was. A search on the web showed me images of dance costumes from passionate flamenco to spicy salsa to lively fandango. I was lost at first but eventually decided to simply take inspiration from these dance dresses.
I chose a pink and yellow rose slightly sheer cotton voile fabric for the 'must have' tiered skirt and lined it with the same polka dot fabric used for the blouse (see second photo below). I love this voile fabric as it has a burn out and embroidered effect which lends a richer texture to the garment.
It was really difficult to capture the image below for some reason, when the polka dots appeared, the rest of the photo was overexposed. When no camera worked, my phone camera came to the rescue and I managed to snap this shot.
The blouse was really interesting to sew. It looked complicated but there were only 4 pattern pieces: 2 back pieces, 1 front and 1 huge piece which eventually became the front gathered yoke, side sleeves and back sleeves. It was this huge piece which was most time consuming to sew with all 14 gathers, sewing the 7 sets of gathers to stay tape and finally unpicking the gathers. I also learnt to sew my very first mitered corners, which I have not heard of prior to this. But, the corners effectively became the curved portion between the front yoke and sleeves. It's ingenious!
Here are some close-up shots of the blouse. The front and shoulder gathers, the gathered back sleeves all made this blouse unique. The bottom of the blouse was finished with a black bias as I didn't want to shorten it.
I actually found this top rather sexy and decided to sew the top and skirt as separates instead of a dress as I know I would be getting more wear out of them separately. Otherwise, in this outfit, I might just break out in a dance :P Unfortunately, I am not trained in any dance form.
Perhaps, a perfect excuse to start those dance lessons.