The “Birthday with Degas” Dress
Fabric: 3.8 yards linen/cotton, $9.80 from Hancock
Pattern: Vogue 2960
Year: 1954 (2007, reissue)
Notions: Nine self-fabric covered buttons, $5.19 from Hancock; 1 yd grosgrain ribbon, $1.20 (for 16 yds) from Hobby Lobby, two hooks-and-eyes from stash
Time to complete: ~20 hours
First worn: Saturday, March 10, for a belated birthday outing
Wear again? Absolutely!
Total cost: ~$22
This challenge stumped me for quite a while. It requires one to be creative, which I am not. Sure, I love art but, I’m traditional (read: boring) and I generally gravitate to classic, realistic paintings. So, short of making a period costume copied directly from something hanging in the MET, I couldn’t think of what to do.
Then, I remembered viewing the Degas exhibit at the MET the last time we visited New York. I’ve loved ballet since my first class way back in ’92 so, of course, I’m drawn to Degas’ ballerina paintings and sculptures (though, yes, I do consider them out of my general art zone). After a quick Google, I knew which aspects I wanted to recreate.
I wanted a dress, not a costume – though, sometimes, I do miss my tutus! – so, I opted to find a pattern with similar lines: a wide neckline, a low back, and it was the perfect excuse to make my first full skirt! Vogue’s reissue of a 1954 design fit perfectly. I love the shape of the front and back necklines and it even had buttons down the front like this sculpture by Degas.
The dress is so graceful and so feminine, I just wanted to play in it all day! So, I decided I would wear it for my birthday (Thursday, making my post a few days late) and would dance and gallivant about downtown. There is even an outdoor stage that I planned to utilize to take photos en pointe to capture a bit of Degas-ness. Then, after two weeks of warm weather and sunshine, Mother Nature decided to rain on my parade. Seriously. It was pouring and storming all day! So, I discovered that a local museum had a small collection of Degas on display and thought that would be the next best thing. However, when we got there, we couldn’t find them and the docents had never heard of Degas (or Monet for that matter!).
I finally got to wear my birthday dress on Saturday to do my fair share of twirling in a park before heading off to dinner. The outing may not have gone as planned but, on the up side, I love the dress just as much as I thought I would!