The “Tux” Dress
The Facts: “The Tux Dress”
Fabric: Heavy black cotton stretch sateen, white cotton sateen for the dickey, and black cotton-silk radiance for the belt
Pattern: Simplicity 6933, with some embellishment
Notions: black plastic shank buttons, invisible zipper, buckram, 1.5″ elastic and hooks and bars for the belt.
Time to complete: around 6 hours
First Worn: May 26, 2012
Wear Again: Yes!
Total Price: Pattern- free in a giveaway on Debi’s blog, $35 for the sateen, and $6 for the belt fabrics, $2 for the zipper and $1 for the buttons= $44- way more than I usually spend on a dress!
I love black and white dresses and long desired a “tux” dress. I figure it’s perfect for the Vegas theme, right? Casinos, tuxedo clad men at poker tables, and heck- this is short enough and my hair is big enough I could be mistaken for a cocktail waitress! I had a crafty event night planned here in Brisbane last weekend, and I wore the dress for the first time then- it was a hit. More importantly, I was comfortable enough in this dress (never underestimate the power of a little lycra!) I could forget about it and get on with running the event instead of thinking about my clothes.
Since I was making this dress to wear around other sewists, I had some fun with the construction. I used my favorite pleated sleeve pattern instead of the sleeve provided. When stitching down some of the details like the exterior back neck darts, I used contrasting thread so the detail would “pop.”
I used the same contrasting thread on the front flat-felled seams for thematic harmony. The white dickey on the front was made as a completely separate piece, then whip-stitched into place. If I so desire, I can easily remove the dickey to reveal a very plain black dress with a steep, deep V-neck. The cotton-silk satin cummerbund belt is both light and strong. I hand-pleated the silk onto a buckram base and used extra-wide elastic (covered in fabric) for the back. I think it’s the nicest belt I’ve ever made and will probably get more use out of the belt than the dress. Click here for the cummerbund belt tutorial.
I don’t generally sew from the late 60’s- I stick to the mid 40’s-50’s or self-drafted as a rule. Imagine my shock and amazement when this dress fit me pretty well straight out of the envelope. No fooling. I changed the shape of the bust seams ever so slightly and raised the hem, but left the rest as-is. I thought the envelope illustration looked more A-line than this dress, but I’m still happy with it. It’s a simple “sheath-like” shape with a cool seaming detail. The simplicity worked well as a base for my “Tuxedo” embellishments.
Like any good poker player, I accessorized with my dark sunglasses.
Trivia: Sometimes the locals refer to Brisbane as “BrisVegas”- it doesn’t have a “strip” but prostitution and gambling are legal here (as it is Australia-wide). Interesting, no?