The “Under Pressure” evening dress (and surprise extra garment)

The Facts

Fabric: 2 yds silver/black dance lamé $8.38 (£5.20), 4.5 yds black cotton from stash, 34.13 yds black tulle $26.28 (£16.30).
Pattern: Bodice: based on Simplicity 2444, Skirt: based on McCalls 6466.
Year: Contemporary.
Notions: Zip $0.99 (£0.62), thread.
Time to complete: 24 hours.
First worn: 10th December 2012.

Wear again? Yes, probably for a night at the opera, or at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Annual Weekend, or simply to to swan about the house in feeling fabulous and imagining hugging David Bowie.

Total Cost: $35.65 (£22.12)

The challenge: “Theme Re-Do (you either missed or want to try again)”….and, Music, I choose you!

This post could also be called “The Revenge on the LBD: This time I win”.

Do you remember the Music challenge? OK, let’s make this easier for you….do you remember me attempting to make a little black dress…..despite me hating black…..and that it was a representation of an album cover of an album I don’t like? Let me jog your memory:

It was possibly my lowest ebb during this year. The dark side of the LBD. It beat me….though actually it didn’t, I still made something and managed to post about it, even if I did show the bipolar demons inside in some of the photos that particularly disturbed Djamila.

So when Mena put up that this week would be a ‘re-do a challenge’ challenge, I knew I wanted to exorcise the LBD from the Music Challenge. Did I say challenge enough times there?

I tried to decide what would make me happy, a musical muse/style icon. Immediate thoughts included Kate Bush, David Bowie (he’s going to have to wait until next year, I don’t I think I can do any of his looks justice in just a week….though I definitely want to try some suits and his beautiful velvet dress on the cover of The Man Who Sold the World designed by Michael Fish), Adam Ant, Pauline Black, Björk (done her already though), Paloma Faith (done her too) or……Annie Lennox.

I LOVE ANNIE LENNOX’S STYLE!! I love her voice too, solo and with the Eurythmics. And I love her work raising awareness and campaigning, especially Sing, working for women and children affected by HIV and Aids. Plus she’s a little bit potty like me.

I did try initially to make a tartan suit inspired by one she wore playing in Central Park in 1995, but I haven’t managed to source a tartan I like close enough…..yet.

Instead I chose to make a totally frivolous evening dress inspired by a dress she designed with one of my new fashion fascinations, Antony Price, in 1992 for the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for Aids Awareness (A Concert For Life). I’ve been trying to find my metal red HIV/Aids ribbon from the early 90s all day. I think I’ve lost it in the move to the USA :( I’ll have to buy myself a new one. Especially as I’ve just realised I managed to miss World Aids Day on December 1st. Sorry, I’m waffling. Here’s a pretty picture of Annie in the inspirational dress:

And yes, she performed with David Bowie :) If you haven’t seen the performance, you really must. Here’s the live version on the night, and here’s them practicing before the show (just look at how jealous George Michael is not to be in Annie’s place). I think possibly the practice is vocally better, but the reaction of the crowd on the night is priceless.

Shall I shut up now and just tell you about my dress (of two ingenious parts)?

OK, so you have to bear in mind, Annie’s dress by Antony Price wasn’t made in a week by a seamstress who’s only really been sewing for a year proper….and probably their dress wasn’t made on the cheap either. But I don’t think mine’s too bad. I’m definitely going to swan around the house in mine quite a bit. I don’t think I’ve ever had a pretty princess dress and why shouldn’t 44 year olds have dressing up clothes?

I know mine isn’t as long in the bodice as the original, but that’s ok. It’s possibly riding up a bit because I was terrified about putting too much weight on the lamé and causing it to stretch/bubble. And that’s where the ingenious plan came in. The surprise extra garment.

It’s a skirt underneath an over-dress.

I apologise for this terrible pic, Goth Child was coming down with a really bad cold and I didn’t realise until afterwards, but was shaking. But it does show you the skirt:

So the dress part was based on the bodice of Simplicity 2444 but with a slightly altered neckline, and significantly altered sleeves. And the skirts were based on McCalls 6466. There are 5 tulle skirts, 1 cotton contrast skirt and a lining. I made an underskirt that can be worn separately from the evening dress from 4 of the tulle skirts, the contrast and the lining, sewing them onto an interfaced waist band. I can now wear this skirt on its own with a rock chick t-shirt, or as a petticoat for a circular skirt (if it’s a long one….it might be making a re-apearance in 2 weeks time), or with this dress and the beauty of it with this dress is it doesn’t stretch the bodice fabric to spoiling.

The downside of me only attaching one of the tulle skirts to the bodice is possibly that the bodice doesn’t pull down into place ENOUGH. It rides up a bit. Oh well. I’m still learning.

And actually WOW did I learn a lot this week! At the start of the week I had a bit of a meltdown when my sewing machine just seemed to bounce off the lamé. It just wouldn’t sew two pieces together. After a bit of internet research and lots of practice runs on scraps I worked out I should use a straight-stitch foot, and finer needle and a higher tension on my top thread. That worked a treat.

I’d also never used a double needle before, or the accompanying extra top spool of thread. I used this for the double rows of stitching the seams of the tulle skirts. I do like it when I learn new stuff. It opens up my thoughts about how other things might work or other ways I can do things. I can honestly say that at week 50 of this sewing journey, I’ve only just begun. I feel that I can just about take my training/stabiliser wheels off my sewing ambitions. It’s so fab. There are so many things I would never have learnt or even tried without being part of Sew Weekly. I cannot thank Mena and the rest of you for your support and inspiration enough.

The world is my oyster, that or the disco ball is my pokeball. One of the two.

 

Author

tempestdevyne

Tempest Devyne is a Brit who loves rain. She was therefore exiled to the deserts of Arizona. She started tentatively sewing about 3 years ago to make her own burlesque costumes. She'd now like to make pretty clothes for herself that don't rely on velcro and poppers to stay on. She's self-taught with help from the internet and lots of books from the library.

9 Comments

  1. That skirt is stunning and I think the length is perfect on you. It’s a great look – lots of fun. I love Annie Lennox too. There is something fabulously Carrie Bradshaw about the tulle skirt/petticoat It might make a nice challenge for next year. They are something that you would think would be simple to sew but there is a lot of fabric to wrangle, which complicates things. Thank you Tempest for all your humour. openness and creativity – you are amazing. Merry Christmas xx

  2. I been dying to the se photos… thats awesome!

  3. Divine. Devyne? Do you say your name like that? Your post is full of riches! I feel the same way about all I’ve learned this year, 100% due to the SW.

    On another subject, I would love love a David Bowie challenge! David Bowie outfits for the whole family! Do you think we could make it happen for real?

  4. Your outfit is awesome! All that tulle! Great make up too. Will you wear this on New Year’s? You’d be the hit of the party!

  5. Brilliant Tempest you do the BEST Annie Lennox. You are SO READY to take those training wheels off, let fly girl, just keep on having fun, you’ve been such joy to sew along with this year always leaving a big smile on my dial.

    I would so love to do a David Bowie challenge that would be so much fun. Let’s make it happen.

  6. My daughter re-created a David Bowie album cover for Halloween this year, I’ll have to see if I can download her Instagram picture and post it on my blog. She did the full makeup and everything, you’d get a kick out of it!!
    This is a beautiful take on Miss Annie, I lOVE her style and her “sod off” attitude. I wouldn’t mind taking a whack at the Union Jack suit she’s rocked… I am MOST defifintely in if you guys want to put together a David Bowie challenge next year!! Just say when and where and I’ll be there : )

  7. That is such a gorgeous dress! I love Annie Lennox, but when I dress up like her it’s in a suit. Wearing menswear is such fun! So are tulle skirts, but they are such a pain to work with. I am impressed!

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