So this weekend we were invited to a 70s party. Now regular readers know I love a costume opportunity, and at halloween I was exhausted and didn't end up enjoying the costuming process as much as I normally do, so I was ready for a success!
I did a fair bit of research online, as the 70s had a great variety of styles to choose from- a lot of which are currently back in style at the moment.
There was boho/hippy (a lot of representation of this at the party), chic day wear, suburban party wear and charlie's angels glam.
Then there is disco. Now 70s parties often tend more to the naff end of this - Abba inspired day-glo metallics and huge platforms.
I however wanted a more subtle look, that was less costumy. I looked a lot at Studio 54, Saturday Night Fever and American Hustle. I wanted something luxurious and big impact, but with the loose flowing casualness that seems to be a big part of 70s clothes.
I generated a plan,; a slinky, flippy satin dress in gold.
Even in my now stupendously oversized stash I din't have anything remotely suitable so I toddled along to Leeds market to look at the fabric stalls. My efforts costuming Midsummer Night's Dream recently meant that I knew just what I wanted -one of the stalls has lots of really lovely fabric that's some sort of super lining fabric. It's really thin but enormously drapey and ripply and it doesn't really fray (my previous experiences with lining fabric have taught me the hard way about lining and fraying!). Me and the stall owner agreed it looks and feels and behaves a bit like silk - only at £4 a meter. Perfect for a costume party potential fiasco! Here it is on my floor as I tried to work out how to fold it so it would all fit! You can see it's really soft and lustrous.
Now I haven't really done any slippery fabrics before, and I had been warned by others that this would be a colossal pain. I now see what they mean. It was impossible to cut straight or evenly, and I ended up swearing a great deal as the pieces distorted so much as I held them that I couldn't tell which way round them went and kept sewing the wrong bits together!
I cut out a 4 gored skirt about mid calf (I later cut a high-lo hem into it) on the bias, with a yoke. Now with the benefit of hindsight I could have interfaced the yoke pieces. But I did not. I'm just crazy/lazy like that. I then draped the top on my dressform. I was aiming for a loose wrap top with knotted shoulder straps (which cheeringly turned out to be extremely easy). I wanted the back to be non fitted with floaty bits. I draped away and somewhat disconcertingly it worked pretty well first time. I couldn't then think how to get it off without getting horribly muddled so I just hand sewed it (very badly) on the dressform.
I had planned to sew the top and the bottom together, but the swearing that accompanied the skirt section taught me better! I instead just zigzagged the yoke onto a piece of elastic and turned it under and tucked the top in. This worked 90% perfectly, as it was extremely easy and very effective but it did end up wrinkling the front of the yoke, which I clearly should have taken in about an inch in advance. Oh well. The back yoke sat very well though and barring my inability to notice that the thread kept snapping the zip went in beautifully. I decided to not hem the skirt (or anything else) as it didn't fray and so that was super easy and resulted in a very flippy skirt!
Overall I kinda love it! I had worried it might be a bit se through but it was fine! I swooshed and danced very happily in it and felt very glamorous! the only draw back was that it was rather chilly wearing it, so I teamed it with my massive Cruella deVille faux fur coat!
I don't know if I will be sewing anything difficult in silky fabrics any time soon but they are fun to wear!