Inside a Designer Gown

 

I want to share my experience of getting up close and personal, inside a RTW Oscar de la Renta designer gown scored at an estate sale.

The Dress. Auditioning Shoes

The Dress.
Auditioning Shoes

And what a pleasure it was.  First, because it reinforced everything I’ve learned over the years.  And, secondly, because it showed that I am fully capable of sewing a similar gown–if I so chose–thanks to my sewing education.

My Sewing Education

I can’t begin to list all the teachers who have contributed to my  sewing education as I began sewing at 10, so first credit goes to Mom; then Junior High Home Economics classes, on to College of Home Economics, University of Minnesota, and, the most important, The American Sewing Guild, established in 1978.  I am a charter member of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter of the American Sewing Guild, the third chapter of the national organization organized in 1979.  Through ASG, I, and all my fellow sewing enthusiasts, had/have access to terrific educators; some are national personalities; others are regional and local.  All are marvelous educators!

By the way, the ASG tag line is Advancing Sewing as an Art and a Life Skill.  How appropriate; it is an Art and something I can continue to practice and enjoy even though various body parts don’t function so well.  The bionic knee does bend enough to use the sewing machine foot pedal.  Yay!!!!

The Gown

This is a what I would call a cocktail dress; that’s what we called them in the 60s.  It’s a special event gown from Oscar de la Renta.  Don’t have a date but the feather trim indicates a recent date.  Perhaps someone recognizes a code on the label to date the dress.

The fabric is a silk faille lined in a silk taffeta.  There are no fiber labels so am assuming Silk due to the ‘feel’ and ‘look’.  Sorry, didn’t due a fiber test.

Label and lingerie guides to keep bra back from creeping above top of gown

Label and lingerie guides– keep bra back from creeping above top of gown

Gown front

Gown front

Gown back

Gown back

Clever Embellishment

The gown back is a panel running from top to bottom.  It is shaped with tucks that are unstitched at the top and then folded down to shaping a V back and a clever, yet simple, embellishment.  The tucks are stitched to the waist and left open to hem forming a subtle bustle effect.

INside a Designer Gown

Close up of back detail

Back tucks folded up to reveal un-stitched portion.

Back tucks folded up to reveal un-stitched portion.

Note the side waist seam that continues around to the front where a plain front panel runs from top to bottom.  The front and back panels contribute to princess seam shaping.

Inside

This is the back of the gown showing the taffeta lining.  The lower third of the skirt lining is a separate piece stitched to main lining to protect the wearer from the stiff horsehair braid which is between the gown and this piece of lining.

The gown is closed with an invisible underarm zipper.

Inside the Gown

Inside the Gown

This is the part of the lining that maintains the skirt fullness.

Under the protective (next to body) lining.  This is the part of the lining that maintains the skirt fullness.

Inside a Designer Gown

Closeup of wide horsehair braid encased in the lining hem. This supports the fullness of the skirt–thus the bell-shape of the skirt.

 

Other Undercover Details

INside a Designer Gown

Waist Stay, lining, label.

 

Other inside support–full lining, waistline stay ribbon that hooks together over the zipper.

The waistline stay holds the garment at the waist, especially important for strapless gowns.  The strapless gown–and this one too–can’t slide further than the waist.  And, if properly boned, won’t sag

 

 

 

 

Sew-in interfacing at front neck and armscye

Sew-in interfacing at front neck and armscye

Interfacing at front neck and armscye is a loosely woven gauzy fabric, cut on the straight grain–see raveled edges. Couldn’t get into the tucked back neck but doesn’t feel as if there is any interfacing. Remember, this is a very firm, crisp, stable fabric.

In this photo, the top of the garment is folded back over the skirt lining to show seam finishes–none.  Although the one lining SA on the Right does appear to be pinked.  Other SA were 5/8″ and raw–read as lots of fraying.  Also see the unclipped threads!  Yes!  I very seldom neaten up the inside of my garments, especially if lined.

Feather Hem Embellishment

Pheasant feather hem embellishment

Pheasant feather hem embellishment

Feather trim is finished on inside with hem tape and lace hem tape; the lace is hand-stitched to faille. No stitches show through to right side–the beauty of faille.

Inside finish of feather trim

Inside finish of feather trim

ONE LAST DETAIL–POCKETS

How practical–tissues, keys, cash, iPhone–would fit…but, maybe not a good idea.  There are times when we just need to disconnect.

Made a summer dress with pockets and Love them.  Will now include whenever practical.

FYI:  The weird diagonal black object on left of photo is an Eames Bird

POCKETS

POCKETS

 

 

Would really like to hear about your forays into RTW Designer fashion.  Please share as we all learn from How It’s Made.

Happy Sewing!

 

PS:  Eames Bird


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2 Responses to Inside a Designer Gown

  1. fabrickated says:

    What an interesting post. I especially like those stitched down pleats in the bodice.

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