As I’m sure you might have guessed by now, I’m a bit of a Disney fan, so for my 26th birthday this year, my SO is taking me to Disneyland Paris! I am so excited as I’ve never been before, and so wanted to create a dress to wear to my birthday dinner at Auberge de Cendrillon – the Cinderella themed restaurant!
Now, as it’s Disney, there’s no such thing as over the top, so I decided to use a retro pattern to create this 90’s throwback Cinderella gown. I love the dropped waist on this pattern, and thought it really created this fun princess vibe, whilst not being a costume. The pattern I used was Style 1809. Now this is a vintage pattern, and I found this particular pattern in a charity shop, and have seen them sold on Etsy. however any off the shoulder dress pattern would work well, pick one that suits your shape. The dress itself is a simple princess seamed bodice, with off the shoulder sleeves, gently elasticated around the shoulders. The dress has a dropped waist, resting just above the hip.
I decided for fabric to use Satin Backed Dupion, as then I could create a contrast with the neckline of the dress, contrasting the matte and shiny textures. I also decided to go with a pale blue, which I felt harkened back to the original cartoon Cinderella’s dress.
One thing I will stress when using patterns is to check your sizing. With this particular dress I had to alter after I’d constructed the initial shell of the dress. I did this by turning the dress inside out and popping it on my mannequin, then pinned and tacked darts where needed. I then machine stitched the adjustments and cut excess fabric. This could also be done by popping the dress on, and asking a friend or family member to carefully pin where you need it! (It’s hard to do on your own, trust me, I’ve tried!)
I also took the skirt length up on this particular dress. I wanted something that was a little shorter, as the original pattern came down to just above the ankle, so I took it up to be just below my knee, which for me is a lot more flattering.
When stitching with this particular fabric, it’s also important to keep things neat and tidy. Dupion likes to fray, and once it starts, it can make working very tricky and messy. Clip things when you need to, and work slow to ensure your machine doesn’t get all tangled.
I decided to hem this particular dress by hand, and found it worked really well to create a subtle hem that avoided puckering. Whilst the skirt was not a full circle skirt, it was full enough to warrant needing some easing in the hem.
I’m so pleased with the end result of this dress, and I learnt so much throughout the process, this was my first time doing a dropped waist and creating something off the shoulder, and so I learnt a lot about this sort of garment construction – I did make a few mistakes, one of which being a slightly wobbly waistline, however I am so pleased with the end result that I love it regardless and will know better for next time!
Have you ever tried to make evening wear, and how did it go for you? Do you have any tips for people about to attempt their own formal dress?