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Chicago Frocktails Burgundy Dress

Chicago Frocktails was a total blast. This post is all about the dress, but you can read more about the event here.

I actually made this dress at least 10 years ago. Time flies! I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to fit into it anymore. I did have to let it out a bit in the thighs. Back when I made it wanted that really curvaceous look… which doesn’t work all that great with my body type. My natural shape is pretty boxy and rectangular, so it’s been a challenge to look feminine and curvy. And it didn’t help that I’m only 5’1”. But that’s just the challenge of a designer, to design and crate a look that’s flattering to unique body types.

How to Pose in a Gown

Since I didn’t have the natural curves, I needed to fake it somehow. So I posed a little bit before I got to the event. I wanted to give myself an hourglass figure. So here is what I came up with.

The idea was to:

  1. Shift my shoulders forward to expose the clavicle. Because when you have a smaller bust, it helps to add interest somehow.

  2. Minimize my waist by placing my palms closer to the front of the most narrow part of my waist, and placing the hands along the sides. (Looking back at it, I probably could have placed my hands higher, but we can’t be perfect, right?)

  3. Pop out one knee & foot to narrow out the thighs and make my hips look wider than they actually are.

I am not a pro in posing… but it’s all about creating optical illusions. I usually will instruct my brides too when they come in for their appointments. We have a photoshoot at the pickup of their gowns, and they all love it! Who knows, it may be a newfound passion of mine.

The event was so fun because we each got the opportunity to model our look. I was nervous and walked very quickly, but I hope you can get an idea of the silhouette and fit in this video.

Construction of the Gown

Even though the construction of this gown is quite impressive, being that I made it around 10 (if not more) years ago, I definitely would have done a few things differently. And you know me, I am happy to take it all apart and analyze what’s going on here. So let’s dive into it…

The main problem was the structure in the gown. At the time I was only shopping for fabrics locally, and wasn’t ordering anything online, and this store bought clear boning just collapsed on itself. It stabbed my new love handles all evening and left bruises. Since by body has changed a bit since I’ve made this, now I would have extended the corset and put more heavy duty structure in there. Adding a laceup back underneath the zipper instead of a hook and eye close would have also given the opportunity to minimize the waist more. And it goes without say- a heavy duty zipper could have been used here instead of a standard one.

Back then I was just interested in making a really pretty dress, and making it well. I think now that I’ve been doing this for some time, I am more interested in the longevity of the garment. If you inspect closely, you can notice that I’ve designed the style lines of this dress in such a way that technically there are no side seams. Visually it’s interesting to look at and your eye is being taken around the garment without interruption of any seams. This means that resizing this piece is a challenge. Side seams simplify the alterations process. It’s not wrong how this dress was designed, it just proposes some limitations as far as adjusting fit in the future.

I do think it’s interesting how I used a horsehair braid trim along the inner neckline. It provides very nice structure and smooths everything out. But again, it’s not alterations friendly.

So there you have it. The good, the bad, and the ugly. And with all of this in mind, I would still wear this gown again. Because it’s silk satin and it feels like butter (except for the pokey boning) The boning however, is a component that could be swapped out. Technically a new and improved corset could be created for this gown. 💡

👰🏻‍♀️If you’re a bride looking for your designer/dressmaker match, I’m just an inquiry way.

🪡 Let me be your sewing teacher at Sewing Solutions

AGAchu 😘

1 Comment

Your dress is beautiful! Thank you for sharing all these details. I loved seeing the inside.

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