Opening at the Close

Somehow, I think it’s fitting that my last post of 2019 should be about the first project that I finished in 2019.  It’s taken me this long to post about it for a variety of reasons, but primarily because I was waiting to get one single specific photograph.

I spent all 12 months of 2018 viciously procrastinating on doing literally any designwork at all for my URTA gala dress.  I made zero sketches, I avoided creating a specific Pinterest board, I did absolutely no pre-production work for it whatsoever.  At URTA in 2018, when I discovered that there would be a party the next year, I instantly decided I needed a dress, and it sprang into my mind, virtually fully formed in that moment.  I wanted a winter gown, with a fur-trimmed collar and cuffs, possibly with the inset wrap from this dress:


My initial notes on the dress (I did take notes, sitting at the Westin in January, at least.) stated that I wanted the dress to be forest green, or cranberry, or black.  And that was as far as I got.  By the time we hit January 2019, with three weeks to go until URTA 50, things had been revised somewhat.  I elected to ditch the wrap, going instead with a bodice I had designed in school, based off of a 30’s Simplicity pattern envelope illustration.  I had purchased a super lovely, heavy teal ponte knit from Mood Fabrics.  And I had settled on a variation of this for the back of the dress:

I had found this photo, also on Pinterest, while I was in school, and I was completely enamoured by the radiating darts.

I patterned the entire dress from the blocks up, and it is, to date, the only completely self-drafted pattern I’ve ever made.  I stole the sleeve shape from a 1950’s cropped jacket pattern, because of their radiating elbow darts, also a favorite design feature of mine.  I ditched the fur trim on the cuffs, if for no reason other than I only had a single piece of vintage mink for the collar.  The skirt flares very slightly in the back into some semblance of a puddle train (though ponte doesn’t really puddle, per se), and I cheated the collar, the mink (which was itself a collar harvested from some unknown garment, and already backed with satin) attached to the neckline with snaps, so I can get my head through the neckline with no closures.  The back is easily the most impressive part of the dress… which leads me to the reason why I haven’t made a full post about this dress until now, the 31st of December, 2019.  I had no photos of myself from the URTA 50 gala at the Palmer House.  I had 3 photos from wearing the dress for Mothers’ Day to visit Kenneth’s mother during MeMadeMay.  I had zero photos of the back of the dress.  I wasn’t going to post until I could share the back of the dress.  So when I took it home to wear on Christmas Day, I handed my phone to my dad and said “I NEED A PHOTO OF THE BACK OF THIS DRESS.”  And here we are.


As a bonus, for those of you who have read this entire post, I’ll share with you a little Hollywood secret.  Seeing as this dress is effectively backless, and I brought the INCORRECT fleshtone bra home for Christmas, the only bra I was wearing on Christmas day was (and this is an affiliate link) duct tape.  If I were to do this again in the future, and I’m sure I will, I’d probably opt for KT tape instead, since it’s meant to adhere to skin, but this is definitely one of those things your favorite stars do at the Oscars that you’d never have known about, had I not just told you.  You’re welcome.  Happy New Year.

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