1930s Evening Gown

August 10th, 2011

I want so badly to show you my completed handkerchief, but alas, I must keep it under wraps for a little while longer. In the meanwhile, I dug around in my digital picture files and came up with a gem from all the way back in 2008. Sorry the picture is so small, it’s the only one I’ve got.

1930s Evening Gown

I concocted this 1930s evening gown for a benefit party thrown by the Museum where I work. Yes, it’s an 1850s historic house, but sometimes we get bored with the 19th century and break out. Like we did in 2010 with our disco-themed bash… Anyway, in June 2008 we threw a party on the roof of the Central Park Arsenal that we affectionately dubbed “It Happened One Night,” in honor of the 1934 Gable/Colbert feature. The theme of course was the 1930s. The late, great Danny Stiles was our DJ (!!) and the invitation was emblazoned with blue zebra stripes, in honor of that famous hot-spot, El Morocco. It also boasted a series of tiny silhouettes of Fred & Ginger, drawn by yours truly.

Interesting aside about the blue zebra stripes and legendary matching banquettes at El Morocco — rumor has it that they were made in that distinctive shade of cerulean because it showed up better in black-and-white photographs than actual black would have done.

As soon as our theme was selected, I set to work on my dress. I watched a slew of Depression-era films and also located this great illustration from the period.

1930s Dress Inspiration

Because the material I chose (some kind of sheer rayon/poly blend) was so atrociously slippery — especially once I cut it on the bias — I ended up sewing the entire thing by hand. And finishing each ravel-prone seam with overcasting…in both directions. And then I beaded the bodice. Yes, I’m a little tetched.

But I did end up in New York Social Diary (scroll down, down, down…there I am).


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