The Totally Unnecessary Cocktail Dress

Do you ever have the craving to make something that is totally unnecessary, just because it is so fabulous?  I do!  And that craving suddenly came to me when I saw this nifty vintage cocktail dress in a Burda magazine:

Whenever I am at the main library I skim through the Burdas, and I found this design in the November 2007 issue.  It is a reproduction of an original pattern from Burda’s October 1958 magazine.  Almost hyperventilating, I mentally scanned through my stash on the spot, and eventually thought of some burgundy satin that I’ve had for ages.  I have actually been trying to sell it on TradeMe for a while, so now I am glad that it never sold!  It is a stretch satin though with about 5% stretch, because I do not want a stretch bodice I am underlining it with organza to try and stabilise it – only one way to find out if that works!  Plus that poofy skirt is just crying out for some crisp organza inside it…

I haven’t bothered with a toile because a) I am out of calico, b) I couldn’t wait until tomorrow, and c) I have plenty of this satin, so I cut straight into the cloth that evening – very excitedly I might add, because despite being polyester/elastane this fabric gives the illusion of silk duchess when underlined – look!

I’m taking photos as I go, so hope to have some tutorials soon on underlining, kimono sleeve gussets, and other handy tips I think of as I make this lovely dress – it’s looking awesome so far!

Posted by

Designer, Patternmaker, Blogger Of All Things Sewing. Follow as I share projects, patterns, and my favourite tricks of the trade.

28 thoughts on “The Totally Unnecessary Cocktail Dress

  1. ooohhh I am so excited for this! I absolutely adore this look from the late 50's and it will look stunning with the burgundy satin! YAY! And what a good idea to look at burda magazines in the library! I'll have to check if ours has them!


  2. Oooh I saw this in the library too and thought it was fantastic… I like your colour fabric much better. I can't wait to see it finished. I have a bit of the same problem – I have plenty of “going out dresses” but nowhere to go and nothing to wear everyday!


  3. Almost everything I have made is unnecessary! You will find a place to wear it. Can't wait to see pictures and I am especially looking forward to the gusset tutorial. I did one hell of a bad job inserting gussets into a white blouse.



  4. What a gorgeous dress – it will look great in that colour! I wish our local library had Burdas! And who cares if you don't have an occasion – you can be all 1950s and just look lovely around the house instead!


  5. I had to laugh when I read the title. I used to do that quite a bit, sew a dress just because I loved the pattern, whether or not I had an event to wear it. So I am sometimes overdressed just because I can't resist what is in my closet. Pretty style and I love the color!


  6. That dress is LOVELY. I made it in emerald-green for my sisters wedding. The bodice ran pretty small imho, i took my normal burda-size, but this time I didn´t have to take out 3inches of ease at the waist area as i usually do.


  7. I can't wait to see your completed dress. You definitely had the perfect fabric for it. I admired the pattern back in 2007 and someone in blog land (I can't remember who) made a gorgeous version of it back then too.


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