Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A study in cocktail dresses

in case you ever wanted to know what i do when i'm bored and have no work to do, you're about to get an eyeful...

i should say that i have no need for a cocktail dress. i hardly ever wear dresses of any sort. i don't have occasions...i'm about as casual as a person you will ever meet. but i like getting dressed up in pretty flowly fabrics, especially around the holidays, and my friend said she might possibly have a cocktail party, so the mere mention of a fancy party was enough to set me off to the fact that i NEED a cocktail dress.

let's start with some ready-to-wear...

i really like strapless dresses for some reason, and i really love red. this jcrew is beautiful, as is this one from banana republic. i also really like this one from anthropologie.

just one problem. i don't actually look good in strapless dresses. and let's face it, they are pretty impractical and annoying. who wants to be worried that you're gonna pop out of your dress while you're sipping champagne?

so back to the drawing board.

i really like this halter dress but i'm not sure i look good in halters, either. this printed dress is gorgeous, but i'm afraid i'd be perpetuating the asian stereotype. i like this style but i hate the color.

i'm finally willing to admit it. as you may have guessed, i like plunging v-necks. hey, i was cursed with a completely flat chest, so i might as well take advantage by showing the extra skin without having to worry about the entire room staring at my cleavage. i also really want a short (right above the knee) dress with a full skirt. i have short calf-y legs, and having a length that ends above the knee is key, or i'll look dumpy.

and then, the average price of these dresses is approximately $200. i did the math, and even if i use silk charmeuse, i should still be able to sew a dress for under $100. so we move onto sewing patterns.

first, there's color. my instinct would be to make a black dress, but god knows the last thing i need in my wardrobe is more black. i'm also really attracted to red, especially the perfect shade of rich ruby red. but red is a very strong color and might be difficult to pull off, plus it's a bit obvious for me, so i looked into some different colors, like this shade of green or this purple. can't you see either of these colors with strappy gold sandals and this yarn made up into a lacy rectangular wrap? or i could just go with red. i really really like red. i honestly don't know why i keep insisting that my favorite color is baby blue. it's probably red. my duvet cover is red. half my yarn and fabric stash is red. my blog is even red.

now, let's talk patterns. i absolutely love this dress. but it looks kind of complicated, and i don't want to spend $17.50 on one pattern, and i don't like that it takes a whole month to get to your doorstep. if i want to make a cocktail dress, i wanna make one NOW. i also am not that thrilled about the trim (maybe if i found the *perfect* trim), but i think it would still be pretty in a solid. this vogue pattern is similar on the top, but lacks the full short skirt that i was really hoping for. so then i saw this simplicity dress, which does have the skirt that i like. do you think it would hard to mesh the two together? might it look crappy? i guess the combined dress really is the hotpatterns pattern. maybe i should just suck it up, especially since i love the deep-v back of the hotpatterns dress.

the problem is that the pattern site doesn't give any info on fabric types or requirements, or notions, or anything. and since it takes a whole month to get here...i'd have to order the fabric after i got the pattern...really the problem is that i have no patience. i also know nothing about nice fabrics. i hate the feeling of cheap polyester shit, so i'm the idiot who would just be tempted to buy 100% silk just because...but i don't know what type to get. it seems like something a bit heavier would be best, but i don't know if that means silk dupioni or some kind of taffeta or whatever else. i really am completely ignorant. i have no speciality fabric shops that i know of, so i'd have to resort to the internet. and then there's the question of whether i even have the ability to sew nice fabrics, as i'm still a beginner and my workmanship is pretty shoddy.

so after all of that, i've wasted several hours of my workday and have concluded that i should not do anything. especially since lest we forget, i have no occasion. but at least i kept myself entertained. a girl can dream.

oh and the best part about my timewasting exercise is that i get busted all the time by my coworkers. and then they want to know what i'm looking at and they offer their opinions and advice. actually, one of them offered to bring in her old cocktail dresses because they'd probably fit me. i shudder to think what they must look like.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed your time-wasting exercize and all the pretty pictures. I know nothing whatsoever about sewing but I'd guess that the waistband on the vogue pattern would allow you to fudge the waist connection part a little and then cover it with pretty sashlike goodness. I think silk and other slippery stuff is supposed to be hard to work with, but I don't know.

    This is the cocktail dress that I covet: http://www.fredericks.com/product.asp?catalog%5Fname=Holiday2002&category%5Fname=Clothing-Versatile&product%5Fid=20035
    It's a good bit cheaper than the ones you were looking at, and even though it's Frederick's it looks like it might be suitable for those of us not so well endowed as their crazy models. Plus those straps look like they'd be fun to play with ;-)

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