My very gorgeous cousin in law was going to a wedding at St Paul’s Cathedral and she asked me to make her a dress. Aha, I thought, another one to add to the recreating vintage list.
When asked what sort of dress she would like, she replied “that green dress in Atonement”. Hmmm – not just any dress, that green dress in Atonement – who doesn’t want that green dress? I have lusted after that dress since the first time I saw it.
The problem is – it’s one hell of a complicated dress!
I won’t go into a full description of the construction of the Atonement dress as there is an excellent article on threadbythread, which does the job very nicely but needless to say it is a labour of love.
I searched my vintage patterns sites for a similar pattern but couldn’t find one and, since reading the above articles, I now realise why. The pattern is actually a combination of 20s, 30s and 40s features – it didn’t actually exist at the time.
So we concentrated on finding a pattern that had similar ruching in the front, a delicate back and a full skirt. We finally found a Vogue pattern (V8556) which would be more than adequate.
So armed with green satin we beavered away.
I have to admit I didn’t do this project alone, sometimes you just can’t do without your mum. There was even a late night phone call to my grandmother, in South Africa, for advice on attaching a zip to a ruched bodice. It turned into a family affair.
The ruching was rather difficult – since without sitting on the body it looked as if it wasn’t going to ruche at all. It needs the stretch to bring the fabric together. A good few headaches later regarding a strategy on how to actually get into the dress, we finally completed our Atonement Dress.
Miranda and I were doing the makeup at the wedding so fortunately I was able to see her hair and makeup and take some pics before she went off to the ceremony.
Martin, the hairdresser just casually twisted Miranda’s hair into a gorgeous setting at the back – perfect for the little feather comb I had made for her hair. We finished accessorizing with my favourite gold dress clips and gold earrings.
She looked fabulous (even if I do say so myself).
Against the railings of an London Street, she really did look like she had just come out of the 1930s. I’m really quite jealous now - I just might need to make another one. Oh, my mum is blaspheming behind me – perhaps not!
On that note I am now on the hunt for my next vintage recreation – any suggestions gratefully received.
Phew, this challenge I have set myself is sure keeping me out of mischief!