Thursday, February 15, 2018

A Robe de Style for New Year's Eve

In the fall of last year, friends of ours invited us to a 1920's themed New Year's Eve party near Disneyland. I really didn't like the last twenties dress I made, so I decided to have a bit of fun and make a robe de style. 

Unless you're pretty into fashion history, most people don't associate this silhouette with the twenties (cough cough flappers and fringe only cough), but I just fell in love with it, and decided it was much more flattering than a shift style, for my body type. 

Of all the styles of this silhouette, I decided I really liked the ones that showed the panniers through the skirt, so I chose a sheer metallic lace that I had in my stash, and fashioned simple panniers, similar to 18th century, but a little shallower. 

I made them out of black cotton bobbinet, satin ribbon and plastic boning. I attached them to the dress, instead of the slip, so I could use the slip for other outfits. In hindsight, I should have made the panniers more stable, by either attaching them to the slip, or making a more solid shape out of the bobbinette (adding a semi circle of fabric to the base and a rectangle to the hip side), because they were fine when I was standing, but they would collapse and I had to readjust them if I sat and stood, or took my coat off. Not a big deal, but could be done better in the future. 

It's a bit hard to see because of the lace, but the bodice was made with lots of darts to make it more flattering. I used a base pattern from a 1920's blouse to model the shape of the bodice and took the darts from the slip's pattern (the slip was a 1920's/30's reprint). I draped the final bodice pattern to best use the lace motifs. It slips on over the head. 

The lace's edge was used for most of the hems. The armscye was bound with a narrow strip of lace, like a bias underbinding.

I put lingerie guards, with snaps, at the top of the shoulder to keep the slip in place. 

The skirt was draped and I followed the same method of making an 18th century petticoat (scooping down a couple inches at the center front so the skirt is level over the panniers).

The slip is black crepe, and was made up from the same Mrs. Depew pattern that I used for the slip under my last 1930's evening gown. It has darts in the front and back to help it from looking like a sack. The neck edges were bound with bias underbinding.

I added the placket before I realized it could totally slip over the head, too! Oh well, it's pretty lol! 

Under the dress, I wore step ins and a garter belt to hold up my stockings. I skipped the bra because I didn't have time to make a black one and the envelope chemise and twenties bra that I have are light and the straps would have shown. 

My favorite accessory was the shoe buckles that I beaded. I will share those more in depth in a second post. Love them!!

I was in a wedding the night before and we got home so late, so I did my hair in the morning before we drove to California. I had washed it the night before and spritzed my still damp hair with a spray bottle in the morning, but I have noticed my hair needs to be freshly wet to hold a good set. It turned out just ok. Luckily I had a pretty awesome tiara to disguise it!

On the drive :) 

Keeping the tiara in place posed a bit of a challenge. I cut a strip of moleskin and placed it on the slippery metal across my forehead. Across the back, I attached black elastic, securing it to one end an adding a hook the the other, so I could weave the elastic through my already dressed hair. This all worked great. It stayed in place all evening! 

I also accessorized with pearls, dangly earrings, a 1920's watch, a marcasite ring and a marcasite brooch at my waist. I used my black velvet, teens era purse and cocoon coat. I almost made a wrap, to accommodate the panniers, but the coat worked just fine. The panniers just collapsed up under it and bounced back open when I took the coat off.

And here she is! Such a fun dress to wear!

The party was at a roof top restaurant across from Disneyland, so we got to see the park's fireworks. 

I can't believe it's taken me a month and a half to finally write up a post about this dress! Next up: the shoes! 


  1. Wonderful dress! I'd seen the silhouette, of course, but didn't realize real panniers were involved! I have a version of that dress, in black netting and cut velvet, but the hoops are just gathered puffs of tulle tacked into the dropped waist at the hip. Can't wait to hear about the shoes -- fabulous beading, and it looks so original.
    Nancy N

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