Saturday, March 7, 2020

Vintage Egypt, Part 5: Evening Wear

Always my favorite category of dress, donning black tie for almost a week 
straight was SO MUCH FUN! Off we go!

The first black tie evening was a beautiful dinner at the Old Cataract Hotel. The dress is a grey and white chiffon, with strategically placed beads (for weight) to keep the neckline laying nicely. 

The shoes were such fun! I covered a pair of grey shoes in thousands of Swarovski crystals. Had I realized how many crystals I would have to buy, or how expensive it would be, I probably wouldn't have made these. But once I started gluing, it would have been a waste to stop mid way, and so I decided I needed to see them through. Flapper Cinderella vibes, for sure! 

Telly wore a mix of tuxedo and tails throughout the week. The fez was from an outing to the oldest fez maker in Cairo. It was amazing to go through the souk and see the hat made the same way it would have been made a hundred years ago!

My Assuit dress and shawl was made for a party last year, but fit in with the Egyptian theme perfectly! Egyptomania was all the rage in the 20's, what with the discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb. There are many examples of Assiut dresses from the period. My fabric was modern, as it's still produced in Egypt. An interesting note: modern Assiut is much, much lighter weight than 1920's fabric. The metal used today is different.

This silver dress and shawl was also made for a previous party. It's silk cut velvet on silk chiffon. It is the softest fabric I have ever felt!

This green lamé dress was made from a 1930 pattern. The fabric was a synthetic lamé, but oh so lovely. Wearing a synthetic was actually nice for this particular activity. Before dinner, we walked the temple at Karnak. It was hot and dusty and sweaty. Sometimes it's nice not to have to baby your fabric too much. 

You can't really see it, but the hem was finished with a faux hemstitch. Real, period hemstitching is done on a specific sewing machine, that makes a finishing stitch that can be cut though, leaving a finished hem that's very light and breezy. To replicate this, I used a very small zig zag stitch at the hem, cutting away the excess after stitching. This technique was inspired by my lace appliqué work on my Vionnet Star Dress. I also used it for the hem of the grey chiffon dress at the top of the page. Apart from being an interesting finish, its also extremely fast!

This Robe de Style was another dress made last year. The panniered hips are a fun silhouette. 

As for my evening wear, the next dress and bag were my most proud sewing accomplishments of the trip. I taught myself to tambour bead and made a dress, copied from an extant, and an evening bag, inspired by originals. 

This dress and bag will probably deserve their own post. 
The dress took well over 100 hours of beading, and then was hand sewn, as I wasn't going to trust my machine with all that hard work. I have no idea how long the bag took. I worked on it, here and there, over many months. They were a joy to work on and wear!


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  2. Everything is lovely, obviously! But I love your green gown at Karnak best. So dramatic, especially in that photo!


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