An elegant vampire wouldn't be caught dead in a mass-produced dress. Sew your own by using one of the readily available historical costume patterns, rich fabrics and unusual trims. Even a novice seamstress can produce a simple but lovely gown, particularly by using accents that are reminiscent of times gone by, such as antique-reproduction jewellery, draping lace and long fringe. Express your creativity to make your dress stand out.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Measuring tape
- Historic dress pattern
- Sewing machine
- Sewing notions
Measure yourself carefully in the undergarments you plan to wear with your dress, particularly if you will be wearing a corset with it, as this can change your measurements dramatically.
Purchase a sewing pattern for a long, Victorian-style dress in the size listed for your measurements on the back of the pattern. There are many historical costume sewing patterns available, both from speciality pattern companies and the large, well-known pattern companies. You may also consider buying a formal gown pattern, as there may be designs appropriate to the Victorian era.
Buy the correct amount of black or dark-coloured fabric required by your dress, as well as any notions, such as buttons, zippers or lace. The necessary amounts will be listed on the back of the pattern envelope.
Cut out the pattern and fabric for your size, carefully marking all of the pattern markings as you go. If you plan to wear very high heels or platform heels, consider adding on additional length to the bottom of the skirt pieces so the dress is not too short.
Pin the pieces together and carefully try on the garment, wearing the undergarments you will wear with the dress. This is the time to make any alterations to the dress, such as loosening or tightening a seam for a better fit.
Sew the pieces together according to the pattern instructions. It is a good sewing practice to try on the dress after sewing any major seams, such as the bodice pieces, before moving on to the next portion of the dress. This way, any last-minute fitting changes can be made without having to take apart the dress.
Hem the dress while wearing the shoes you plan to wear with it, so the hem is the correct length.
Attach any notions or trims that were not already attached during the sewing process.
Tips and warnings
- Consider using unusual items on your dress for decoration, such as cameo buttons, beads, feathers or flowers from the craft store's floral department.
- Your vampire dress doesn't have to be limited to black. Jewel-tone fabrics in royal blue, purple, dark red or emerald green can be striking choices.
- Tattered lace can add an air of aged decadence to your gown. You can give the appearance of old lace by layering tulle cut with ragged edges under lace.
- Slippery fabrics, such as organza and chiffon, are difficult for new seamstresses to sew. Consider using woven fabrics, such as crepe-backed satin or upholstery brocades, for a decadent look.
- Take care when trying on a garment with straight pins in it; you don't want to stick yourself. A friend can help fittings go easier by assisting with the trying-on process.
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