To mark the opening of Wes Anderson’s new film, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, Dublin’s art house cinema The Light House held a special Anderson-movie-themed costume party on Friday night. I’ve never sewn a costume from scratch before and thought it might be fun (and challenging!) to try it.
After a quick Google Image search of Anderson’s film characters, I thought Suzy Bishop’s yellow dress from Moonrise Kingdom could be a pretty close match for one of my patterns, Simplicity 1913. I’ve made it up once before, but had issues with the upper back being a bit loose (which in retrospect I’ve put down to the semi-disaster that was my invisible zip insertion!).
So far as I could tell from hazy screenshots, Suzy’s yellow dress has princess seams in the bodice and an A-line skirt with a really short hemline. The dress also has a white collar and white cuffs. I was only able to find this strong buttercup shade of yellow in a heavy-ish cotton (it’s not very soft to touch and looks susceptible to piling). I thought I’d be more likely to wear it again if I made the cuffs and collar as separates – and kept the hemline at a more comfortable length! I lined the bodice with some light grey anti-static lining I had already, but skipped lining the skirt to save time.
Now, I really can’t remember why on earth I bought a collar pattern, Simplicity 1727A, when they’re pretty easy to draft by yourself. I think it was back when I was planning to learn dressmaking but hadn’t started, and was looking out for discounted simple patterns that could be made up myriad ways and worn in lots of different outfits. I hadn’t tried it before, but being tight on time I thought this would be a good opportunity to give it a go! I also adapted this pattern piece to make the cuffs.
I definitely got a much better fit with Simplicity 1913 here than the first time out – I still haven’t mastered invisible zippers but I had a better idea of what I was at this time around. Now that I’ve actually used the collar pattern, I can think of dozens of really cool variations using sequined fabric, animal prints, embroidery, beading…so many options!
Skills learned: Making neck bands and pointed collars.
Recommend patterns?: I think you could probably draft a variety of lovely collar shapes by yourself, but I have to say that I found Simplicity 1727A really easy to work with and will use it again.
Some of the directions on Simplicity 1913 were a tad confusing (especially the parts about the bodice lining – I ended up just doing my own thing to line and finish the bodice), but I think this is a really nice dress design. Interestingly – and usefully – the pattern includes a good array of suggestions and pattern pieces for customising the dress. It always feels like much better value when a dress pattern comes with alternative skirt or sleeve options!