“No Cock Nor Tails” Cocktail Dress Ensemble [from a newbie]

Hello there! I’m a new contributor, but a long time reader!
My name is Melody and I blog over on Bourbon and Bras, where I make vintage-inspired clothing to better my sewing skills.
It’s nice to finally take the plunge in contributing, and I hope through this I can get a lot of tips and tricks, as well as new sewing friends!

I thought I’d get right to the chase and start blogging with one of my most recent makes!

Over the Christmas period, my boyfriend had a work’s Christmas party at the Natural History Museum in London.
The dress code was black tie, and never one to shy away from an opportunity to dress up, I made myself a 50’s inspired Cocktail Dress, and a ‘pullover’ sheer mesh top to go over it, to emulate the sheer-yoked nature of this dress by Aiseirigh Vintage, with the wearability of two separate garments.

No Cock Nor Tails Emsemble

The dress is made from a faux silk taffeta, made from a self drafted pattern from a basic block.
It’s unlined due to a short time to finish it, but features a sweetheart neckline, full circle skirt and center-back lapped zipper [a first for me]. The seams are pinked and the hem  was hemmed with bias tape and hand stitched to the dress [this took three hours. three. hours.].

The pullover was “frankenpatterned” from two patterns from Gertie’s Book For Better Sewing, the Wiggle Dress and the Bow Tied Blouse. You can read a little about that on my blog here.
It was made from a dobby spot “lace” mesh, which has four-way stretch and is little else other than a pain to sew.
But it features a 3/4 length sleeves, front and back darts, a tie back and some interesting “these-used-to-be-kimono-sleeves” panelling under the arm.

 Overall, I’m really quite happy with the ensemble. I have finally worked out a good fit for my bodices, and although this dress is plain I think with the lapped zipper and below-knee length it’s a good “vintage-style” circle dress, but the pullover makes it more “vintage modern” which is a style I go for! If you so wish, there is more about this ensemble, including links to the design/inspiration, please check out my post on it, here!

  • Fabric:
    Dress; Faux silk taffeta
    Pullover; Dobby print stretch ‘lace’ [stash]
  • Pattern:
    Dress; Self drafted from basic circle dress block
    Pullover; ‘Frankenpatterned’ from Gertie’s Wiggle Dress and Bow Tied Blouse
  • Notions: Bias binding [hem and facing], metal zipper [stash], grosgrain ribbon waist stay
  • Time to Complete:
    Dress; I’d estimate that, including hand-stitching the hem and the pattern, around 15 hours
    Pullover; Around 8 or so hours, including the ‘frankenpatterning’
  • Make again?: Definitely, the dress is a great fit for once, and a nice length, and the pullover pattern could work in any jersey or mesh and it’s a great little coverup!
  • Total price:
    Dress;
    £17, for the fabric, bias tape and thread.
    Pullover; £0! Unless you count the pattern, which was from Gertie’s book which cost me £15.
    So, £32 in total for an entire ensemble, including a pattern!

• Meet the Author • Melody Mae


21-year-old sewing enthusiast from South England. Likes knickers, bourbon and shiny things. Seemingly afraid of colour. Approach with caution. Or cake.


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10 comments… add one

  • the mesh top being seperate is a great idea.

    Reply
    • Thank you! I’m glad I stuck with the choice, and so far I’ve worn the pullover more than the dress!

      Reply
  • I also love the idea of doing a separate sheer top. Very cute ensemble!

    Reply
    • Thank you so much! I think doing the separate pullover has been a success, purely from the comments I’ve received on it!

      Reply
  • Wow, you look beautiful! Great job and great thinking with the separates!

    Reply
    • Oh my, thank you so much!

      I was originally uhmming and ahhing over the separates, now I’m glad I stuck with it!

      Reply
  • Lovely outfit, it really looks good on you!

    Reply
  • That is such an great ensemble & you look so amazing in it. The little mesh top over the dress is so versatile & really takes the dress to another level of fabulousness.

    I was at a mini Vintage Fair yesterday & they had a workshop on styling for your body shape. The audience was full of women in shapeless t-shirts & tunics over pants & the speaker kept trying to convince people that beautifully tailored outfits really do suit curves & those who aren’t a size 8-10. All the women kept saying “But I can’t wear such & such, I have a big bust/ tummy/no waist, huge arse”. I wish I’d been able to flash this picture up on the screen & show them how gorgeous vintage outfits, that are made to measure, will make you look smashing what ever size you are.
    It’s all about the fit & the fabric that make an outfit look ho hum or fab & yours ticks all the boxes.
    Well done :)

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for the kinds words, at first I wasn’t sure about the pullover as a separate item, I thought it could possibly cheapen the outfit?
      But I’m glad I stuck with my guns on this one!

      I completely agree with you that tailoring works with curves, it’s a shame that the audience was so scared of their bodies. I’m completely behind the whole “body acceptance”, and I’m lucky to have learned how to love my body and embrace all my curves to the point of being able to say “yes, I will look fabulous in this!”

      The way I see it, as a fat vintage lover, is that you need to experiment with shapes, guidelines on “what suits your body” has always struck me as strange, because I feel that you should wear what you want, and find the styles that YOU think suit you. This is why most of my clothes are fitted bodices with full and/or circle skirts, because I know it’s a style that suits me and looks good on me [but I really need to try out some different silhouettes!].

      Thank you again!!

      Reply

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