Vintage Sewing

Harry Potter’s Grey Lady

By on December 19, 2013

While not exactly Retro, I love how this costume came about.

A friend of mine was throwing a Halloween/Birthday party with a Harry Potter theme.  She was going as Nearly Headless Nick so I thought it would be fun to be a fellow ghost and go as the Grey Lady.

I was in a Vintage shop in Brooklyn soon after (The Odd Twin) and there was a hoop skirt and petticoat for sale. When do you ever see that?! So of course I had to buy them. I rationalized saying I could use it for my costume and, seriously, when do you ever see a real live hoop skirt for sale?!

Here are some photos, sorry the background is a mess. My dorm did not allow for too much movement.


Hoop Skirt




So for this costume, I found a cheap pre-layered mesh and basically just cut a huge square so that i could create a huge gather at the waist. to create even more fullness, I always inserted triangle gussets. There was a time crunch so rather than complete a full dress, I used the excess from the triangles to create a look shawl. I then tied the shawl in front to create a bit of a waist-cinched look.

Skirt front

Front Closeup

Below is my finished product, accessorized and full makeup. Sadly, it doesn’t look as nice on me as it did on the mannequin (at least in this photo), but there’s nothing like running around in a real vintage hoop skirt.

They Grey Lady and Sir Nicholas


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Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Original Dress, Forties Inspired

By on June 23, 2013

I had some bright red cotton sateen (medium weight) laying about and I ended up turning it into a lovely dress with a boat neck, sleeveless, drop waist dress with a circle skirt.

Using my own torso sloper, I extended the hip line down a couple more inches to give it a lower waist drop. Once I made a minimal muslin, I found that I couldn’t go too low without needing to reposition the darts, so I changed the measure of the drop accordingly.

To create my circle skirt pattern, I used a trick that my Patternmaking teacher taught me.

You can find the instructions here. It might sound strange, but it takes about 5 minutes.

For finishings I created a 2 inch facing for the neckline and binded the armholes. I also did a turn and stitch hemline.

This dress was made in a 9 hour straight session.

Please bare in mind that this dress has not been ironed/steamed since I first wore it back in Feburary/March.

It is nowhere near perfect.

I went through two and a half muslins as well as my final fabric in a 9 hour window.

I hope that in the near future, I can go back and perfect my dress. For now though, I am happy with this project.

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