Friday, December 31, 2021

A Floral Satin Luisa Beccaria Recreation

For the past several years, I've set aside the week between Christmas and New Years to participate in the Designin' December sewing challenge, hosted by Linda of "Nice Dress! Thanks I made it!". The challenge is to take inspiration from a designer garment and to re-create it for yourself. It's a fun excuse to make something for myself after weeks of Christmas sewing!

This year the plan for my garment began back in the summer when I found 4 yards of a floral print silver satin at an estate sale. For a couple bucks, the fabric came home with me - much to my husband's chagrin (He seems to think 3 rows of shelves of fabric in my parents' basement is enough material for anyone, I'm working on teaching him that each fabric is different and was acquired for different purposes.) 

This silver floral satin had a really nice hand to it, more weight than your standard polyester satin, and lots of drape too. After a burn test, a slight ironing incident, and lots of wrinkles, I'm guessing it's a cotton synthetic blend. 

As soon as I acquired the fabric I started brainstorming what to make from it. (I decided I'd better turn it into something soon to justify it's purchase to my husband.) After a bit of pondering and browsing Pinterest I decided this material would be the base of my Designin' December entry for this year. 

I started pinning designer dresses made from similar fabrics to mine to my Designin' December Pinterest board. After a bit I started to get a clear idea of what exactly I wanted to make. Some more browsing and pondering and I had it narrowed down to the exact design I would be re-creating.

 This Luisa Beccaria 2021 design. Looking back through my Pinterest board I've been pinning dresses by this designer for a couple years now, so it's about time I decided to actually re-create one of her designs!

Fabric picked, design chosen, I went through my pattern stash to find some base patterns to hack into my chosen design. I decided that by combining McCall's M6833 and McCall's M7974 I could get exactly what I was going for. I cut out the front bodice pieces of both patterns, thinking I could use 6833 for the bodice lining and 7974 for the outer layer. I would use the midriff piece and back bodice from 6833 and the long skirt and sleeves from 7974.

I measured myself from shoulder to under bust, then measured my pattern pieces as well. I needed to add about 3" to the front bodice pieces in order for the under bust seam on the dress to actually hit me under the bust, rather than in the middle of the bust.

I traced off the pattern pieces onto some tissue paper and made the needed adjustments. While I was at it, I also traced off the sleeves and made them a bit fuller.

And I added some extra fullness to the midriff piece so it could be gathered to match my inspiration dress.

I made a quick mock-up from an old sheet of the lining pattern to check the fit.

A couple minor adjustments were needed, but for the most part I was good to go!

I decided to use my sheet mock-up as my lining and proceeded to cut into my satin. I cut the skirt panels from M7974 to be fuller than they were drafted because I wanted a nice swishy full skirt.

I constructed the bodice first and ran into some issues with the ruched midriff piece.

It just didn't want to gather and lay the way I wanted it to. Turns out this fabric gathers better on the cross grain than on the grain. But did I check that before cutting stuff out? Of course not. Finally I decided to as "good enough" and tacked down the folds of fabric by hand.

The gathered bust pieces on the bodice wound up a bit more "poofy" than my inspiration, so I might go back later and tack down some of the folds there as well.

I decided to gather the bottoms of my sleeves into fabric bands rather than using elastic to gather them up. I think my inspiration dress either used elastic or a fitted lining, but I find cuffs like this to be more comfortable to wear.

Once the bodice was done, the skirt was easy.

A 7-panel gored skirt sewn together with pockets in the side seams.

The only issue I ran into was the gores stretched horribly on the bias. This was to be expected, but still annoying! I do not enjoy leveling skirt hems!

Once leveled, I finished the skirt with a simple rolled hem.

The dress zips up the back with a vintage metal invisible zipper. The best kind of invisible zipper! They don't break or get stuck at the waist seam the way modern plastic invisible zippers do! (I generally avoid invisible zippers like the plague because they don't hold up and I hate replacing zippers, but this design really needed an invisible zipper, the fabric wouldn't have played nice with a lapped zipper, so I decided to use one of my treasured metal ones.)

As the final finishing touch, I decided to add gathered ties to the sides seams. These should have been sewn into the side seams when I constructed the bodice, but I didn't think of it then, so instead they got hand sewn on.

And once those ties were securely on, my Luisa Beccaria copy dress was done!

I love it!!

It's not a perfect recreation, the original definitely has more fabric gathered into the bodice and sleeves, but it's comfortable and fun to wear!

I am so glad I took the time to make it!

The skirt is delightfully swishy!!

And I plan to get an awful lot of wear out of this dress!

Thank you Linda for hosting Designin' December yet again!


1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful dress, an inspired pairing of fabric to dress style. You have a rare talent for dress design and construction. Thanks so much for sharing!