I made this gown back in the summer of 2008 (Well before peacocks and feathers were fashionable. Look at me! I’m a trendsetter!).

It was inspired by a few things. The first was the large amounts of bright green crepe-back satin and royal blue organza sitting in my basement. Next was some beautiful peacock-esque costume jewellery my Grandmother had given me.

Last, but certainly not least, was the flock of feral peacocks strutting around my parent’s property on Gabriola Island, BC. They provided the feathers, of course.

That was the same summer I made my Titanic Lunch Dress and Titanic Swim Dress, and I had spent a lot of time looking at Deborah Scott’s original costume sketches. That’s when I found this beauty, an early draft of the Dinner Dress that I love so much. This is where I started.

Part one, the underdress, is just a simple strapless princess-seam gown, lined and boned. I think I used McCall’s 4450. I made it out of emerald green crepe-back satin. The satin was leftover from making bridesmaid dresses for my Aunt’s 1970’s wedding. Just don’t sew the lining in yet, we need to make the overdress first!

WHOA VINTAGE.

Part two, the overdress. I had sketched out the rough shape, and planned to use my dress form and some pins to figure the rest of it out. Here’s where it really got away from me. Instead of trimming it down to anything close to what the sketch shows, it is basically just one big rectangle of fabric that has been folded and fitted using broaches. As soon as I saw the amazing side-train, I couldn’t cut it down, so I just hemmed the edges and continued on my way.

Sketch #1

Sketch #1 became this.

Next up; to peacock-ize it. I used a massive package of sequins (which I had to sort by colour—what fun that was!) and some special glue designed for adhering sequins to fabric. There was also some chalk, for drafting everything out, and some copper-coloured ribbon for the stems. After that, all that was left was to lay out a tarp, put on a movie, and settle down with about a million sequins, a few bottles of glue, and all the doors shut to keep the dog out.

Once the overlay was done, I basted the top of the overlay to the top of the underdress. Then, stitch everything together with the lining, turn the lining in, and you’re off to the ball, peacock-style.

A few months later I made an info graphic tracing all the components of the dress for a school project. I think it’s pretty cool, though the illustration could use some work.

All photos of me in the dress by the lovely Hannah P.!