Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pleather Costume Dress & Garter Belt

All photos can be seen larger here.

I needed a costume for a party in August, and decided this homage to Emma Peel of the original Avengers would be fun.  I'm not sure Mrs. Peel ever wore anything exactly like this, but surely something very similar in spirit.  After all, it was the Mod 1960's.

This dress is made from Pleather from JoAnn's.
I used a Marfy sheath pattern (#1128) as my starting point, with some changes that are not really too drastic design-wise, although the look is quite different from the original here and here.
I've made this dress several times, and it's a very versatile pattern.  This iteration has been shortened, the neck scooped, the back neckline changed to a very deep Vee, and the side zipper exchanged for a below-the-waist CB separating sport zipper. 

You can see the back below.  For ease of fitting, etc., and since it's only a costume, I decided that leaving the Vee open to the top of the zipper and exposing the back strap of my bra would not be a problem.  It would be easy enough to put a modesty strip or panel across with snaps, and if I wear it again, I may do so.
The pleather was very easy to sew, but the fact that pins make permanent holes made it difficult to fit quickly.  Tape didn't hold well to try things, and I ended up using clothespins at times.  I did use some pins where I was going to be sewing anyway.  All edges except the hem are turned and stitched with either a straight stitch or a 3-step zigzag.  You can see both in the photo at left, which shows the ties on the front shoulder 'straps'.  They control excess fullness in the neckline.

The original design has a front jewel neckline with gathers in lieu of some of the dart shaping, and I should have rotated that fullness out before cutting.  This did the trick though, and is kind of cute anyway.

To the right is the back of the dress laid out on the ironing board.  You can see the zipper at CB.  The zipper zips up from the bottom.

You can see the bottom of the zipper below and the double row topstitched hem from both the inside and outside of the garment.  The hem was turned up and stitched along the zipper while the zipper was inserted.

I used a large-toothed sport zipper for this garment, and I think it fits well with the design and the fabric.

To the right you can see the CF waistline from the inside and outside of the dress.  I took a tuck at the waistline between the front vertical darts.  There is no give in pleather, and there was just too much fullness there.

I put elastic inside to gather it up across the grain a little as well.  This seemed to help the fit quite a bit, and it was all hidden by the sash belt.

On to the matching garter belt.  Every 1960's heroine needs a garter belt.  After all, it was before pantyhose made their appearance.  Here it is closed and open.

The pleather made it very quick and easy to sew.  Sturdiness, no raveling and no stretch meant no reinforcement or lining needed.  This sped up the process a lot.  I used purchased garters which came with the elastic attached, and put loops with 2 attachment points on the inside.

The seams were stitched, then each seam allowance was topstitched down.  This might have been overkill, but I wanted it to last, and to be very flat against the skin.  I used the triple zigzag on the edges, again to make sure the edges were very flat.  I had thought it would be fun to add some embroidery or some kind of embellishment to this, but I ran out of time. 

I will leave you with 2 last dress photos.  The side/back view, and the 'fun' shot.  Many of you know that my sister takes all my best photos, and we were getting silly at this point.


katherine h said...

What fun! Fantastic costume. I'm sure you had a great night and got lots of attention in this!

SEWN said...

Wow! It looks fantastic. Love the heels too!

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

You look AMAZING in this costume!

Barbara at Cat Fur Studio said...

Fabulous, dahling :)

Mardel said...

Agreed, Fabulous!

velosewer said...

Wow. You do look like a super hero.
I've used small bull dog clips instead of pins to hold pleather together when sewing pleather, if that helps.

marysews said...

It looks great, and you are one brave woman!

cidell said...

What an awesome costume! You are totally rocking it. Love it.

patti said...

Just WOW!!! Wish we had something planned for your upcoming visit in Chicago where you could wear it--but I just don't think it's opera-ready!

Sharon said...

You look fanstastic and hope you had a brilliant night.

gwensews said...


mem said...

where is your whip and mask????

mem said...

Actually Liana I was looking at your swimming costumes . They are fantastic. I would like to sew some too as I use a pool alot and the chlorine is a killer . Could you tell me does your method for controlling the boobs work for a D cup do you think?

Denvar Lois said...

The post on avengers costumes was a superb one. It contained details that are useful and insightful. The post avengers costumes was very good advice to me.

Denvar Lois said...
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Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lisa said...

Dear "Anonymous,"

Your mind is clearly in the gutter. This is a darling costume for a costume party!

Yea, Liana!


Nancy said...

I just signed on to follow but wonder if you would consider adding the gadget to allow subscription via email? I do not get to spend a lot of time online because of my bad knees, and it is so much easier to follow great blogs when new posts come right to my inbox. Thanks.

James said...

Will you please post a link to your Blog at The Sewing Community? Our members will love it.
Members include: Needleworkers, Clothes and Dress Makers, Enthusiasts, Experts, Groups, Clubs, etc.
It's easy to do, just cut and paste the link and it automatically links back to your website. You can also add Photos, Videos and Classifieds if you like.
Email me if you need any help or would like me to do it for you.
Please feel free to share as often and as much as you like.
The Sewing Community: http://www.vorts.com/sewing/
I hope you consider sharing with us.
Thank you,
James Kaufman, Editor

Judith said...

What a great outfit! This is what sewing is all about - being about to mix it up when needed - and look stunning at the same time! Hope the party was fun...

Sherril said...

Liana, you're such a hottie in this costume! I love it.

muhammad asim said...
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