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Pattern hunting- your help is needed!

July 31, 2009
A plea for help
Carly got in touch to ask if I could help, and I thought I’d open up the problem to you all. Carly is newly engaged (Congratulations carly!) and is thinking about The Dress. Trouble is, she has a very specific one in mind, but can’t find a pattern. She tells me that she’s been in love with the wedding dress Audrey Hepburn wears in the film Funny Face since she was a little girl. “I am open to all suggestions” she writes “I just really want to wear the pattern for this dress in the material that Audrey wore”.
My first port of call was to fish out my Funny Face DVD, take some screenshots (I’ve been meaning to add it to Project Audrey for a while) and do a little analysis. I’ve put all this up on the Project Audrey pages here (more Funny Face outfits to follow in time!).  In a nutshell, this dress has a bateau neck, cap sleeves, a seam under the bust, an extremely fitted boned midsection with dropped waist, and full skirt gathered into the dropped waist.
Carly wondered whether the McCall’s pattern inspired by Sabrina would be similar, but I don’t think it’s even close. IN the 1950s McCall’s put out a few Givenchy patterns modelled by Audrey Hepburn lookalikes, but I’ve never come across one that is close to the Funny Face wedding dress. Have any of you?
I think if I was making the dress I’d use elements of several patterns to recreate the look. I was surfing the VIntage pattern wiki for dropped waist full skirted dresses, and found a nice one. No sellers were listed for it, and then I found that Vogue has reissued it! How nice of them :) http://www.voguepatterns.com/item/V1094.htm?tab=vintage_vogue&page=1
I’d use that and cut it off under the bust, Frankensteining on a cap sleeve boat neck top, which there seem to be a lot more of around. It looks like the bodice top is eased into the fitted waist section on the Hepburn’s dress rather than being exactly the same measurements so that might not be too hard. I’d bone the fitted waist section.
The dress relies on lots of petticoats, so I’d buy a 1950s petticoat pattern  with a hip yoke for a smooth line.  Like these:
The hood and floating panel would require more creative thought. But I would probably buy a hood and cloak pattern and simply gather in/ adapt the cloak bit so that just flowed out behind in a panel.
McCulloch and Wallis have a good selection of tulle, and they do a dotted one (Hepburn’s hood is dotted).

I’ve started to add Funny Face screenshots and analysis to the Project Audrey pages- but only one outfit is up. (I’d forgotten just how many outfits there are in this film!) There’s a reason why it’s this gorgeous bridal gown- Carly got in touch to ask if I could help her find a pattern for this very dress. (She’s been in love with it for years and would love to make it to wear it at her wedding.)

Now, as far as I know, in the 1950s McCall’s put out a few Givenchy patterns modelled by Audrey Hepburn lookalikes (such as the one I blogged here which is Sabrina-esque) but I’ve never come across one that is close to this wedding dress. The question is, have any of you come across a pattern that would work?

My first port of call was to get out my copy of the DVD, grab some screenshots and do a little analysis. (I’ve put all this up on the Project Audrey pages here.) But, in a technical nutshell, this dress has a bateau neck, grown-on cap sleeves, a seam under the bust, an extremely fitted boned midsection and full skirts gathered into a dropped waist. There’s also a tulle hood and floating panel that seem to attach at the centre back neckline.

I think if I was making the dress I’d probably Frankenstein together elements of several patterns to recreate it.  Vogue has reissued one of their own Vintage patterns as V1094 with dropped waist and full skirt, although the bodice would need altering:

Or there’s this vintage Simplicity 1153 pattern which is on the Vintage Pattern Wiki with a few sellers listed. Again, the bodice would need modifying:

The dress relies on lots of petticoats, so I’d buy a 1950s petticoat pattern  (they come up on Ebay fairly regularly) with a hip yoke for a smooth line.  Or this fascinating article might help me rustle up my own. The hood and floating panel would require more creative thought. But I would probably buy a hood and cloak pattern and simply gather in/ adapt the cloak bit so that just flowed out behind in a panel. Alleycat Scratch reviews cloak pattern available from the major pattern companies here.

On the fabric front, McCulloch and Wallis have a good selection of bridal fabrics and do several different tulles. They even do a dotted one (Hepburn’s hood looks like a dotted tulle). The top layer of the skirt looks like tulle too, but probably quite a fine soft one, maybe a silk tulle. (The petticoats might be a little stiffer.) Hmmm.

Now, it’s over to you! Can anyone else help Carly with any other links or ideas in the comments?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. August 2, 2009 10:59 am

    Sugardale made a lovely tutorial on how to make a petticoat last autumn: http://sugardale.blogspot.com/2008/08/how-to-make-petticoat.html

    Also check out her amazing ten-layer petticoat: http://sugardale.blogspot.com/2008/08/ten-layers.html

  2. Becca permalink
    September 21, 2009 4:38 pm

    I have been wanting this dress for my wedding dress, too, since I was a little girl and first saw this movie! If you find a good solution for the pattern please post it.

  3. Rebecca permalink
    December 22, 2010 11:03 pm

    I originially wanted to have another gown made that was from another movie that audrey was in(sabrina) but was Unable to find pattern for that type of gown. So now I too am desperate, desperate, DESPERATE!!!!,… to find a pattern that is as CLOSE to this dress as possible(funny face wedding dress)…. HELP????? ANYONE!!!…HELLLLPPPPPPPPP!!!!!

  4. Rebecca permalink
    January 4, 2011 12:04 am

    I found the simplicity pattern you talked about above, but at all 3 of the website the pattern is too small of a size for me. I am hopeing to find it somewhere in my size. the simplicity pattern looks better than the vogue1094, but I still might have to buy that one, not enless anyone else see’s a pattern that comes closer to this style dress than the others.

  5. vivian permalink
    April 9, 2011 3:03 am

    hey,

    am looking for a pattern for that audrey-hepburn-givenchy-wedding-dress as well. did any of you “franckenstein one together” as you said?

    and how did it come out in tayloring.

    looking forward to your responses,

    cheers,

    vivian.

    • Rebecca permalink
      April 9, 2011 12:22 pm

      This is Rebecca! I am in tears literially every time I come on this website, because my dream gown was also the givenchy ball gown that Audrey hepburn wore. I had done research on this gown for almost % years and still to this day have not found a pattern even close to this dress. I had to settle for the dress that she wore in funny face. Then I could not find pattern for that one either so I just settled for a regular 1950’s tea length dress(to be honest I am not happy at all) but I am ssssooooo very frustrated that KNOW ONE HAS EVER MADE A FREAFIN PATTERN like the sabrina givenchy ball gown. I feel so defeated and depressed that know one can help me. I do not want to mesh together 2 or 3 patterns. My dress maker basically said that she wont do that. My email is: r4lildragonflies@yahoo.com

      if you have any ideas or just would like to chat about dress.

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