Monday, January 22, 2018

title pic A Velvet Evening Gown for an Andre Rieu Concert

Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on March 19, 2013

A Burgundy Velvet Evening Gown ~ Simplicity 4259

It hardly seems possible that it’s been nearly a month since I wrote the last post here!  I’ve been so tied up working on the new pattern for “Liesl’s Edelweiss Dress” that my free time has been full of sewing, not blogging!


But this past weekend I found myself only two days away from a sumptuous orchestra concert that I’ve been looking forward to for months, so I pulled myself away from pattern drafting just long enough to create a burgundy velvet evening gown!

The Pattern

This gown’s bodice was made from a 1950s reproduction Simplicity Pattern (Simplicity 4259), and a skirt pattern that I drafted as I went along.  And I was so happy with how it turned out!  The bodice is a breeze to put together.  The ruching makes fitting challenges virtually nonexistent since you don’t have to mess with darts in the front.  and the overall fit is really wonderful!  The bodice ends in a “v” just like the sleeves do, and I will definitely be using this pattern again!  It’s too bad that it’s one of Simplicity’s out of print patterns, and I really hope they bring it back into circulation.


The Fabric

As for the fabric (which is at least part of why I like the dress so much!), I used a gorgeous “Renaissance Velvet” from Wimpheimer Fabrics.  Their silk/rayon velvets are definitely the best I’ve ever come across, and they have the most luxurious sheen I have ever seen in my life.  (Please note, this is my honest assessment of the fabric, and I do not receive any compensation from Wimpfheimer fabrics for my review here!) :)

I took this picture while waiting for the concert to begin. But I can’t take credit for the smocked satin clutch – it’s a vintage piece and not something that I made.

I had so much fun hand-stitching the buttons on the sleeves, and there’s nothing quite as wonderful as sewing a dress which requires you to use button looping in the process!  

The Inspiration


I love the pointed sleeves!

Ever since I was a little girl, I have adored classic style evening gowns, particularly those with a sweetheart neckline and long, fitted sleeves that button at the wrist and end in a “v”…  There’s just something so very “princess-y” and elegant about this style of dress, and you simply cannot wear a gown like this without twisting your hair into some regal sort of updo!

My love for this look began as a little girl when I watched the silvery soprano Kathleen Battle with her queenly French twist hairstyles, pearl drop earrings, and classic princess evening dresses which were always made from velvet, silk taffeta, or cascading chiffon.


At the last minute I tied on a sash made from ivory embroidered tulle (my favorite kind of lace!).  I think it helps add a little more character to the dress. 

An Andre Rieu Concert

And as for the concert itself, oh it was marvelous!  Andre Rieu, if you don’t already know, is the number one classical musician in the US.  And while he’s from the Netherlands originally, he and his Johann Strauss Orchestra travel worldwide performing the gorgeous Viennese waltzes they’re famous for.  But one of my favorite things about Andre Rieu is that he has a real flair for elegant settings and surroundings.  When his orchestra holds a concert, it’s not a somber occasion led by gloomily attired musicians in a sparsely decorated auditorium.  Oh, goodness, no!  To begin with, the ladies in his orchestra dress as if they’re going to a ball!  They all wear these enormous, poufy ball gowns made from brightly colored silks all embroidered and beaded, and overlaid with organza.  There are ruffles, frills, fabric flowers, and ribbons everywhere on these ladies’ gowns, and they must have something like thirty hairstylists to do their hair backstage!  I love to see all the airbuns, pompadours, curly updos, and coiffures that these musicians wear!  


But the dresses aren’t the only thing that’s lovely about his concerts.  The stage is an absolute fairyland of elegant Regency style chairs and gold scrollwork music stands, and the sides of the stage are always loaded with flowers and the kind of paneling you’d expect to see in a palace.  My favorite part of Andre Rieu’s concerts, however, are the locations where they are held!!  Somehow he hunts down the most exquisite castles and palaces in Europe and convinces their owners to let him perform in them!  My favorite concert he’s given to date took place in Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna.  His orchestra performed at the front of the building, but just behind them the French doors to the gold ballroom were thrown open, and (what do you think?) there were dancers whirling away in the ballroom all evening!  The world-famous Viennese debutante couples arrived in black tuxedos and white dresses to make a beautiful evening of music even more enchanting!  Andre Rieu thought that this evening was such a success that his team eventually recreated the entire castle to go on tour with them around the world!  


I could go on for a very long time about how much I love this music, but suffice it to say, I had a wonderful time at the concert last night!  Everything was just as beautiful in person as it is on DVD, and they played many of their most famous numbers including Viennese Blood, the Blue Danube, and Stars & Stripes Forever.  Many couples got up and waltzed in the aisles, and it was truly a brilliant evening.  


Click on the photo for a larger view.

This music that I watch on DVD while sewing (you can’t have eight hours of silence while you’re in the sewing room!) is so lovely and uplifting, and I felt so excited dressing up in such a fancy gown!  It’s not very often that I have a real reason to dress up like this, so I was quite beside myself to walk around in a long, flowing velvet dress!  

Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Happy sewing,