Vampire Vamps! McCall 4464 by Chanel

December 1, 2011 § 13 Comments

Lorena

Lorena Krasiki (Mariana Klaveno) in 1926 (True Blood, Season 2)

For my Halloween vampire flapper costume I made one of my favourite 1920s patterns in my collection: McCall 4464, an evening dress by Chanel.

McCall 4464 1920s Chanel pattern flapper evening dress

McCall 4464 by Chanel (1926) Evening dress with slip.

Here’s the illustration from the 1926 Summer Quarterly. As I was putting this post together, I realized that True Blood’s 1926 Lorena and the catalogue illustrator both accessorize a black dress with red beads:

McCall 4464 1920s Chanel evening dress pattern McCall Quarterly Summer 1926

McCall 4464 in the McCall Quarterly, Summer 1926. Image courtesy of Debby Zamorski.

The short evening dress has a bloused bodice, side drapery on the skirt, “trimming strings” or streamers, and self fabric flowers at the straps. The pattern doesn’t include the flowers, but it does indicate ‘material for rosettes’ on the layout. I skipped them for my version—they may balance the streamers, but I’m not really a rosette kind of girl.

Mine and Naomi’s dresses are actually shown side by side in the 1926 catalogue. I can assure you this is an absolutely accurate reflection of our relationship:

1920s Jean Patou and Chanel dress patterns 1926 McCall Quarterly

McCall 4457 and 4464 in the McCall Quarterly, Summer 1926. Image courtesy of Debby Zamorski.

I used the same black satin for the slip and the dress. The only alteration I made to the pattern was to grade down the bust by one size. I also shortened the straps, guided by the ‘natural waist’ mark on the slip front.

The basic instructions don’t cover what to do with the drapery or streamers. The trick for the drapery, as I discovered, is to sew it to the skirt sections before closing the side seams. For the streamers, the pieces showed a seam allowance but no lengthwise fold mark, so at first I thought they were meant to be pretty wide. But after scrutinizing the illustration (and contemplating the option of cutting each string twice) I concluded the streamers should actually be sewn together for a narrower width. The finishing was a little rushed, since I was fitting the straps just before we went out; I’m still not sure what to do with some of the rough edges…

Here are some photos of me in the dress:

McCall 4464 Chanel 1920s evening dressMcCall 4464 Chanel 1920s evening dress

Some detail shots:

McCall 4464 Chanel 1920s evening dressMcCall 4464 Chanel 1920s evening dress

I was surprised by how flattering the Twenties tubular silhouette can be. And comfortable: leaving the house, I had a brief moment of panic, feeling like I’d forgotten to get dressed. (I realize a foundation garment would have been worn during the period.) I think I’ll be re-making this one—maybe I’ll even venture some rosettes.

(Cross-posted to Sew Retro.)

Next: My 1920s vamp wrap.

McCall 1920s evening wrap pattern detail

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§ 13 Responses to Vampire Vamps! McCall 4464 by Chanel

  • paco peralta says:

    Halloween costume? You look fabulous and the dress is incredibly beautiful. I love your look hair Sarah !!

  • prttynpnk says:

    I love this period- altho it doesn’t suit my hippishness! You look lovely and I can’t wait to see the wrap!

    • PatternVault says:

      Thank you! You know, I wasn’t sure about the hip issue myself, but I now think the Twenties silhouette doesn’t require ‘boyish’ narrow hips. If you love ’20s fashion, I suggest you give it a try—you might be pleasantly surprised..

  • faith says:

    Your dress is gorgeous! So glamorous. Definitely one of the most amazing things I’ve seen made up for ages.

  • Seeks says:

    Beautiful!! I’m really taken with the dress. :) Great job!

  • PatternVault says:

    Wow! Thank you, everyone! :)

  • Pat says:

    great work – Id love to try to make a copy of the dress – is it tube shape – straight across to the top? is there a side opening?- and the side panel,is it is a cone shape? would love to see pictures of the pattern shapes to get an idea of the pieces

  • raquel from florida says:

    Would you show us the pattern pieces? I would love to see the details. Great dress and you look wonderful!

  • PatternVault says:

    Thank you both for your interest—but I’d like the design to retain its mystery ;)

  • Mimi says:

    Lovely job. If you ever make it again, you might consider producing it in Chanel’s illustrated vision: a silk slip (probably in a blush or flesh tone) under a black (or other color) chiffon over-dress w/ chiffon “ribbons” & “corsage” — very summery. Your silk version is a more winter version — perhaps w/ a bit of sequin or beaded accent on the ribbons (possibly just the ends?) and along the neckline and/or hem?

  • Mimi says:

    Check out this illustration of two 1924 Chanel evening coats for inspiration for your vamp wrap (can’t wait to see what you do- love your illustration): http://hprints.com/print.php?id=35783&u=6,0

    • PatternVault says:

      Thanks, Mimi. Isn’t HPrints fantastic?
      One of the interesting things about making the Halloween version was seeing how the design effectively teaches you what it requires.. And I really like the idea of embellishment on the ribbons.
      By the way, I’ve already posted about the wrap, which was from a Martial et Armand pattern. There’s a link below the comments, and I’ve also updated this post to link to the wrap post. Like the Chanel dress, it was also a learning experience!

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