This dress has a slightly sad story behind it…
I’m a huge fan of Lana Del Rey, and I’ve wanted to see her live for years. Therefore I was ecstatic when I managed to get tickets to see her in Birmingham this February. I love the 1970s style dresses she wears on stage, so I decided to make myself something similar to wear to the concert. I’d made the dress and was all ready to go when… she cancelled. TWO DAYS before her tour was due to start!
However, it’s still a lovely dress despite the annoying backstory, so I’m sharing it anyway! It’s the Wilder Gown by Friday Pattern Company, made in a deadstock viscose from Sister Mintaka.
I saw and loved this pattern when it first came out, but I didn’t think it would suit me. Now I’ve made it I’m a complete convert! It’s supremely comfortable but makes you feel dramatic and swishy at the same time. When I wear it I feel like breaking into an impromptu Kate Bush dance.
I was worried the bodice would swamp me as my bust is slightly smaller than the size XXS, but I didn’t bother making a toile because I hated the thought of doing all those gathers for a garment that wouldn’t even get worn… Yes, I know I could have just made the bodice, but with loose empire line garments it’s impossible to tell how the bodice will fit until the skirt is attached. Turns out I worried unnecessarily though, as it fits fine! This may be partly down to the floaty viscose I used, as drapey fabrics are generally more forgiving in terms of fit.
My inspiration came partly from Lana and partly from the film The Love Witch, which is probably one of my favourite films costume-wise. The costumes were all made by the director, Anna Biller, and Elaine (the main character)’s dresses are a mix of vintage Gunne Sax and new dresses made from 1970s patterns. Think Laura Ashley edwardiana but with added lace! My finished dress doesn’t really look anything like Elaine’s costumes, but it still has a bit of a ’70s prairie dress feel.
My 1970s inspiration dresses all had fitted bodices, so to replicate this I added ties at the waist. Having worn it about a bit, I actually prefer the dress without the ties. I’m not used to wearing clothes this loose, so it felt weird at first, but now I want to add more loose garments to my wardrobe because it feels so lovely to wear.
I originally cut the longest view of the dress, but I decided to shorten it because it felt like it was swamping me. I think I took too much length away though, as there’s something a bit off about the proportions… like either the bodice should be shorter or the lower tier of the skirt should be longer?
Nevertheless, I absolutely love my Wilder gown and I feel amazing in it! I saw a couple of lovely black versions on Instagram, so I might make myself a witchier Wilder in the future- maybe in black tencel?