Figured silk dinner dress

Fran Carter needed a new outfit for each formal function she attended to entertain her husband’s international business colleagues.

An adept sewer, Fran made all her clothes for such occasions, including this dress made from silk her husband bought in Hong Kong and a Vogue Paris Original pattern by Emanuel Ungaro. There were many challenges in the construction – the delicate fabric was prone to fraying, slippery to sew, and required meters of hand hemming. Adding to the complexity, many of the pieces were bias-cut and Fran enlisted the help of a professional seamstress for the zip and final fitting. An equivalent shop-brought dress would have been expensive and Fran had the satisfaction of knowing that she made something unique and tailored to her fit and taste.

Read more about the history of home sewing in the New Zealand Fashion Museum publication Home Sewn.


Credit: Fran Carter, Auckland
Copyright: Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 Licence
Maker: Fran Carter
Garment type: Dinner dress
Material: Figured silk
Exhibition: Home Sewn: Original New Zealand Fashion (Auckland 2012)
Label: Vogue Paris Original
Date: 1990