Behind the Seams: The “Abandoned Hangar” Dress

Its the Oscar Inspiration Week! This week for TSW Challenge, we are to pick an inspiration from the best costume winners of the past and create an interpretation of them that we can wear outside of a movie set in 2011.

My movie of choice is The Aviator (2004), a biopic depicting the early years of legendary director and aviator Howard Hughes’ career, from the late 1920s to the mid-1940s. The film was directed by Martin Scorsese and starred Leo Dicaprio (Hughes), Cate Blanchett (Katherine Hepburn) and Kate Beckinsale (Ava Gardner). I watched the DVD of this film around a month ago and loved the costumes! My TSW post can be found here.

Off course I was tossed between Kate and Ava! But, in the end I chose to do an interpretation of the mustard gown Kate wore to a movie premiere. Here are the shots I took from my TV screen so please excuse the resolution.

Pattern Review

Eva dress pattern 1939 Evening gown



I used this 1939 Evening Gown sewing pattern from Eva dress which is a reproduction of McCall’s 9906 but instead of doing the long sleeves gown version, I sewed the short sleeves version and shortened the skirt length to make it more wearable.

The pattern and instruction are very much notch driven (so if you are using this pattern, remember to mark all of them) and the diagrams are helpful. The only part I found confusing was with reference to the yardage required for each variation as I realized later that there were three variations to the dress though the cover only showed two. A long gown with long sleeves, a dress with short sleeves and a dress with scalloped sleeves. I used around 2.5 to 3 yards of fabric for version B which is the scalloped sleeves version. This is not a difficult dress to make and can be completed quite quickly.

The fabric is exquisite. It’s a Hugo Boss crinkle jacquard in bronze & cream from emmaonesock. When cutting, I had to ensure that I cut all pieces in one direction.

Photography Adventure

I’m very tripod dependent but once in a while hubby is at home to lend a hand. Yay! Since the movie that inspired the dress is about Hughes and his love for aviation, I wanted to have the photos taken at Singapore’s first airport, the Kallang airport. Opened in 1937 (coincidentally, just two years before my dress pattern!), most of the airport has since been demolished or put to other uses, the distinctive terminal building was used as the headquarters of a statutory board until April 2009. It is currently unoccupied.

When I reach the location, however, there was major renovation taking place and the security guard did not allow us in.

Nonetheless, hubby and I didn’t give up and we soon discovered that outside the main gate were some historical walls and structures we could still use as background for the shoot. A structure that looked very much like an abandoned airplane hangar, the old colonial gates/ entrance to the airport and an old, partly demolished wall as you will find in the photos below. These structures made quite an impression on me as forgotten pieces of history and while I wasn’t allowed into the main terminal building, I sure hope the renovation will put it back to good use once again.

The Gallery

I love how this dress turned out!  We went shopping after the photos were taken and I felt fab in it. Love the movement of the skirt, the super-duper flattering and yet very classy fit. I even loved the bronze colored fabric which I initially thought might be a little aging to wear but it turned out delightful! Here are the close ups shots.

A special thanks to hubby for these photos and enduring mosquito bites with me that afternoon:) My sewing machine is finally home today! I miss it so much! Gotta get the next project going!

Have a wonderful week everyone!