What a Waste of a Lovely Night: Hacking the Cambie Into The Yellow La La Land Dress

 


The  July hacking challenge came along just at the right time to kick my butt in gear and get me making this dress I’ve been thinking about all year: a hack of the yellow La La Land dress Emma wore during the What a Waste of a Lovely Night scene, based on the Sewaholic Cambie.

(You can read the post about the Cambie experiment to use as a hack for La La Land here. I’ll try not to revisit my obsessive fangirling too too much in this one. Quick summary: I knew I wanted to hack this dress as soon as I saw the movie last year; the Cambie was the closest I could find to it, with the separate waistband, sleeves joining along the top of the bodice, and a full skirt; and I made up a straight Cambie a month or two ago to work out the kinks.)

Possibly the best part of making this dress was the built-in excuse to watch the movie a bunch of times so I could be sure to get the details. Research, right?

La La Land (2016)
Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling)

The second-best part is the dress itself. I love it, but it was a big undertaking and I’m glad to be done with it. Maybe once I’ve had a chance to wear it out dancing once or twice, and have recovered with an easier project or two, I’ll decide I love it even more than watching the movie again.

The Front. Close enough for government work, I say

Pattern Alterations and Changes

Skirt

I drafted a 3/4 circle skirt pattern to replace the Cambie skirt. I wasn’t sure what type of skirt the La La Land Dress had, but given the lack of darts and the movement when she’s dancing in it it looked to me like some kind of circle skirt, and I wanted to be able to spin without it going all the way up to my waist* and the movie version didn’t look as full as a whole circle skirt. So 3/4 it was.

I used the circle skirt radius calculator here to draft out the pattern.

I did line the skirt since yellow is, regardless of fabric type it seems, generally translucent when worn. Why is that? The lining is very short; I didn’t get enough to make it longer. But it covers what it needs to cover to make it something I can wear in public. After wearing it a half-circle might have been a closer match, but live and learn: I can’t imagine making two yellow La La Land dresses, but if this is something you might try, go for a half.

Bodice

The front of the Cambie was altered to be straight across.

I altered the bodice darts to be slightly narrower, to allow for gathering similar to the La La Land Dress. I didn’t get quite as much gathering as I wanted, but it’s close enough and I’m happy with it.

You can see the bodice gathering here. I love the hand-painting on the fabric but was not ambitious enough to try to replicate that

 

Gathers.

The back was shortened, and straightened to allow for separate sleeves. And then the Cambie sleeves were altered to make for a cap with that straight bit over the shoulders, and the join altered for the square front and back necklines. Originally I had them about as wide as the movie version, but I had Underwear Visibility Issues, so I moved them in a bit.

Square back neckline, very swishy skirt

The only thing about the original Cambie pattern I didn’t change was the waistband.

The Back. Picture Ryan Gosling off to the right.

Just typing that out exhausts me all over again.

Fabric & Lining

The main fabric is a bright yellow Fabricland rayon, and the lining is the coordinating bright yellow Fabricland cotton voile. Neither were expensive. Then again, the yellow La La Land Dress was made from a cheap Joanne’s polyester the costume designer got on sale, so this may be unique in that the handmade knock-off of the movie dress cost more than the original. I’m ok with that. This dress is for dancing in, outside, and polyester would not have been pleasant.

Dress, zipper, lining.

Construction

Mostly assembled per Cambie instructions: assemble bodice and skirt, attach each to waistband, install zipper; repeat with lining except for the zipper; sew right sides together along the top, leaving space for the sleeves; sew sleeve outer to sleeve lining, baste into sleeve openings and check fit; hand to allow hem to settle; hem. Nothing here differed from that general order. The only minor change is the hem, which I serged and then turned up once. I hate fussing with the fullness on a wide, round hem, and this makes it just a bit easier.

Sizing Notes

Sewaholic patterns are drafted for pear shapes, which I very much am not; the sizing chart puts me into a size 8-14, but a fairer comparison taking into account body-type differences would be a size 8-10. And this dress is a size 8 with a hefty FBA.

There’s a lot of volume in the hips on both Cambie dresses, and in the 3/4 circle skirt replacement, so the limiting measurements for fit are bust and waist. Both have generous ease–2-3″–so you have room to size down if you want something more fitted, and if you go ahead with the size indicated by your measurements, you won’t end up with a tent.


Spinning. It worked a lot better in the backyard.


*This utterly, utterly failed, as I found when I wore it out dancing. Actual conversation afterwards:

B: I love how floaty it is!

M: Yes! It really goes quite high.

Andrea: It sure does. A little higher than I was planning.

M: Maybe make a pair of matching yellow bicycle shorts.

Andrea: Yeah… believe it or not I made it less full so it wouldn’t go up all the way like that.

B: Really? But it wasn’t so bad.

Andrea: Yes it was. That’s ok.

M: Really, yellow bicycle shorts! Then it looks like you did it on purpose. And you can put “salsa” across the butt.


If you haven’t seen the movie…

…and would like some idea of what I’m talking about: the scene with The Yellow Dress


13 thoughts on “What a Waste of a Lovely Night: Hacking the Cambie Into The Yellow La La Land Dress

  1. What a beautiful dress and a fantastic hack. It’s surely a notch up on the original La La Land polyester dress. I think you are right that it is closer to a 1/2 circle skirt on the original, but no matter I really love your version.

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  2. Wow, great dress! I like that the only original pattern piece is th waistband 😀 I wish I had know that thing about yellow fabric being transparent before I made my dress though, I would have line the bodice!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How I loved this whole story you wrote, AND the dress! I can imagine it was quite the work, wow! I totally admire all the effort and thinking! And I totally love the dress as well!

    Like

  4. Bike shorts save me in all my dancing endeavors. I’m definitely a fan of full skirts for the latin and swing dances, but bike shorts are mostly necessary for me too, Though I go with the utlitarian black for all of it!

    Absolutely lovely dress, and the attention to detail you put in was awesome!

    Like

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