A Dapper Day season ago, Darth Vader from the planet Vulcan came and told me if I didn’t make this dress from Back to the Future, that he was gonna numb my brain. I’m glad I accomplished this one; it worked my brain in many new areas that couldn’t afford to go numb.
My favorite dress makes are cinematic screen-grabs with re-wearability versatile enough for a variety of occasions. Such was the Lorraine Dress that I had been wanting to make for quite some time, which I finally completed for Spring Dapper Day 2020. Read on to find how this BTTF nerd crafted Lorraine’s prom dress from an old Goodwill number I had hangin’ in my closet for too many years.
As I do for all cinematic makes, I did a lot of screen research including watching how the fabric moved as she moved in it and handled it. Hers on screen may or may not be 1950’s vintage, but BTTF Costuming seemed to have known their retro fabrics and styles well enough to have done a pretty good job with the textures when you look up close.
I was able to utilize a good amount of infrastructure from the bodice of this old Goodwill dress I altered to become the inside of the new dress. Keep reading to see the whole process!
The dress in the film is more peach than pink, though this is debatable given the tungsten lighting the dress is under for most of its screen time (in the gym, in the nighttime parking lot). In daylight it looks a little pinker, but it’s still on the peach/pink cusp. The original fabric looks like it has a tiny checked pattern embroidered into it, but the continuation of that onto a separated lace overlay made me think the whole thing was an overlay on the bodice, so I went with a dotted cream colored lace design that similarly matched the aesthetic. Research from other makers who have tried creating this dress made me realize how very important the right weight of material is; many others (including Amazon knock-offs) utilized too thin a fabric, which gives it more of a costume feel rather than vintage swingability. Remember, fashion used to be tailored better than it is today. Although I’m not a huge pink fan, I love the heavier-weight sport suiting fabric I found for my dress. I wish it was slightly more peach, but I still love it!
Dapper Day 2020 was a Dapper Day At Home event due to COVID-19, which ended up being a great backdrop for these photos in my neighborhood. George McFly is dangling from a tree back there somewhere, surely. Had so much fun wearing this dress!
And a little Chuck Berry for the road.
If you’re interested in a totally revamped alteration of a dress you’d love to give new life to, I am currently taking thematic gown alterations. Consult with me to see what we can do!