Monday, March 9, 2015

• Pleated 1950s Dresses •

Can you imagine? I actually took a break from the 1940s long enough to sew a 1950s dress!
We actually sewed these dresses probably four or five weeks ago, but just got around to wearing them for the first time yesterday.
I have long admired this dress that Lily made. The neckline is so cute, and the skirt is so perfectly twirly! I decided to make my own rendition of it at long last with this fabric. It is a reproduction 1950s fabric, which is available here.

For the bodice, I used what is getting to be our go-to bodice pattern, which we call the "fall dress bodice." It is a combination of Burda 7179 and Simplicity 1459, which I altered the neckline on for this dress.

For the skirt, I did as Lily did, using the front skirt piece from Butterick 5813 for both the front and back. I made the pleats slightly further out on the back than the front. The almost-full-circle makes for some fun twirling! :)

I really wanted some pops of color on the dress, so I opted for red piping. We just *happened* to have some red fabric in the perfect shade, and I was able to cob borrow some cording from Mom to make it.

Just as a side note; I really am no good at piping corners. It seemingly took hours for me to get that neckline to work. There were many tries with no success, but I finally got it to look tolerable. I had no pattern for it, so I was scared to death to clip or trim anything until I knew that it was perfect. I ended up "ending" the piping right before the corners rather than actually continuing around them.

Look. At. My. Shoes.
I still can't believe it. I actually own cute shoes!! I looked, and gazed upon, and wept over Miss L Fire shoes for weeks, lamenting the fact that they did not sell them in my size. I finally emailed them out of frustration, wondering if they would ever make a size 11. They emailed back and said that they do indeed make 11's, but they are only available on the UK site. 
To the UK site I went!  I emailed again several times to clarify the sizing, because the size chart is very confusing. As it turns out, UK size 42 is the same as US 11, contrary to what their size chart says. I was scared to death to order them, but I went ahead and took the plunge, paying an arm and a leg for shipping. They arrived in something like three days! 

I was a little hesitant about the color; I mean, what on earth is bright orange going to match?
What indeed. As it turns out, they match probably half of my outfits! They are a dark enough orange that they can pass for red anytime. Oh, and did I mention that they're real leather?
Needless to say, I absolutely love them. 

My mom had these buttons in the stash (she's had them so long, they probably qualify as vintage!), and they matched perfectly! I love how a little rim of red shows on the front. 

We found this buckle at an antique shop a little while back, and it's proving to be a staple in our belt wardrobe. My mom uses it for a 1940s dress that she just made recently.

I'm so excited to finally have an outfit that matches my hat! This was one of the first hats I ever bought, and I just love it. It has a New York label, but also a label from a local hat shop that used to be in business.

Because I know you were longing to see another picture of my shoes.

And now, for Mom's dress!

A month or two ago, my former piano teacher, who is now just a dear friend gave us a whole box of Workbook magazines from the 1940s through 1960. Every issue has a page that shows patterns you could order. Many of the dresses in them feature lovely-looking asymmetrical closures. Mom liked them so much, she decided to replicate one!

She wanted to use piping on her dress, but the only fabric we had on hand that matched it was an orange knit. There seemed to be no law against knit piping anywhere, however, so she went ahead and used it! It was easy to do corners, but it did tend to stretch when she didn't want it to as well.

She found a jar of buttons a while back at an antique store for only $6. It turned out to be a gold mine. There are multitudes of beautiful buttons, and enough of each kind to actually use on garments! These cute little orange buttons were some of them, and ended up matching perfectly.

She used the same skirt pattern and bodice pattern as my dress, but altered the neckline and front closure to suit her design. The bodice and sleeves are lined with batiste.

Isn't that buckle beautiful? And the color makes it match virtually everything.

One feature of our "fall dress bodice" is easing at the back shoulder seams. It makes for a really comfortable fit while also being fitted at the shoulders. 

The sleeves on both of our dresses are from Simplicity 1459, lengthened a couple of inches.

I love her hat.
I'll be back on Friday with an incredibly adorable baby dress that I sewed Saturday. It is just too cute, in my opinion, but I'll let you judge that for yourself. :)

• Photography by both of us! •

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  1. You and your mom are so creative!! Both dresses look beautiful! I love how your mom took a vintage add and redesigned your current pattern to replicate it! I also enjoy seeing you and your mom having so much fun together. My mom and I are really close, we love sewing together too. : )

    1. Thank you, Sarah!! We definitely do have a blast together! :)

  2. Wow! They're both stunning! I just love 50s dresses, and now I want to make one too (but there's no chance of that with all my exam revision :(). Also, I really admire your coordination with the hat, shoes and shades. So pretty!

    1. Thank you, Milky Usagi!! Maybe when your exam is done you can make one! I'm sure you would love it!
      Thank you for the lovely compliments!! :)

  3. THOSE SHOES! Love 'em! Your accessories are spot on with this dress. I simply adore it all!

    1. Thank you, Miss Michelle! I have to admit, I'm slightly bonkers about them myself.
      You're so sweet - thank you!! :)

  4. Both of your dresses are gorgeous! And the piping!!! LOVE IT! Oh, and of course the shoes go without saying, because they are too cute and fun for words. :)


    the Middle Sister and Singer

    1. Aww, thank you, Brigid!! I am somewhat of a piping addict - it adds so much detail! :)

  5. How absolutely fabulous Esther! You and your Mother are so talented! Both of the dresses flatter yourselves so well! AND, you both look positively period!

    I just LOVE those shoes!! What a fun splurge!

    So glad to have found your blog,
    the elder of the two
    of Calico Sisters blog

    1. Thank you, Cassie!! I am so glad to have found your blog as well! Thanks for commenting!!

  6. Your blog is darling! We are vintage lover too!
    Your shoes are positively delightful! We're on the hunt for a pair of our own.
    -Kenna & Lulu

  7. These dresses are so beautiful! Thank you for sharing.


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