Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Insane Project - 1956 Day Dress

Last weekend the LA Conservancy held their 3rd Annual Holiday Movie Screening. This year they showed White Christmas - one of my favorite movies. (really!) I grew up watching this film and even now I put it on a good 4 or 5 times a year - July included.

Well, because of my friend Becky, I decided I HAD to drive down to see this movie on the big screen. That meant a new period appropriate dress.

The film came out in 1954 and was set contemporary. So I found this lovely Vintage Vogue pattern #Vogue 1044. I had sewn a Vintage Vogue pattern before (a 1940 pattern) so knew of the challenge. The first pattern ran small so I proceeded with caution.

After cutting out the pattern, I refocused my thoughts on modern clothes sewing and altered the pattern I do when I make my own contemporary clothes. I dropped the apex and sliced the bodice open for a larger bust cup, reduced the back bodice width, and shortened the skirt (considerably).

The skirt reminded me of 19th C. skirts in that it had 4 full panels. The 60" wide crepe was open flat to cut so I had to dig out my cutting board for the floor as my cutting table is only 28" wide. Here are two panels being cut out on my sewing room floor.

I sew in assembly-line fashion. Here are the bodice darts and tucks, front placket and belt sewn and ready for ironing.

The raglan sleeve yoke neckline was finished with a yoke facing. Here it is pinned. I made sure to follow proper sewing seam directions to not distort the wide neckline.

I even made a belt for this dress. Once I found my loop turner I was in business.

And to top it off, I purchased a vintage hat, tore off the nasty cloth daisys and recovered it with a nice gray wool and wool flower.

And the finished dress:

At the theater:

And me in my new 1950s hat:

I love the hat so I will probably wear it to work once in a while.

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