Remember in 2016, when I marathonned my way through sewing that white dress for Christmas and, outwardly, I probably said I’d never be that stupid again, but inwardly I knew that somehow this would become some kind of perverse, masochistic holiday tradition? Well, I started this dress approximately 48 hours before leaving for Michigan for Christmas 2017. Of course I did.
The pattern is (totally unspecified) mail order pattern #4526 (It’s probably Anne Adams, but it doesn’t say that on the envelope.) It came to me in an estate-lot of patterns (read: a giant, unwieldy box that I bought off eBay) and when I pulled it out, it simultaneously excited and TERRIFIED me. It just looked so difficult, with its color-blocking and peplum shaping and weird, gathered neckline. I put it away so I didn’t have to think about it too much.
I pulled it out again last year because I was riding the high of having completed three of four semesters of fashion school. Just kidding. I was exhausted and overworked after balancing three semesters of fashion school with being a full-time freelance creative who makes most of her money by sitting naked on various art schools’ model stands and being drawn/painted/sculpted. But I had just finished three semesters of fashion school, and so I decided I wasn’t allowed to be afraid of this pattern anymore. So I made it up.
First things first: this pattern is from the 40’s. It’s unprinted. Just a series of cryptic dots to tell you where things are supposed to line up. Second: it’s a blouse and a skirt, but somehow the entire instructions for putting it together take up less than a page. They’re quite sparse, if you’re not used to the general process of garment construction. It’s a size 18, which, in 1940’s terms means “STILL INCREDIBLY TINY” which is fine, I’m totally comfy traipsing around in a corset.
I didn’t finish this pattern for Christmas. Hell, I don’t think I finished it in time for Easter. (Honestly, I can’t even remember when Easter was this year.) …Google tells me I must have finished it before Easter, because we took these photos in March, and Easter was April 1. I completely screwed up the top buttonhole, because for some reason I couldn’t remember in which direction my trusty Husquvarna sews buttonholes, and didn’t think to test it on something else first. But it exists, and it’s finished. The shell is a lightweight black rayon twill and aqua/gold brocade from Mood. The lining (I completely lined it, even though that’s NOT EVEN IN THE INSTRUCTIONS. I JUST DID IT FOR FUNSIES.) is gunmetal grey rayon lining, also from Mood. Someday, I’ll tell you why I have an obsessive tendency to make all my clothes out of rayon. It’s positively literary. I did not bag the lining of the top, I lined each piece individually and French seamed the entire thing, because I spent most of my three semesters of fashion school being very interested in couture construction methods.
These photos are courtesy of SaiSiv, from Model Mayhem. We shot in late March on North Avenue Beach. On the beach, in March, at dusk. Because I like being cold. But also, I was practically desperate to get photos of the thing finished. My shoes are true vintage, 1930’s green velvet, from Hollyland Vintage on Etsy. You can barely, barely, barely see it, but I’m also wearing my absolute favorite, most worn hat, a tiny little low-profile skeleton hat with little velvet bows on the sides and a mink front rim, which I purchased from my absolute favorite, most visited antique shop, Uncle Winnie’s in East Tawas, MI. (When you’re good to mama…)
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