Monday, December 29, 2008

I'm Gonna Party Like It's 1955

So for the most part my vintage inspirations are the 1920s and 1940s. I don't have the figure for the 50s so I mostly stay away. The exception is this little number, McCall 5382. It's not 100% vintage, but the styling with the full skirt and shaped bodice is just reminiscent enough to evoke the era without being costumey.

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I bought the yellow silk brocade from Fabric Mart sometime last year (by which I mean 2007). My steal--I think it was $8/yd, or maybe $12--is long sold out, though there's a similar but higher-priced yellow brocade on the website now. The color was another departure for me, as I don't wear much yellow, though this dress definitely makes me want to add more of it! I didn't have a really specific idea of what I wanted; I envisioned maybe a keyhole shift.

I had several weddings to go to in the past year and I wanted a dress I could wear to more than one. When I found the pattern I absolutely fell in love with it as the consummate party dress, and decided I was ready to cut into the beautiful fabric (a victory for me, as it was in danger of becoming Too Good to Use). You may recall while I was sewing it I asked for advice on whether to do a contrast midriff or not. The people spoke, and for once I listened! I think I definitely made the right choice.

ShrugFrontI also wasn't sure whether to make a matching shrug or use a scarf I received as a gift in Vietnam as the cover up. I didn't go with the voice of the people on that, but turned the scarf--which was not my style and not quite long enough to use as a wrap--into a shrug. I was really pleased with the solution, and it is neutral enough to wear with other outfits.

I was really pleased with this pattern. It went together easily and the look is just too adorable. The only real issue I have is that it doesn't recommend interfacing the bodice shell overlays! That's just silly. Maybe if you make it in taffeta you wouldn't need interfacing, but they also recommend cotton(!-ew, in my opinion, for this fancy dress) and that would unquestionably need interfacing. I used a stiff interfacing on the inner halves of the shells, but I really should have interfaced both the outer and lining. I ended up having to tack them to the straps to keep them from drooping down. I wore this with a crinoline, also not a recommendation, which enhances the 50s feel.

I felt great wearing this at two weddings this Fall; not like a spinster at all, which was the goal. And it was definitely an original. One of the weddings was in Chicago and when I came downstairs to the hotel ballroom I was afraid I hadn't got the memo that we were supposed to wear black! I think there were only three of us not in black--one woman in dark purple, another in white(!!!!!--I am NOT referring to the bride), and me. I felt like I was sticking out a little, but everyone assured me it was only in a good way. At the wedding here in DC most of the female attendees were in lovely bright colors and I felt like we were fancy butterflies.

I should have gotten it together to review this in time for people to consider it for a New Year's Eve dress. Sorry about that! But this will be review #100 (cumulative total since joining PR, not for the year) and I think it's an appropriately celebratory garment.

All photos are here and the review is here.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Soooooo pretty! You should make more 50´s clothing. And more in yellow. You look absolutely adorable! I love it worn with the little shrug.
Hanna

the_lazymilliner said...

You know you are on target with two trends for 2009: yellow and retro dresses!

Little Hunting Creek said...

this is really pretty and looks great on you - you should make more 50's dresses! I love the color - so pretty and cheerful. Yellow is a good color for you

laura said...

Now that is a stunning dress! I, for one, prefer wearing something different to dressy functions and that would have looked great amongst all the black dresses. My mother made that very same dress for my niece and it too turned out very nice. Actually after seeing hers I didn't want to make it myself because it looked complicated (she lined the whole thing beautifully). But since you said it was pretty easy and it looks so good on you (I'm short too) I think I'm putting it on my list as we have a lot of things brewing for 2009. Good Job!!

Claudine said...

Fantastic dress! You look great in yellow.

connie said...

I lub it! I agree with the interfacing part! I am in the middle of the fiveblondes bridesmaid dresses and am interfacing the main bodice sections, and the ruching sections as well as making a inner corset and boning the heck out of it all! Your dress looks "fabulous dahling, fabulous"

tcarole said...

Very cute. I think you and I have about the same dimensions so it's nice to see a 50s style dress that looks so good on you, shape-wise. I love how the bodice gives a little "help" to the bust area and I'll probably make this soon myself. The color looks lovely on you - and I think sunny colors are way more appropriate for weddings than black.

Anonymous said...

What a great look for you. I bet you had to fight off the beau's in that dress.

cidell said...

Wow. That's really pretty. You look very 'party' in it and loads o fun. I too added some yellow to my wardrobe this year because it's so fun and bright.

Sue said...

Lovely dress. You may wish to know also that your blog has been mentioned in the Australian Stitches magazine. I am going to post about it on my blog, but if you would like a copy of the magazine sent to you let me know.

Sew4Fun said...

As I said on your review, fab dress! Love it! I also like your shrug. And I know exactly what you mean about not getting the memo to wear black. I've never understood the attraction of the LBD (little black dress). Give me a LYD any day. :) Much more chic!

Anonymous said...

Very pretty! It suits you wonderfully.

Denise

Alana said...

Your dress is gorgeous. Is it slapdash at all? It doesn't look it.

Lindsay T said...

Very fresh and flirty dress, Trena.

Nancy (nanflan) said...

I love the dress, and the color looks great on you!

Re: color at a wedding. I went to a fancy NY wedding this summer and my sister and I were among the very few not wearing black. I wore fuschia, and she wore turquoise and silver. And yes, there was a lady there wearing a beaded cream-colored dress. Hello?!

Nancy in A2 said...

You must wear more '50s dresses, and the color is fantastic.

Sewfast said...

Absolutely Fabulous! You look great in that dress! Mary

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

What a great dress! I am loving the color and the style!!

Carol said...

I love it! You should wear this colour more often, it really suits you. I love the shrug,too, they are turning out to be my most made item in 2008.

Elbee said...

VERY cute! But what I really want to know is: What are those shoes? I want them!

melissa said...

I love this! Yellow is so refreshing in winter! And I can't believe it when strapless patterns don't call for enough boning or interfacing - it makes me wonder if the designer has ever worn one...

Lory said...

Beautiful dress! You look very pretty in it. :):):)

Hugs,
Lory

Anonymous said...

You probably don't need to hear it again, but, that looks great on you.

Katharine in Brussels said...

Whatever happens, you must wear more of this sunshine yellow! It suits you completely. Congrats on finding a new color avenue.

katherine h said...

Love it, love it, love it!