Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Sad Story - Beware of Vintage Buttons

My good customer, Linda, recently purchased a vintage 1940's rayon suit from me. Linda was thrilled with the suit because it fit her perfectly. She took it to her favorite dry cleaner, whom she trusts with all her vintage garments. Sadly, the suit did not survive.

During the war years, garment manufacturers often had to make do with inferior quality fabrics and notions. This particular suit had pretty clear plastic buttons that complimented the white chiffon ruffles nicely.

Linda's dry cleaner didn't think the buttons were a problem, and so did not cover or remove them. Unfortunately, they melted during the dry cleaning process and made holes and stains on the suit jacket.

Linda asked me to share this with all of you. Please, please always remember to cover or remove the buttons from your fine vintage garments before having them cleaned. Older buttons, especially those from the war era, were not made to withstand the chemicals and heat of modern dry cleaning. By taking the time to protect your garment, you'll save yourself possible vintage heartache.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Why I Love Vintage Clothing - The Gusset

1950's Dress with High Cut Armholes

Have you ever noticed when donning a vintage garment that the armholes are cut much higher than you are used to? A higher armhole gives a much better and more defined fit through the bustline and sleeve. In the 70's, as clothing manufacture was streamlined, clothing became less expensive, and knits were used more frequently, designers sacrificed fit for speed and lower cost. Tops became looser and more square shaped, many loosing the bust darts altogether.

1980's Dress with no Bust Shaping

But, I digress. Back to the gorgeous 1950's Gigi Young dress shown at the top of the page. The armholes are cut quite high and the bodice is shaped with two princess seams and darts. How can the dress be comfortable with all those seams bunched up under the arm? The solution is a gusset.

A gusset is a diamond shaped piece of fabric inserted into a slit in the underarm to provide ease , relieve strain, and add comfort for the wearer. They are usually cut on the bias to provide maximum ease of movement. Inserting a gusset into an underarm involves great skill and accurate stitching of a bias seam onto a straight one so the corners match and the gusset lays flat. You just don't see this attention to detail in modern more reason why I love vintage clothing!

See this dress and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .