Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Matching Plaids

I slipped this late 1940's day dress on my mannequin to take pictures and noticed how cute it is when worn. Its a basic woven cotton plaid with a slight flare to the skirt. The rolled collar extends into tabs that criss-cross and button. "Great," I thought, "someone's going to look adorable in this."

It wasn't until I sat down at my computer to crop the photos for use in the listing, that I noticed. I am absolutely in awe of the matching of the plaid on the rolled collar. The plaid stripes on the tabs match the stripes on the bodice perfectly! Not only that, but the plaid is also matched at the side seams and the center front and back skirt seams.

If you know how to sew, then you know how difficult matching plaids is. It takes time and planning, as you have to place the pattern pieces on the fabric in an exact position before cutting the pieces. Then you have to be very careful when sewing the seams that your fabric doesn't drift out of alignment. The larger the plaid, the more difficult the layout, and the more fabric you waste during the cutting process.

I am astonished at the amount of work that went into this simple day dress dress at the manufacturer. This type of attention to detail is lost in today's world.

See this dress and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Years of Simmering Resentment

It's not often that I find vintage dresses with notes from the original owner attached, but this one caught my attention. This is a sweet day dress made in sewing class at college by Dorrice Trickey in 1935. It's pretty rare to find Depression era day dresses like this in such great condition, because it was a time of "making do" and wearing garments until they wore out.

My grandmother taught me to sew when I was 12 years old. One thing she always insisted upon was that I must use a thimble when sewing by hand. I didn't like it, I complained and groused, but I learned to use that thimble and gradually became used to it. Now I can't sew without one, and my family knows that my favorite thimble that fits just right better NOT disappear from my sewing table! With that in mind, here is the note that Dorrice attached to this dress:

"Made in Sewing Class at Farmington State Normal School. 1935 - Dorrice Trickey - Got a D because I didn't use a thimble".

I can just imagine Dorrice as a good all around student who prided herself on her high grades. But she just hates using that nasty thimble in Sewing Class! In a fit of pique, she decides she can complete her hand sewing on this dress just fine without it. And the teacher has the nerve to give her a D for that reason!!!!! Dorrice puts the dress away in her closet and vows to never wear it, but she can't throw it out - there's a Depression on. The dress sits in the back of her closet taunting her with that grade year after year. Her resentment simmers in the back of her mind, and when, late in life, Dorrice decides to donate her vintage clothing to a museum, she still remembers that D!

See this dress and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A "Seam"ingly Simple Blouse

What's so special? It's a basic blouse from the 50's made from cotton broadcloth in stripes of olive and maroon. The cuffs fold back, it buttons up the front, its washable. So, what's the big deal that makes this blouse special enough to show you?

Take a look at that collar! Instead of taking the easy way out and cutting the upper collar from one piece, the designer has manipulated the stripes so they form a right angle with a bias cut seam. Those of you who sew, know that not only is a bias seam difficult to stitch without the fabric stretching out of shape, to get those stripes perfectly matched while doing so, is a task for an expert. All for a simple casual blouse!

I've said it over and over: it's the details that grab my attention and that make vintage clothing so special. You can't get quality like this at the mall.

See this blouse and more at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion .

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Wedding Week!

It's Valentine's week, and we've been thinking of romance, which leads us to weddings! This week at Couture Allure Vintage Fashion, we're featuring 6 wedding gowns that date from the 1890's to the 1940's. My personal favorite is the complete 1920's wedding ensemble shown above that comes with the dress, headpiece and veil, shoes, stockings, hankie, ring pillow, and groom's bowtie!

Or maybe its the silk satin bias cut beauty that Jean Harlow would have been proud to wear.

No, wait! Every girl dreams of a huge train that trails halfway down the aisle, like the one on this stunner from the 1940's.

But you'll have to pop on over to Couture Allure Vintage Fashion to see the Edwardian dress with the court train! Oh, I'm such a tease!