Added Feb 11, 2012
So… the ensemble I’d like to describe here has come together over a period of a year or two. It all started with the gloves, actually. I found the handsome devils in an op shop and needed them to be a little more practical so gave the fingertips a chop. And that was that.
Next came the dress: the pattern was for a stunning dress circa 1939. As it happened, I had recently also watched “The Tin Drum” for the first time, and just adored the costumes used in the film (the film was set in WWII so of course my little heart was racing!). Anyway, there was one city scene where a woman (just one of the extras, as I recall) was walking down the street and wearing the most gorgeous purply coloured floral (I think) dress, and I knew then and there that I had to recreate the feeling of her outfit. Not long after that, I found some floral fabric at the op shop (yep, usual story) – a very lightweight cotton blend of some sort – the kind that goes a bit static-y and sticks to your skin sometimes when walking on carpet. I followed the pattern pretty much exactly, just altering the skirt length a few inches. The best bits about the dress were the lovely draped cross-over front and the teeny-tiny shoulder padettes that gave just the right amount of puff to the sleeves. The problem was, the gathering at the bust was ALL WRONG!!! It looked awful – there was no way anyone could have worn such a dress and gotten away with the bunchy mess that passed for a bodice!! You can imagine my horror, I’m sure.
Anyway, I did wear the dress a few times, pinning the drapes here and there as inconspicuously as possible, but it obviously still didn’t look right. The dress went back in the wardrobe and was forgotten about until a few weeks ago, when I finally bit the bullet and reconstructed the bodice. A lot of excess fabric was folded away and the gathering had to be rejigged – pinned and tried on, and repinned etc etc… until FINALLY the monstrosity started to look much better. The final bodice has much more structure to it and less bag-like froufiness. Phew!
The coat was something I NEEDED to make after seeing a photo of a cream coat in a 1940’s fashion book. I fell in love with the shape of the coat – the ‘swing coat’ sort of shape, as well as the bell-shaped sleeves and the simple collarless neckline. It was beautiful and I had to have it. I found a 1940’s pattern that was waaay too small and redrafted it to fit my proportions (although I should have given a bit more around the neckline – lesson learned!). I Also, altered the sleeve length as the original pattern’s sleeves were 3/4 length. The creamy-beige fabric was an op shop find – on its own a bit of a scratchy/ not so comfy synthetic. I added additional lining to the coat as well (I don’t think the pattern included lining) – this was the final length of lightweight flannel bed sheet I had left over from a previous coat project. The coat pattern had a couple of missing pieces – primarily the pockets, so I had to make that bit up a little and was pleasantly surprised to find my pockets worked beautifully – much like bound buttonholes. I finished the coat with some nice vintage fabric covered buttons.
Finally, last week I found a crochet project that I’d started a while ago and never finished. It was originally going to be a pillbox hat but I opted instead for a floppy pancake hat with a raised border – it attaches with a bobby pin to the hair. Coincidentally, the colour is pretty much identical to the glovesies, and the purply flowers on the fabric of the dress. Don’t you love when that happens?!
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