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Magnificent Obsession Cocktail Dress

Added Apr 6, 2011

by Peter Lappin

New York, United...






I made this cocktail dress ensemble from Simplicity 4227, a vintage pattern from 1953. It combines a one-piece dress with shaped neckline and kimono sleeves, with a matching bolero jacket. Lots of fun to make. It reminded me of the sort of dress Jane Wyman wore in the Fifties Douglas Sirk melodramas like “Magnificent Obsession” — especially with cats-eye sunglasses! (Of course, Jane’s character was blind behind hers…)

More pics on my blog, Male Pattern Boldness:


Material Notes

I used a polyester shantung I found locally in the Garment District for $2/yd. It was surprisingly easy to work with and didn’t fray too badly. Pressed well too!




Garment Type
Evening Wear, Vintage

21 Comments Sign in to add a post

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    Feb 7, 2012, 09.46 AMby buddingnaturalist

    Cathy is the most elegant chick on this website. Methinks she deserves a chauffered Rolls to save her from having to walk amongst the commoners.

    1 Reply
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    May 27, 2011, 11.23 AMby urbandon

    Totally styling. Love it!

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    Apr 11, 2011, 10.00 PMby flowergirl22

    fanatical fabrication tastic,, stuning dress,, dont worry dont bother look it upp in dictionary,,

    you sure you not have a twin sister?

    1 Reply
    • Jeans_sew_along_best_large

      Apr 13, 2011, 11.14 AMby Peter Lappin

      Not a twin sister, and “identical” cousin. ;)

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    Apr 7, 2011, 11.50 PMby gillthecat

    that cousin of yours looks bit work shy,, does she have staff ? cant see her cleaning the oven out,,always just tickity boo,

    1 Reply
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    Apr 7, 2011, 06.29 PMby flosiepoos

    Another triumph! You can see you had fun making it, the dress oozes cheer and style. And so do you!

    1 Reply
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    Apr 7, 2011, 07.11 AMby zaarissima

    wow – so beautiful! Especially I love the little bolero jacket – which is now marked on my to-sew-list!!!

    1 Reply
    • Jeans_sew_along_best_large

      Apr 7, 2011, 11.03 AMby Peter Lappin

      Thanks — I love that jacket too!

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    Apr 7, 2011, 02.34 AMby erica-penton


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    Apr 7, 2011, 01.23 AMby Testosterone

    That no-nonsense coiffure, the sensible ankle strap for sure footed posing, and those gloved hands smartly on her hips lets a world in disarray know that there isn’t anything this gal can’t handle.

    The dress is quite fetching, beautifully constructed, and all for the price of a sow’s ear!

    Lane/Lappin in 2012!

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    Apr 7, 2011, 01.13 AMby detta

    oh my, i’m quite breathless! this is completely stunning, and i’m dead jealous.

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    Apr 7, 2011, 12.46 AMby mollykatherine

    Great job as always! x

  • Jeans_sew_along_best_large

    Apr 7, 2011, 12.00 AMby Peter Lappin

    Thanks for the kind words, everyone!

  • Miniman_wants_love_large

    Apr 6, 2011, 09.41 PMby boppygreen

    Absolutely love your work. I’ve been envying it for about a year now. Your dresses from the glamorous days of Hollywood are fabulous!! And you always choose such beautiful fabrics.

    1 Reply
    • Jeans_sew_along_best_large

      Apr 7, 2011, 12.00 AMby Peter Lappin

      I’m lucky to have the Garment District so close — I enjoy hunting for fabrics that have a vintage-y feel.

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    Apr 6, 2011, 08.07 PMby twolter

    Love this!

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    Apr 6, 2011, 07.31 PMby fairytale-thirteen

    Love your pix – your a fox x

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    Apr 6, 2011, 06.29 PMby saylavie

    That is stunning! Love the matching bolero!

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    Apr 6, 2011, 04.23 PMby zilredloh

    Ooo! Lovely. I love the fabric you chose and the matching belt is perfection.

    I gasped when I saw the pattern, because I think I have the same one in my stash. What wonderful inspiration for me to make mine.

    1 Reply
    • Jeans_sew_along_best_large

      Apr 7, 2011, 12.00 AMby Peter Lappin

      Go for it — it’s fun!

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    Apr 6, 2011, 04.22 PMby dottty

    Wow thats a fantastic frock and what a bargin too jj:)x

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    Apr 6, 2011, 04.08 PMby Ralf Schmitz

    one word: FANTASTIC!!!

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    Apr 6, 2011, 04.00 PMby darkhorse

    Absolutely stunning! :)

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    Apr 6, 2011, 03.41 PMby lazylinchen

    Wow, Cathy looks impeccable!

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    Apr 6, 2011, 03.12 PMby leahfranqui

    This is amazing. You look fantastic!

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