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Tag Archives: 1950s

Black Swan 1950s Ball Gown at the Vampire Ball

Last weekend was the annual Vampire Ball hosted by PEERS. I wore a dress I made from a 1950s pattern that I am calling my “black swan” ball gown because the many organza ruffles remind me of a tutu.image

The skirt of my gown had what seemed like miles of organza ruffles. I was able to save a lot of labor by using fabric that already came pre-ruffled. I thought that the strips of ruffles all ran parallel to each other, but actually change direction every few rows. It made the fabric a little harder to sew, but probably added more visual interest. It was certainly very fluffy! (I had many people asking to pet my skirt).image

The bodice was made using Vogue 8789. I highly recommend this pattern for its flattering shape and ease of construction. The facings for the neckline are cut as part of the bodice pieces, and folded inside and tacked. (I’m used to sewing and wearing historical garments that have more boning and structure up top, so this seemed to go together extremely quickly). The Vogue pattern has a short skirt and is meant for daywear, but I was able to adapt it to an evening gown by making the skirt longer and fuller.  I felt very elegant in this dress; I think my friend Kim captured my mood perfectly in the photo below.image

The sash was made of red stretch taffeta, tied into a large bow in the back. The front was accented by a rhinestone pin from my costume jewelry stash.image

Black dresses are always hard to photograph, so here’s a lightened close-up of the fabric:image

You can’t see my shoes but I was wearing my American Duchess tango boots to give me some extra height as I socialized with the undead.

Project costs:

Total: $109.64

I want to thank Fabric Wholesale Direct for providing all the fabric for this project! The ruffle organza was a very cool fabric and definitely turned heads!  It was also my first time using one-way stretch taffeta, and I found it to have a nice body and opacity, and be very easy to work with.

You can read my tutorial for this dress posted on the FWD site!

Update 12/8/16: Here is a photo courtesy of the talented John Carey, of me sitting on the downstairs steps in my ballgown!vampire-ball-by-john-carey-photographic-imagery

 

 

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McCall’s 9900 Vintage Skirt Pattern

Happy first day of autumn! It’s the perfect time to build up a collection of wool skirts.

I used the last bit of fabric left over from my Victorian bathing suit to make a simple A-line skirt using McCall’s 9900, a vintage 1954 pattern.img_9587

The cutting took longer than the sewing because I only had about 1.5 yards instead of the recommended 2, and I had to very carefully line up the pieces and introduce some additional seams in order to match the stripes. To give it a bit more flare when wearing it I’ll probably use a petticoat or maybe add some horsehair to the hem later.img_9589

It’s not quite perfect, but was still satisfying!img_9592

The skirt closure has a side zipper and a button.img_9597

It was a nice easy pattern and I will definitely use this again!img_9588

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Embroidered 50s Dress, Vintage Jewelry, and Other Finds

I’ve been doing a lot of small tasks lately, like mending, replacing buttons, adding trim, cleaning jewelry, etc. so I don’t have a big sewing project to share. Instead, I am showing you some beautiful vintage items I have recently found.

First is this really cute embroidered 50’s dress!

IMG_5387 IMG_5389 IMG_5391 IMG_5392Unfortunately it needs a lot of love and attention. It has many stains and damaged areas, although the embroidery is in good shape. The zipper has some rust, and the bodice lining and outer nylon layer has some holes and tears. There are some tears at the top of the dress so I can’t hang it up until I sew in some hanging loops. The dress fits me perfectly though, so I hope I can rescue it!

I finally got around to cleaning the jewelry I bought at Costume College, either from the bargain bazaar or a vendor, and here are the pieces.

First is an adorable dress clip with a happy couple. I’m not sure what to wear with it yet, but I’ll figure it out. Next is a brooch featuring carved coral tulips and green stone leaves. I have some other vintage coral tulip jewelry, although not in such a deep pink color.IMG_5378

This heart-shaped pin features a little ivory flower. I am in love with this tiny millefiori pin!IMG_5380You can see how tiny it is compared to this other millefiori pin I bought years ago from the Alameda Antiques Fair.

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Next are these two little pins that are probably not vintage, but cute anyway. I am going to put some green thread on the artists’ palette to fill in the missing part. Isn’t the little dangling button on the needle just perfect?

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The enamel pin is missing its center stone. I’m not sure what it was originally, but I am adding in a faux pearl. The shiny brooch on the right is a piece of modern costume jewelry, but I liked the fun colors, even if it’s missing a few stones. I can repair it, but until then, I don’t think it’s very noticeable if worn at night!IMG_5383Lastly is this pair of hand-embroidered pillowcases. I have a friend who loves to embroider, so I am going to pass these onto her, since I know she will give them a good home.

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