Well dear readers, it has arrived. The last of the beautiful vintage garments from Elise. I started this series with one of the most spectacular garments, the assuit tunic. I’m finishing it with an equally spectacular garment, but in a completely different way.
How do you like this sweet floral and organza afternoon frock?
Isn’t it darling? Isn’t it just gorgeous? And you haven’t even seen how clever and cunning all the sewing details are!
The dress starts out with a bias-cut underslip of the floral fabric:
The underslip fabric is rayon, and is such a typically 1930s print: the limited colour-scheme of pastel primaries, the non-directional print, the painterly florals that are recognisable, but not realistic.
The cut of the slip is clever but simple, relying on the bias and some basic bust-darts for shaping.
The cut is also quite timeless. If I found this in an op-shop today I’d have to really look at it to be sure if it was made in the 1930s, or the 1990s.
There is no mistaking the dating of the overdress though! Everything about it says mid-late 1930s
Just look at those sculptural puffed sleeves:
And the inverted V below the bust:
While the slip may be simple, and the silhouette of the overdress classicly of its time, the details that make the dress are just exceptionally clever. Everything has been thought out, from the way the overdress mutes and frosts the slip, to the double-fabric covered buttons ( Do you know how hard it is to do double fabric buttons?! Hard.), to the seaming on the collar – also classically 1930s, but so unusual in its placement and execution.
One of the many clever design elements of the dress is the back, with the slip’s low back, and then the rest of the back veiled by the organza, with little peak-a-boo openings. Such a cunning way to carry the fashionably low-back of 1930s eveningwear into daywear.
Both the slip and the overdress are beautifully finished in most ways, with a few places where the seamstress skipped finishes because they would never be seen, and wouldn’t matter . The whole dress carries the mark of a busy and experienced sewer (professional or not) who has learned which corners can be cut, and which can’t!
Overall the dress is in exceptionally good condition. The organza is a bit creased, but the fabric is quite robust. Except in one place. The back belt, as clever as it is, is just too weighty for the thin organza fabric, and is ripping holes in the side seams.
Still, the dress is in pretty good nick, and is pretty darling! I’ll certainly be using it as inspiration for a replica, and maybe be wearing it for a photoshoot!