This is a fun project to write about!
While this dress is not quite a copycat, it was heavily influenced and inspired by the lovely green vintage dress worn on a photo shoot advertising Royal Vintage Shoes' new fall line this year. I was admiring that dress when I realized that actually it has very simple lines, with the special touch created by looped figure 8 shoulder appliqués, which when I looked closely at, I could figure out how they were done. Of course, instantly I wanted to copy them on something!
I had some dress weight sage green rayon on my shelf which was close to the color of my inspiration dress, so while there are a few differences, I can still call it my RVS Inspired Dress. :-)
This pattern I am guessing is from right around 1939, and I've wanted to make it for a long time. It never quite made it to the top of my sewing queue until now - that simple neckline and plain shoulders are perfect for adding decoration!
I had to size it up quite a bit, so there are minor issues with the skirt fit in the back. Otherwise I was very happy with how it turned out! The rayon is as comfy as a jersey knit, doesn't wrinkle very much, and has absolutely ideal swing and drape for those lovely late '30s skirt details. (I got it years ago at a fabric discount outlet for 1.99 a yard - wish I had more and in a dozen other colors!!!)
The skirt is the perfect, elegant length. It looks trim, thanks to the waist pleats stitched down, yet has enough fullness that I don't have to worry about bending over or sitting down - a plus when I have to chase after a busy 1 year old!
The sleeves I had used on another dress a while ago, and I still love them. While still in pattern pieces, it can be confusing to figure out since the shapes look so funny. The top part is pleated into a triangle shaped piece for such fun detail.
Doing the shoulder embellishments added a few hours onto the otherwise rapid make time. I looked off the photo and played around with a paper version first, did some tracing onto the shoulders with tailor's chalk and then cut a long piece of bias fabric and started sewing. I think my embellishment ended up with a wider fabric strip, and I omitted one of the figure 8's from the inspiration dress. And of course it is not as neat and perfectly done as the original.
I had to make it reverse in the twist for the 2nd shoulder, and while I was very careful with my spacing, I ended up having to redo one of the loops to make it even, and it still isn't quite a mirror image - but it's fairly close. And I am so happy with how accurate and unique it looks! Again I am reminded of why it's worth the effort and time to add those extra hand-sewn details, and why so many gorgeous dresses from that era had them.
I'm still a far cry from the incredible variety and quality and creativity shown on extant dresses (I have a whole wish list of embellishment inspiration on Pinterest!), but at least I've made a start.
I had intended to wear some favorite brown vintage heels with this outfit, but the day before, a box from Royal Vintage arrived with my long awaited pre-ordered Alice shoes in them! Since this outfit was based on a dress worn with the red Alices for the photo shoot, of course I had to wear them with my version. :-)
I had seen photos of the brown style in many varied shades, so I wasn't exactly sure what I was getting. But they are just what I'd hoped - a versatile warm chestnut brown on the dark side of medium without too much red or rust in them. Just the right color for fall. So soft and stylish, suitable for both 1930s and 1940s outfits, and the cutout detail is a-maz-ing.
They are dressier than a bootie style, yet have enough foot coverage to make it a warmer choice for fall and winter. I will be interested to see how many ways I end up styling them, since this kind of shoe is not quite as versatile as a plain pump - yet they are so gorgeous.
I really want the black style too, but since I already had a similar silhouette of black shoe in my closet I couldn't justify the extra expense. Hopefully someday they will go on sale and I can snap up a pair of black ones too!
I wore these for about 5 hours straight out of the box and my feet hurt a bit afterwards, so I expect next time will be better since they had some breaking in. I may change the laces - they look a little too long for my preference - but otherwise wouldn't change a thing!
I don't have much selection of brown belts, and a western style is certainly a-typical, but it tied my brown accessories and silver dress buttons together perfectly and - hey, what can you say? I live in Idaho. :-)
So far I am pleased most of the time with my new haircut. I am still figuring out the right combination of shampoo and conditioner, but it's certainly behaving a lot better than my too-long, layers-grown-out styles of last month!
Even though this is more of a summer dress, the color works for at least 3 seasons, and here autumn days get warm enough that I will be glad for short sleeves for a while yet. So hopefully it will get a few more outings before winter proper arrives.
I love that it is comfortable with no underarm pulling or other issues that would make it less likely to be worn; also that it is so simple it can be styled lots of ways and paired with lots of colors depending on the season. Gray is a natural to pair with this silvery green, black and brown are always classics, but then there's also red, ivory or white, pink, perhaps even navy or lavender...
I know I've said this before, but once again my newest make ranks right up there with my favorite projects from this summer!