Ah, autumn. Every spring I can't wait to cut into my floral cottons, yet every fall I get freshly excited about my cool weather projects. I think perhaps there is a little more creativity with fall and winter sewing, since I don't have to be limited to what is cool and comfortable enough for a high desert summer.
I do have one more summer outfit to photograph, but since that hasn't happened yet, here is the first of my fall sewing queue to be completed this year!
It's a very classic war era dress, with some cute detail. I used some rayon crepe that appeared to be reversible - at least, I couldn't tell which side was supposed to be the right side, but I wanted the brown so I went with that. But I had to incorporate the other side just for fun, so I used it for the side front panels and skirt yoke - and I'm glad I did! It looks so much better than all brown would have, plus this type of color blocking is very historically accurate.
The crepe feels and hangs beautifully, and again seems to fit the dress very well. I'm a little worried about how well it will stand up to wear and washing, but we will see.
The dress was easy to make, even with the yoke and gathers which add some special 1940s style. It came together quickly without any difficulties except for the need to tweak the waist seam a bit.
In my quest to add hand details to my outfits, I tried soutache for the first time as a shoulder embellishment. It was rather a failure. (Somebody who knows how please, please do a tutorial on how to apply it!!!) But rather than rip it off, I decided to try to make it look better. At first I thought of beads, but had none the right color, and no dark brown embroidery floss the right shade either. I was determined to finish it with something I had on hand (make do and mend, you know...), so I ended up using black thread and making dozens and dozens of French knots. I rather like the result, and especially from a distance it looks just like the type of decoration I see on extant dresses from this time period. Total save!
Plus adding in the touch of black made it easy to pair black accessories if I want to. Normally I would pair brown with brown, but this is a unique cool shade of brown that clashes with many other shades, so I ended up going classic with mostly black accessories. Again I lament my lack of black belts... Due to lack of choice, I had to spoil the look somewhat with a modern one; this dress really should have a narrower leather belt. I really must concentrate on finding one.
Of course Royal Vintage Shoes' Nita sandals paired very tastefully.
(Incidentally, reproduction shoes are spoiling me for my vintage pairs, which rarely get an outing now! I keep opting for the extra comfort of the reproductions...)
This hat goes with the dress perfectly, which made me so happy! I have had it for a loooong time and love it, but have practically nothing to wear it with. Now that is remedied!
I pinned on the two clusters of black millinery flowers to help balance my hair, which wasn't quite behaving.
Despite my rather unimaginative accessory pairing, this dress would go well with many autumn jewel tones for accent colors. I did add just a touch of color with a favorite pair of gloves in garnet. But I'd love to pair it with an emerald felt hat and bag, for instance.
(If I had them...:-)
Altogether, this was a fun and rewarding dress to make. Quick and easy, with the hand work to take it up a notch, and everything fitting together in a happy combination which makes it look like it really belongs in the 1940s. Which is my goal, and while I sometimes don't quite reach that goal, I think I did with this dress.