Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Perfect Afternoon for a Mint Julep

Now that Fall is almost here, Summer weather has finally arrived in Marin County.  This means that I am pulling out all my summer dresses before the heat decides to disappear again!

This dress is yet another vintage reproduction from my closet.  I used Butterick 5209, a pattern originally printed in 1947. 

I was first attracted to the halter version, but decided that the cap sleeved look would be much more wearable.  And I am so glad I made the decision – the sleeves are one of my favorite parts of the garment.

The fabulous fabric is from Bella Notte.  The 44% silk/56% cotton blend floral jacquard is called Deluxe Marie in the colorway “ocean” and is one of my favorite fabrics.  It drapes beautifully and works perfectly with the style of the dress – crisp enough to keep the dress summery, but with enough drape due to the silk content to keep it from looking too stiff.

I was surprised by the amount of yardage required.  I assumed this was a wartime styled dress (silly me, since the pattern envelope clearly says 1947).  However, the dress requires almost 3.5 yards of 45" fabric – the designer must have been thrilled that wartime rationing was over – it is certainly not a “New Look” amount of fabric, but quite a bit more than I was expecting.  This may have to do with the fact that the bodice and midriff are lined with the fashion fabric.  I wonder if the original was lined –I have never come across a day dress pattern from the 1940s that was finished like this.  So if you think you may not have enough yardage, an easy fix would be to use a lining fabric instead of cutting double of the bodice and midriff pieces.

I substituted an invisible zipper, although if I was to make this up again, I would probably choose a lapped zipper with a hand picked seam.  I was fully converted to hand stitched zippers when I saw a few Balenciaga creations up close and personal at the de Young Museum in San Francisco earlier this year – if they are good enough for a couturier, they are good enough for me!  I also live for hand stitching, so any extra excuse works for me!

Earrings: Macy's
Shoes:  Banana Republic "Tina" in Ivory


  1. Lovely! This looks beautiful. That shape is so flattering.

  2. Beautiful! I love the color. One thing I love about fall is that you can still wear some of your summer dresses with a sweater/jacket and tights. I also agree with Nikki, that shape is flattering.

  3. I was on the fence about buying this pattern, but I think you just convinced me! This dress is absolutely beautiful!

  4. Stunning! I have this pattern myself, and after seeing your version it has just moved up on my to-do list!

  5. @Clarissa Cardigans are my favorite garment for this very reason. I love getting more wear out of my sundresses. They also protect my pasty skin from the sun!

    And don't get me started on tights - they are one of the reasons I look forward to Fall each year!

  6. What a classy dress! You did a lovely job with this gorgeous pattern, and I love the "v" pointed seam.

    Happy sewing,


  7. Dear Laura Mae,
    I have been seeing your projects on Burda style and always look forward to seeing more of them. You are so good at choosing the fabric and your fit is just perfect.
    Connie Turner

  8. I almost bought that pattern the other day. Looks smashing on you. Here in Elk Grove (Sacramento area), summer showed up for about four days, but is gone again this morning. I've given up and am ready for fall.

  9. I love your vintage looks and this is no exception. Looks cool and elegant! (I'm a fellow Marinite btw :)

  10. This is gorgeous! The fabric you chose works oh so perfectly. :]

  11. Gorgeous, I think this pattern may have to join my wish list.

  12. I really like the extra length you gave to the bodice. I wish I would have thought of that when I made this one. I love how this looks on you!