“The Sweetest of All the Colors…”

“… Every woman should have something pink in her wardrobe.”   Christian Dior certainly had distinct thoughts about fashion, and with this statement I concur.  Everyone looks good in pink, especially pale pink (men definitely included), and I suspect pale pink was what Monsieur Dior was thinking when he wrote this in his Little Dictionary of Fashion (First published by Cassell & Co., Ltd., 1954; 2007 edition by Abrams; Copyright Catherine Dior and Jean-Pierre Teto, 2007).   Interestingly, the lining pages of his little book are pale pink, but the divider pages feature a deep, deep raspberry pink as in – – – my newly finished “ladylike” dress!

Here is the "section"page for E from Dior's Fashion Dictionary

Here is the “section”page for E from Dior’s Fashion Dictionary

Dated 1958, this is the pattern I used for my pink dress.

Dated 1958, this is the pattern I used for my pink dress.

The finished dress!

The finished dress!

As I mentioned in my last post, I made this dress using couture construction, which means a lot of hand-sewing.  The more I use this type of construction, the more I like it, but it doesn’t get any faster.

An interior view of some "couture" construction - silk organza underlining, catch-stitched seams, hand-picked zipper.

An interior view of some “couture” construction – silk organza underlining, catch-stitched seams, hand-picked zipper.

However, couture construction gives me a lot of flexibility in changing necklines, which I really appreciate.  That is one of the changes I made to this pattern – widening the neckline to a more flattering appearance for me.

The widened neckline.

The widened neckline.

I also changed the back of the skirt by removing the box pleats and substituting a darted back.

I substituted darted back panels for the "original" box pleats

I substituted darted back panels for the “original” box pleats

The original dress had pockets hidden in side box pleats, but when I narrowed the width of the skirt, I did away with those side pleats.  I still wanted pockets, so I added pocket extensions in order to still hide them in the side seams.  It worked!

A peek at the pocket inside which shows the raspberry silk lining I used for the dress.  I understitiched the pocket edges by hand, which took no time at all and looks so much nicer than machine stitching!

A peek at the pocket inside which also shows the raspberry silk lining I used for the dress. I understitiched the pocket edges by hand, which took no time at all and looks so much nicer than machine stitching!

I added a quarter-inch to the underneath seam on each sleeve, so that each sleeve would have one-half inch extra width to it.  Those ladies in the 1950s must have had skinny arms, as I find sleeve widths on these vintage patterns are often just not quite spacious enough.

I added to the underarm seam - an adjustment which I determined from  my muslin.

I added to the underarm seam – an adjustment which I determined from my muslin.

This was the first time I had made sleeves which are half set-in and half kimono.  This is a look and fit which I love!  In fact, the shoulder fits so well, that my original thought to add an interior sleeve heading was one I decided I did not need.

The one thing I’m not sure I like is the “purchased or novelty belt” as indicated on the pattern.  I think a self-belt, a little wider than the one I show, would be more attractive.  Please comment if you have an opinion.  (I have plenty of fabric left over to make one…)

I am thinking a 2" wide self belt might be more attractive???

I am thinking a 2″ wide self belt might be more attractive???

Before I move on to my next project (to be announced soon), I want to thank Dresses and me for nominating me for the Very Inspiring Blogger award.

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

So, in accordance with the “rules” –  I am supposed to share a few facts about myself and nominate some others for the same award, so here goes:

1 – I am told I have a slight Southern accent, surely a remnant of being born and raised in North Carolina.

2 – I do most of my machine sewing on a 1940s’ Singer Featherweight and on my mother’s 1956 “306K” portable Singer.

3 – Autumn is my favorite season.

4 – I can make a very good Pumpkin pie.

5 – I enjoy reading historical fiction.

6 – I can’t sing (as in carry a tune) except for a few simple lullabies and Christmas carols.

Now – to pass on this award:  So many fellow bloggers inspire me every day that it is difficult to single out just a few (especially as many have already received this award!), but here are some worthy recipients:

For always giving me a laugh:  A Dress A Day and The Blue Gardenia.

For always teaching me something I would not have known otherwise:  The Vintage Traveler, Pattern Vault, Two Nerdy History Girls, and the FIDM Museum blog.

For sharing their sewing knowledge, design sense, and beautiful workmanship:  Custom Style, Lilacs and Lace, So Sew Lovely, and Frabjous Couture.

So now – you are IN THE KNOW and  – I am IN THE PINK!


Filed under couture construction, hand-sewn zippers, kimono sleeves, Uncategorized, underlinings, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1950s, woolens

21 responses to ““The Sweetest of All the Colors…”

  1. Oh, what a wonderful dress! And the color is so pretty! I’ve actually been debating ordering some wool crepe in almost the same shade (for a 40s dress I want to make).

    I think it is more the high-contract of color (black on the pink) that is making you question the belt. I think the size looks good, but the belt itself seems wrong for the dress somehow. Maybe it’s a bit casual? A self-fabric belt always looks nice, but I think a different store-bought would work as well. =)

    And thank you for the award! You inspire me as well – so it’s completely mutual. =)

    (My husband just walked by and seeing your photo said he loves belted dresses.)

    • I think you’re correct about the belt – too casual. My dressier belts are too skinny, so I’m either going to have to buy a new belt or make one! Decisions, decisions. Thanks for relaying your husband’s comment – I think so many men have such a good fashion sense. It’s always good to know what they are thinking!

  2. Wow the finishing & details on this dress are amazing!!! I’m in awe!

  3. You’re pretty fabric and construction changes made 54 years of difference! It’s absolutely beautiful 🙂

  4. Lovely work! I also enjoy ‘couture’ sewing—it’s how I learned (from my mother, who’ll be 70 this year).. I can be a bit ’50s-averse so had not heard of this Dior book, which sounds interesting, although I’m not sure I could handle all that pink.
    And thanks so much for the award!

  5. That colour is luscious on you! Love all the couture touches. Enjoyed learning about you and some new-to-me blogs.

  6. Wow what a gorgeous dress and the colour is sumptuous. I love pink though wear very little – my kids make up for that in spades lol. And I agree with Brooke about the belt – I think the black is such a strong contrast that its distracting from the dress … and the width is fine.

  7. Carol

    How wonderfully you are wearing this lovely shade of pink. I am reminded of the deep pink flowering quince in bloom this time of year. Love the hand embroidered understitching on the pockets, the unique sleeve design, and the variety of options you will have with a change of belts.
    Dior Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2012-13 showed a ‘ “Dior red” bar coat ‘ with metallic patent accents: a dark copper belt and gold heels. I jotted down this color combination while watching the last episode of “Downton Abbey”: cranberry and toasted almond (brown).
    I am thinking of a cranberry velvet bow belt (Threads #156, “Balenciaga bows”, by Claire Schaeffer) or a Dior rose (Threads #34, “Dior Roses”, by Roberta Carr). I also like the shawl and the large pocketbook from the first pattern. The model appears assured, confident, and composed: a lady.

    • I always love your comments, Carol! Interestingly, I have silk/cashmere- blend square scarf which features this shade of pink, a lighter version, cranberry and brown. I am sure I’ll be wearing that scarf with this dress sometimes ( a la the fashion sketch on the envelope), and a cranberry colored belt would certainly look good. I dug out my back issues of Threads, and came up with #156, Unfortunately, although I have #33 and #35, #34 is missing… but it was fun to check out the Balenciaga bow.

  8. ewellons

    Gorgeous dress, Karen. Ladylike — but not at all matronly! I agree about the self-fabric belt. It would also be very appropriate for that era. Have you ever used Pat’s Buttons and Belts? She does a great job — fast and reasonable. But of course you could make your own, I’m sure.
    Also love all of your couture techniquest. Isn’t that way of sewing addictive? But, as you said, no way to make it fast!!

    • Thanks, Cissie! You know, I have not ever used Pat’s Buttons and Belts, but it may be time to do so. I DO NOT like making belts – so I think I should treat myself. Thanks for the suggestion!

  9. ewellons

    The first time I ever used Pat was for buttons and I swore then and there that I would never ever make my own again. Even Susan Khalje agrees. Why bother, when perfection is available!!

  10. Carol

    Dior rose also in “Distinctive Details” from Threads (Taunton, 1995) and in “Couture, The Art of Fine Sewing” by Roberta C. Carr. (Palmer/Pletsch,1993)

  11. I’m dreadfully behind on my reading, so I was delighted to come here today and find the award! It is so appreciated. Now I feel like a real winner!

    I love the dress, and the color really suits you.

  12. This dress is divine! Was a lovely colour on you and the shape is perfect! I love that you added pockets – practicality and elegance! I like the black belt but a self fabric belt would look great too 🙂

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