The Search for the Perfect Blue

Do you ever have a specific color in mind when looking for fabric for a specific type of dress? I am usually open to changing my mind if something else wonderful appears, but this time I really, really wanted to find a blue fabric for a cocktail dress. I started out thinking I would like a pale or periwinkle blue silk to pair with white lace, having Susan Khalje’s new Cocktail Dress pattern in mind.

The version I was thinking I'd like to make is the third one, with lace for the top and bottom panels.

The version I was thinking I’d like to make is the third one, with lace for the top and bottom panels.

I sent off for swatches – and more swatches – and even more, but I couldn’t find what I was looking for. This is what happens when one lives in an area which is devoid of fine fabric stores. ARGH! Then I found this lovely lightweight silk/linen/viscose blend at Emma One Sock. The color was just what I had in mind and I loved the feel of the fabric. The delicate woven design within this fabric catches glimmers of light.

The subtle design is in shades of pink, green and peach.

The subtle design is in shades of pink, green and peach.

I really loved it. BUT – I knew it wouldn’t look good paired with lace. So-o-o-o, I thought to myself, maybe I’ll save the lace idea for another time. Maybe I should look at my pattern collection and see what other cocktail dress patterns might be more suitable.  I picked out two more designs and gave myself some thinking time.

Perfect Blue - Mattli pattern

View D would be my choice.

View D would be my choice.

Since the yardage needed was about the same for all the patterns, I felt confident ordering the fabric and making my decision after it arrived. Can you guess which design I finally chose – and why?

The Vogue Couturier Design by Jo Mattli was the winner. I felt like the vertical “stems” and “leaves” woven into the fabric would be shown to best advantage by a dress that did not have a whole lot going on in it in the way of seams and tucks and gathers. I also like the fact the Mattli design very cleverly gives the feel of a two-piece dress, but in reality, it is one-piece. In fact, only the front of the dress looks two-piece. Here is the back view:

Perfect Blue - thumbnail sketch of backs

The lightweight nature of this fabric also means that there will not be an excess amount of bulk in that double layered front. The fabric is ideal for underlining in silk organza, with a lining in luscious china silk which Emma One Sock helped to select for me.

I spent several days working on a muslin (toile) for the dress, making some subtle changes which I’ll cover in a future post. The dress itself is now “under construction”! Of course, the longer I work with this beautiful fabric, the more I wonder if I should order more of it….?   A coat with a lining to match the dress would be quite something, wouldn’t it? (Any coat would not be finished in time to wear to the early September event for which I am making this dress, but would I let a small detail like that keep me from a vision?) What do you think? Coat or no coat? And if I did make a coat, what color should it?




Filed under Uncategorized, underlinings, vintage Vogue Designer patterns, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1960s

21 responses to “The Search for the Perfect Blue

  1. Can’t wait to see the dress!

    And yes, coat with matching lining! Make the dress now and wear it to the event. Then make a coat for later. As to coat color, my practical side is saying whatever you don’t already have in your closet in a neutral color that will get the most use. Chocolate brown perhaps? Or winter white? (I know you have at least one black coat with an amazing Pucci lining.)

    • How did I know you would be “YES” on the coat!!?? Well, I hadn’t thought of brown for the coat, but that would be really pretty with that lining, wouldn’t it? Winter white had come to mind, but the wheels are still turning here.

  2. Oh yes, I feel your pain. I love nothing more than dreaming up the fabric I want to find for a particular project… only to be devastated that I can’t find it, anywhere. Of course, that frustration is gently eased by buying something else I find instead 😉 I do love the lines of View D… but the Vogue Couturier design will be utterly fabulous 🙂

  3. A dress and a coat would be lovely. But what colour should the coat be? Hmmm..

  4. Jane

    I have had the pattern in my stash for a few years now and never been able to decide what sort of fabric would work best and think your choice is gorgeous. I was always slightly worried it could look a little 1960’s “mother of the bride” in a pure silk. I shall enjoy your posts even more than usual on this lovely dress,
    I personally would purchase more of the same fabric for the coat – would dress up other simpler garments as well as making an amazing outfit.

    • I totally agree about the MOB look if this pattern were done in a plain silk – well said!! So glad you think this fabric will be so much better. And, with the comments so far all in favor of a coat, I think that’s where I am headed! Thanks so much for commenting!

  5. Lovely pattern. Yes make the coat too! And I would take the purpley-pink colour and find a nice silk dupion, or maybe a shot silk with blue and one of the other shades in it. Whatever you decide you know you will be searching for it for quite some time! Good luck.

  6. Dlwk

    How utterly lovely! Await the result with much anticipation (no pressure!) Absolutely make the coat, you will regret it at a later date if you don’t! I too think brown would be a great colour choice, making sure it is the right brown for you. I look good in reddish browns, terrible in yellow browns. My mind is whirling around those fabulous women in the 1950’s/ 60’s Ingrid Bergman in An Affair to remember and the woman who played Cary Grant’s mother in north by North west. You continue to inspire!

    • Thank you so much for your wonderful input. Yes, you are correct – I would regret it if I don’t make a coat! There is nothing quite like the fashions from the mid-’50s through the mid-’60s – and the elegant women who wore them. Sigh… Thanks so very much for your comment.

  7. jay

    Lovely fabric find, worth the searching.

  8. Absolutely make the coat!!

  9. I’ve had good luck with Emma One Sock as well, and Linda is very helpful with advice when you need it. Looks like it’s going to be a beautiful “make”!

  10. It will be beautiful, Karen! What gorgeous vintage patterns you have! I agree with the above comments that the coat would be lovely if you would wear it .

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