Some dresses – and patterns – just keep giving and giving. As the date approached for a “black tie/ masquerade” ball which my husband and I planned to attend, I decided I had better start to think about what I was going to wear. I reluctantly admitted that the fancy dress I made this past Summer was really too summery to wear to a mid-October event, so I went into my cedar closet in search of another party dress. Still looking like the day I made it 22 years ago was this dress, made from a Butterick pattern:
Although I have actually made just one dress from this pattern, I have used the bow pattern (or some “sized-up” or “sized-down” variation of it) again and again. My most recent use of it was for the waist bow on my Summer dress:
With a black velvet bodice, the dress from my cedar closet is definitely more suitable for cooler weather, and I didn’t think it looked too dated to wear.
I like the dropped front waistline – a detail not often seen in current patterns – at least to my knowledge.
And, as luck would have it, several years ago I made a mask to wear to some other event, the purpose of which now is lost to the ages! Fortunately I had used some left over fabric from my “cedar closet” dress – so it matched perfectly.
I love a mask on a stick – it doesn’t muss one’s hair! I added that vintage flower to give it extra allure. The stick is just that – a skinny dowel which I covered with ribbon.
When I made the dress back in the 1990s, I found this evening bag to use with it, so, of course, I wanted to use it again. How times do change! I tried every which way to fit my smartphone in it, and no amount of “schmushing” or angling allowed me to do so. Fortunately, my husband’s tux has lots of pockets, so he toted my phone for me!
The final touch to my outfit was long black velvet gloves. I adore long gloves; they are elegant, fetching and … warm! I did not see another pair of formal gloves the entire evening, which to me is a little sad. Accessories like that add so much to our attire and to our “presentation” and unfortunately are one of those fashion niceties being lost in an increasingly casual world.
Some of the people in attendance at the Ball were in costume, but I loved the fact that I could get one more wearing out of a formal dress made so long ago. Back into the cedar closet it has gone – sharing space with other out-of-season or “too sentimental-to-give-away” pieces. It is anybody’s guess whether I will ever have another opportunity to wear it. But those gloves? I am keeping those handy!
26 responses to “Shopping in My (Cedar) Closet – Again!”
You are stunning! Love the dress, the color, the mask, the bag — everything!
Thanks, Cissie! It was a fun night!
You were surely the “Belle of the Ball”! Everything about you was beautiful!
Thank you, Mary. There were some other “belles” there, too, including a lovely young woman dressed in “Jane Austin” attire! But thank you for your compliment!
Oh, what fun! When an outfit suits you so perfectly it’s timelessly elegant. I especially agree with what you said about the gloves. I’ll bet you’d enjoy reading or re-reading the 1964 book Elegance. The author shares your point of view about many things and concurs about the gloves and indeed your ball dress design and accessories. I wanted to mention kid gloves with one of your day outfits but didn’t know until this post that you appreciate their finishing touch.
I actually have that book “Elegance” which I enjoy reading from time to time. I have a lot of gloves, many of them handed down from family members no longer with us. I think the widespread wearing of gloves with those outfits from the ’50s and ’60s is one of the reason why I love that period of fashion so much.
So pretty! I love the dress and your accessories. I do have an equivalent of your cedar closet, but oh, that waistline…Mine certainly isn’t where it was 22 years ago!
Thank you, Marianne! I can tell you honestly that it that dress were a form-fitting one, I would not have been able to wear it! A full skirt is very forgiving!
How absolutely wonderful that this lovely dress and hanbag got another outing. I love the gloves too. Drama and class! I am gobsmacked ( and a little jealous 🙂 ) that you are the same size as you were 22 years ago.
Thanks, SewingElle! As far as that size – same size, but differently distributed… Somehow it worked okay!
Nothing says sophistication like a beautiful pair of gloves – especially long black velvet ones. I still have a few pairs gloves, including a white pair with a delicate cutout pattern at the wrist, that I wore as a young girl. I wore them to church or when traveling by airplane or ocean liner. I keep them in my lingerie drawer as a gentle reminder of times past.
As for your ensemble, you looked very sophisticated and lovely.
Thank you, Mary. You are so right – gloves are just downright sophisticated! Too bad they aren’t considered necessary for being properly attired anymore. But, of course, we can still wear them and enjoy them!
I’m intrigued by the fineness of your work. I don’t really have an eye for fashion but the interior construction of your projects is endlessly fascinating. I’m a beginner and interested in classic tailoring technique. Can you recommend a good, comprehensive, book that will teach best practices? With cooking, I learned classic French methodology for my foundational skills. Are there similar books for sewing? Thanks for this blog.
Thank you for your kind words, John. The best book I know of for classic tailoring technique is Vintage Couture Tailoring by Thomas von Nordheim. I believe it is available on Amazon. (I refer to my copy of it frequently.) However, I will say that I think there is no substitute for taking classes with a teacher who sews with true couture techniques. There are some Craftsy classes worth looking at, and of course, if you have the opportunity to study and sew with someone like Susan Khalje or Kenneth King, you should definitely do so. Best of luck to you – hope to hear from you again!
So many amazing, lovely and remarkable pieces to come together for your charming outfit! And……. to have a dress from 22 years before fit
so beautifully! Love the gloves! I had a pair of long white kid ones that
made me feel so sophisticated.
Thank you, Mary Lynn! Long white kid gloves sound luscious! I have a pair that I haven’t worn for ages, but now I am on a roll with gloves. I’ve decided they – and others – are coming out of the moth balls!
So beautiful! And you put it all together so well!
Thanks, Linda! it’s lovely to have all the components of an ensemble right at hand!
What a fabulous look! The gloves and mask make it. How fortunate you had the dress saved. We sewers tend to keep our clothing and classics never go out of style. I also have several from 20+ years that I still wear.
So glad to hear I am not the only one wearing clothes from the 1990s! I actually wish I had saved more than I have, but I am definitely glad I saved this dress.
Imagine wearing a dress made so long ago and it still looks so current and grand with no alterations! Beautiful. And I love those long gloves!
Thank you, Jen! It was a delight not having to make any alterations – I think I’d rather sew from scratch than make alterations. I considered myself lucky this time!
Oh how wonderful to still have a dress you made so long ago! It fits you beautifully and you look gorgeous, of course. I love that.
Thank you! I am kind of surprised it still fits so well, but I am not complaining!
Absolutely stunning! The gloves are just the touch too. I remember when wearing gloves was the norm…gorgeous ones like you have here, and the short everyday ones ladies ( and little girls) wore with any and all outfits.
Yes, I remember wearing white gloves to “town” (and of course, to church) when I was a little girl. We certainly are missing some of the “fashion niceties of life” now, aren’t we?