Summer is quickly slipping away, but before it does, I will share one quintessentially summer dress which I made back in July. It ticks off a number of features which make it “Summer Seasonal”: it is sleeveless, it is a bright color, and it is linen.
I found this vintage piece of Moygashel linen a few years ago on eBay. Always a pushover for vintage Moygashel, I purchased it, not quite knowing what shade of green it would be. I was expecting a lime green, but when it arrived it was “lime green meets mint,” a color reminiscent of the early 1960s. Actually, not just reminiscent – an actual survivor from that period of time. The width of the fabric was only 35” which was a dead giveaway that this fabric is from the early part of that decade. Shortly thereafter, Moygashel began to be woven in 45” widths. Fortunately I had three yards, which compensated for the dearth of width.
To keep with the early ‘60’s vibe, I decided to line it in pink. Although I usually line linen with a cotton batiste or cotton/linen lightweight blend, I decided to treat this dress a little bit differently. I do not often use Bemberg for lining, usually preferring silk, but this lovely, time-tested 100% rayon lining just seemed to be the right choice. (Why? I knew the seam allowances of the bright green linen would not show through the tightly woven Bemberg lining, AND it would be a comfortable, lightweight and slinky fabric with which to line a summer dress.) I ordered what I thought would be a medium pink, but when it arrived, it was more of a very deep rose. What to do? I hemmed and hawed, I thought about ordering a different hue of pink, I even thought about abandoning the pink idea and just using a white crepe de chine I had on hand. Why I was agonizing so much over the color of the lining had to do with my thought if the dress turned out well, I would enter it in the County Fair. I knew not everyone would “understand” such a deeply contrasted lining. But not wanting to waste money and fabric – and time! – I finally decided just to go with the dark pink, shown a few pictures below.
I used this sheath dress pattern again, as I am so fond of the double shaping darts in the bodice front and the real kick-pleat.
I underlined the dress in silk organza so that I could eliminate facings and have an invisible application of the lining. (The silk organza underlining gives one a base upon which to tack and secure stitches which do not show on the fashion fabric.)
I surprisingly found a zipper which was almost a perfect match to the green linen, and I did a hand-picked lapped application.
Once I had the lining fell-stitched in place around the neckline and the armholes, I under-stitched those areas in waxed and ironed white thread. (I used white to quiet down the deep pink!) Using this technique keeps the lining in place. The under-stitching is attached to the silk organza underlining only, not the fashion fabric, as explained above.
To complete the early 1960s’ essence of this dress, I can pair it with a vintage ‘60s’ Guillemin scarf, also found on eBay. The pink in the scarf doesn’t match the pink lining, but since the lining does not show, it only matters to me (and now all of you also know this little fact!)
So how did I do with this dress as an entry in the County Fair? It was awarded a Red Ribbon in the Adult Division, which was lovely. The day was “saved” however, when dresses I made for my granddaughters each won Blue Ribbons (and one of them won Best of Division).
Good Summer memories, all of them.
Do You Do Pink?
Apparently, pink is a controversial color. Or maybe “was a controversial color” is a better statement. A recent article by Nancy MacDonnell in the Off Duty section of The Wall Street Journal (“Making Peace with Pink” February 11-12, 2017) makes a case for the appropriateness – and timeliness – of pink even for those who think they don’t like it. While I am one who thinks pink is always in fashion, it turns out that this Spring, it really is in fashion! According to Ms. MacDonnell, “On this season’s runways, pink predominated.” The different fashion houses showed varying interpretations of pink: Michael Kors was “brisk, All-American, [and] cheery.” J. Crew was “equally upbeat,” while Valentino showed pink that was “lush and romantic, with intricate appliqués and historical references…” The list goes on and on. The unifying thread (pardon the pun), as claimed by the designers, was the lack of traditional “sweetness” associated with pink, with emphasis on the feminine power inherent in the color.
Looming large on page 58 from the November 2016 WSJ Magazine is a Valentino coat, quite traditional in design, but made very special by its stunning appliquéd pink wool.
According to Dr. Valerie Steele, the Museum Director at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, who was quoted frequently in Ms. MacDonnell’s article, the idea of pink as a feminine color did not take hold until the 1950s. Back in 1954 when Christian Dior wrote The Little Dictionary of Fashion, his entry on “pink” stated: “The sweetest of all the colors. Every woman should have something pink in her wardrobe. It is the color of happiness and of femininity.” He even used pink throughout his book for illustrations, chapter headings and the title page. He recommended pink “for blouses and scarves; … for a young girl’s frock; it can be charming for suits and coats; and it is wonderful for evening frocks.” Who can argue with that, be it 1954 or 2017?
The title page of Dior’s smart little dictionary. (Harry N. Abrams, Inc., NY, NY, copyright 2007)
This page from the June/July 2013 issue of Town and Country Magazine gives an interesting timeline of the color pink, “how the color of little girls and baby dolls came of age”:
Click on the image to read it.
I particularly like this statement from Laura Vinroot Poole, the founder of boutique Capitol in Charlotte, N. C., quoted in The Wall Street Journal article: “To wear pink, you have to be an interesting and smart person… You have to have things to say. In pink, you can’t hide.” Nor would you want to.
Personally, pink is my favorite color. I am always drawn to it, regardless of its hue. And its hue covers a huge range from palest pink to deepest fuchsia, from bubblegum pink to raspberry red. In thinking about pink for this post, I gathered this stack of pink fabrics from my collection. Just looking at it makes me happy!
From top to bottom:
1) vintage Moygashel linen, purchased on eBay
2) silk charmeuse, purchased from Britex Fabrics
3) vintage Moygashel linen, purchased by me in the 1970s
4) linen, possibly Moygashel, purchased on etsy
5) silk jacquard purchased from Britex Fabrics
6) silk charmeuse, purchased from Mendel Goldberg Fabrics
7 & 8) coordinating silks, purchased from Mendel Goldberg Fabrics
The only controversy I have with pink is deciding which hue of it I like best.
Filed under Fashion commentary, Moygashel linen, silk, Uncategorized, Vintage fabric
Tagged as Britex Fabrics, Mendel Goldberg Fabrics, Moygashel linen, silk, vintage fashion, Wall Street Journal Fashion coverage