Monday, April 19, 2010

First early 60s Sheath Dress


Recently I rediscovered the vintage patterns I had been collecting since I was 17. It used to be an impressive collection but after many moves the pieces dwindled to 10 or so patterns. I had never really attempted to complete any of the projects until I pulled out my vintage 401A sewing machine.

I hadn't realized that my machine was so old. My mother had given it to me so I assumed it was from the 70s. I finally researched the machine and found that they were mostly manufactured in the late 1950s! It was my grandmother's machine. I have never met her as she passed away when my mother was in her early 20s.

I love this machine! It is 22 lbs but so sturdy, although I admit I need to take it in to get some of the dials unstuck, other than that it is perfect.
I set to work on my first vintage dress. I decided to do a wiggle dress from the early 60s. I set to work by creating my first muslin mock up. What a brilliant revelation! It makes so much sense to do this rather than ruin such lovely fabric.

I created this dress with burlesque in mind so I added a longer zipper that unzips from the bottom and has snaps on the shoulder for easy removal. I also created a matching tilt hat which I learned how to make in a millinery class from Vienna La Rouge, a burlesque performer in San Francisco.

Here is a close up of my tilt hat with added fabric roses, veiling, and feathers. It was a lot of fun to make and at this moment is one of my favorite hats.

To make the dress I used a patterned satin fabric that is sheer beige with velvet roses. I lined the dress with a lovely shade of red and added red bias tape to the edges of the sleeves and neckline. I also added decorative tassel so that it is easier to zip off during my act.

These pictures were take by POC Photo and are the finished product!



10 comments:

Cecili said...

I love your dress, it's very elegant yet sassy^^

Holly Dai said...

Thank you so much! That is my first vintage dress and I am so inspired by looking at other people's blogs including yours.

Camelia Crinoline said...

It's gorgeous and I love the matching hat.

saintpudalia said...

Hey, that's MY machine! My mother bought it around 1957 or so and I learned to sew on it. I believe it's the first machine to be made in America entirely from American parts. That thing is a real workhorse and I have NEVER had to have it fixed -- just tuned up. Do you have the EXCELLENT owner's manual? I love how you incorporated the red in that fabulous dress.

Original Mischief said...

Love the dress & hat. We also have almost the same machine - not quite. I have the Singer 500! With all the cams, attachments, etc. I love it. I just feel it's easier to sew with than a new fangled thing. Also have an overlocker but what they hey!

Sassy Lassies Vintage Life said...

Great job on both the dress and hat. What I love about sewing is the ability to change things up like you have. Makes everything we do "one of a kind"...just like us. (Smiles)

robin said...

Really nice job!

Holly Dai said...

Yes I have the manual, with an extra kit that has tons of feet, and disks for special cams. Haven't gotten used to the overlocker yet. Can't quite get the tension right without fuglying it up.

Anonymous said...

This is so incredible ! It makes me so happy to see you creating living art. You are so beautiful,talented,creative and open hearted. I am delighted to know you, your light shine so bright ! Thank you for sharing ! Love, pammie

MarieBayArea said...

beautiful hat

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