I’m working on the t-shirt pattern these days; while I work I keep thinking about McCall’s 4425. My mind goes back to it like a dog worrying a bone- it’s such an unlikely-to-flatter style and so expensive! I thought I’d share a few designs that I’d personally be willing to shell out the big bucks/drape and draft my heart out for:
This is a style for all ages, and any time. At first glance it looks like an over-rouched 30’s gown, but imagine it cut from light, slippery, luscious silk charmeuse. The skirt would swirl with a life of its own as you walk, settling into goddess-like folds when you stand still. I love watching “A Good Woman,” based on Lady Windemere’s Fan because it’s crammed full of dresses like this. The costumer did her homework and I appreciate how beautifully these gowns move. I had no inkling about the plot of the movie the first few viewings, I was so distracted by the gowns- not to mention how obscene the cuts look without any underpinnings. I never realized.
For the less daring woman, perhaps a little older and wiser, or who prefers to cover up- check out the jacket. The drawing exaggerates the gathering and shape, imagine it made in a diaphanous cobwebby knit, or a whisper-light lace, lamé or embroidered chiffon. Yes, it would be irritating to make, but combined with the heavenly skirt it would flatter a very wide range of body shapes, ages, and levels of modesty without sacrificing style.
This is a deceptively simple dress from the late 40’s. If you click the image, you will find it for sale. This is another style that would showcase a simple, high-quality fabric to its best advantage, much like the 30’s dress. Bonus- it would work well as an afternoon dress in cotton. The sleeves help camoflauge a potential problem area, and the interesting tuck at the hipline both gently disguises a “tummy” or “muffin fluff” and divides the hip just above the fullest part. The fullest part of the hip is hidden under the swirly skirt. The enormous skirt also helps minimize the waist- an optical illusion. What do we think of that neckline for evening? I’m seriously considering making this soon, first in afternoon style.
Ok- I know this is a little “different,” but check out the design. Imagine this dress made in a crisp dupion silk in a clear, flattering color- maybe a “mother of the bride” dress, an alternative to the eminently tasteful silk suits so often worn on those occasions. For winter, a subtle and sumptuous tone on tone brocade. The front rouching would serve the same purpose as the tuck in the 40’s dress. The back hem would only flare out like that when you turn. The models look girdled, but I think the gentle drama of this dress would suit an ungirdled and post-menopausal figure. I imagine this is a style intended for someone born around the turn of the century, living in the 50’s. I think it is perfectly tasteful and wearable today if done properly. I could also see this made in a silk jersey for the more daring among us.
Weird. Yet the longer I stare at it, the more I like this dress. Again, I believe the drawings exaggerate the shape of the dress in order to give you an idea of how it is cut. If you used a very stiff organza or tulle, this would have such a shape. In a softer fabric, a very thin and light fabric, I think this would be charming. Again, I think this could flatter a variety of body shapes and ages. Worn with an ultra-fitted base dress and belted like the black version, it could be sexy but not salacious. If the fabric itself were exquisite and drapey, it would help to gloss over many figure irregularities while showcasing a beautiful textile (not to mention showing off some serious sewing skills!). Sure, it would look a little “different” but I don’t think it would be unflattering. A daring soul could make a nude sheath and black flocked tulle overdress. You’d look naked inside a black spotted cloud! What fun!
What do you look for in a special occasion frock? Design? Fabrics? Comfort? I think any of these styles would be quite comfortable to wear, and rightly so. Would you imagine wearing any of these, or have you made something like them? When you look at these designs, what fabrics spring to mind?
Tomorrow- I bring you a pattern. (!!!!!)