Friday, August 22, 2014

The Story of a Vintage Dress

Every vintage garment tells a story. Each piece is a tangible link to another person, connecting us to them across time. We become part of their story and they become part of ours.

There was a woman who wore this dress. Did she make it herself? Why did she add it to her wardrobe? Did she have a special event in mind or was she just treating herself to a new frock? What did she do with her life? Was she a high school senior trying to impress a boy or a mom of two trying to keep up with a hectic schedule?

 She was a neat and tidy seamstress. Each seam is finished cleanly and pressed.

But she also added a line of ruffles around the neckline so I think it's safe to say that she wasn't afraid of a bit of whimsy.

She was a confident woman who wasn't afraid to pair patterned buttons with a loudly patterned dress. I'm afraid I would have chosen a rather plain black button for this project!

But those buttons are just decorative and the dress actually closes with snaps! I wonder why she chose this method. Was it suggested by the pattern? Did she hate making button holes? Perhaps her machine didn't have a button hole function.

She made clever use of the selvages of the fabric on the facing of the bodice and on the skirt side seams. The woven selvage won't fray and doesn't need any special finishing techniques.

From the size of this dress, I can say she was rather curvy, long waisted and likely tall. She also must have loved the fashionable bullet bra as the darts go quite high on the bodice!

 When I wear this dress, I'll think about this seamstress. Where she wore the dress. What things it has seen. And I'll add a few more chapters on to the story of this dress' life.


  1. Beautiful dress! I imagine her wearing that dress, imagine if you could find her? Well, not her, but somebody from her family

  2. I love this post. This is also one of the big things I love about vintage…wondering the history and finding the story behind the garment. This is a wonderful post filled with a lot of details about who this lady might be, even with no words or information from the original owner. I think also making your own garments really adds another level where we tend to dissect the interior of garments searching for clues and looking for couture details:)

  3. This is such a heartwarmingly sweet, evocative post. I love thinking about the lives of vintage items before they reach me and in carefully studying the details of yesteryear pieces when they do come into my home (and closet), too. Thank you for so beautifully reminding us to always stop and appreciate the history and wonder woven into our vintage pieces.

    ♥ Jessica

  4. Beautiful dress, and beautifully evocative post... Just a quick thought I had though ~ snaps instead of buttons makes for easier nursing access. Just sayin' as a mother of two. ; ) ♡

    bonita of Lavender & Twill

  5. Thank you for this post. You have captured in words so beautifully why I love to wear vintage. "The world is full of stories, and the stories are all one." (Mitch Albom)