Sears Sucker: Dress Origins

Anyone who sews reproduction vintage knows that it's usually the fabric, not the pattern that can make a dress truly look like it stepped out of history. There aren't *that* many silhouettes. But fabric? That's where it gets really interesting. I'm constantly looking through the Sears Catalog Archive on Ancestry.com for inspiration and an education on dating fabric. 

Purple-dress

I was absolutely giddy with excitement when I saw this page from the Spring catalog from 1959. Yes, that purple dress is absolutely gorgeous, but there was something more exciting: I actually own that exact dress! The dress was a birthday present from my dear friend, Libett, who found the dress at the Alameda Antique Fair. It hasn't fit until very recently so I still haven't worn it in public.

Purple-dress-mine

So now I know the exact origin of my embroidered purple dress. Thank you Sears Catalog Archive!

Have you ever found a dress/garment you owned in an old catalog or advertisement?

Author

Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.

12 Comments

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  1. Wow! How amazing is that! That dress is beautiful and I was thinking before I scrolled down how I’d love to own a dress like that, how jealous am I to find you own the actual one! ;)

  2. SO COOL!
    I haven’t personally, but my husband has a 1910s suit from a catalog (forget which one) and the seller sent a copy of the original catalog page with the suit. Neat!

  3. That is soo amazing! It’s a gorgeous dress also. Can’t wait to see it on you.

  4. What a beautiful gift. It is rare to understand the provenance of a vintage garment. You are very lucky.

  5. Your dress is stunning!

  6. Wow! that’s incredible luck. You’ll have to style it up with the pearls and gloves!

  7. Absolutely stunning!! I love it!

  8. AHHHHH what a beautiful dress! All sorts of envy here.

  9. That is gorgeous! Yes, I have a black wool, Kashmoor 1950s dress that I spotted in an ad in one of my 1959 Vogue magazines :)

  10. Oh beautiful dress!!! What a nice gift. While surfing one night I found a designer who’s name I can’t remember now but the dresses she made in the 60′s were beautiful. One of her dresses was very distinct. It had a top similar to the beautiful purple flower one you have posted here but it had a straight skirt. The fabric was of large flowers. My Mom owned one of those dresses. I have a picture of her in it. I think it was probably a knock off but I would love to have that dress. She and all her clothes have been gone for years so there is no chance of going through the back of her closet and digging it out.

  11. Oh WOW!!!! that is AMAZING!

  12. That is amazing! It’s beautiful and in such good shape too. How fun.