The “Not a Bridesmaid” Dress
Fabric: Nubby-textured plaid cotton, thrifted – $1;
Patterns: Butterick 9651, $2 (I think)
Year: c. 1960
Notions: vintage zipper
Time to complete: 3 1/2 hours
First worn: April 2011
Wear again? Yes.
Total Cost: ~$3 for dress. Hat – $21
Of all the vintage things in my life, hats hold a complicated place in my heart: they both make an outfit and make me seem a bit odd at the same time. But I love hats, so much so that I have begun collecting them in earnest during the last couple months; I'm especially fond of 1940s tilt hats. Even with this passion for them, I'm often quite reluctant to wear them out in public. I should tell myself that life is too short to care what people think. I should, really. But then again, I don't neccessarily want to be known as that "hat person."
I'm getting over that.
I was quite excited about this challenge because it meant searching for a new spring hat. Because this was an Easter challenge, I knew that my dress would be purple (that's the Catholic liturgical color guide embedded in my brain) and would involve flowers of some kind. With that in mind, this hat jumped out at me at the Alameda Antique Fashion Fair. The condition was marvelous — including the netting — and the price was a steal at $21.
Here's a view from the side:
I had originally planned on using the sheer lavender fabric I bought from Alameda last month but I just wasn't into lining a dress this week. The fabric gods once again were smiling down on me when I thrifted about 4 yards of this nubby purple/pink plaid for about $1! From my stash, I picked Butterick 9651 because it was suitable for plaids and fairly simple. After all, with a hat like that, the dress doesn't need to fight for attention.
This was the first time I created a dress with a circle skirt. Unfortunately, I didn't have the fabric yardage needed for those huge pattern pieces. Thankfully, it was easy enough to adjust the skirt to make it fit within the fabric I did have. In all, I probably shortened the skirt by 4 inches! I'm wearing a crinoline in these photos so you could imagine just how long this dress would be at it's original hem length.
I forgot to pack my belt (we stayed the night in Carmel) so the dress is lacking that important little element. It's okay, though! I'll just do this jaunty little pose to overcompensate for that fact!
I wore this dress out for the photos and to dinner. Of course people looked me up and down as we strolled down the street. I remarked to my husband that I look like I'm going to a wedding. As a bridesmaid. In 1962. That's what a veil netting will do to you! And of course I was a bit insecure. But if wearing pretty hats is weird and wrong, I just don't want to be right.