The “Mid-Century Bird” Skirt
Fabric: Light red denim from a friend, a scrap of vintage fabric from 1954
Year: Fabric remnants from 1954 make it c.1954
Notions: embroidery floss
Time to complete: ~5 hours
First worn: April 2012
Wear again? Yes.
Total Cost: Pretty much $0
Because I buy so much of my fabric at estate sales and flea markets, it’s pretty impossible to pin down with certainty the origin of the pieces. Usually an educated guess (selvage width, printing methods, print design) and sourcebooks will only get me so far in identifying era. That’s why I absolutely LOVE finding fabric with copyrights on their selvage! Since this was my second piece of fabric from the Associated American Artists, I’m just going to go ahead and call me a collector.
My first piece, also from 1954, was another estate sale find. I wrote about the origin then, but here it is again:
During the late 1940s the design division of Associated American Artists embarked on a mission to disseminate the work of its members to the mass market via ceramics, graphics, textiles, and wallpapers. This resulted in the Signature Fabrics collections, which included printed apparel fabrics marketed by M. Lowenstein & Sons, Inc. from 1952, and three collections of furnishing fabrics produced by Riversale Fabrics in 1952-3. The scheme was stylistically eclectic because of the sheer colume of contributors…
among whom were Laura Jean Allen…
She’s the artist of the print (Bees in a Bonnet) I’ve used for my circle skirt. I purchased this remnant (less than 3/4 a yard and cut in bits) at round two of the Novato Estate Sale (the sale that requires a smiling nod whenever it is mentioned). My original plan was to make a blouse to go with the skirt and use a couple of the scraps for the applique. But, since I could barely eek out enough fabric for a top, I decided to just go all out and use the pieces for appliques around the entirety of the skirt.
Here’s a detail of two of the appliques. I used double-sided fusible interfacing to attach them to the skirt and to connect them all, I embroidered a chain stitch.
As you can see from the picture below, I decided to take the easy way out and simply make an open placket instead of inserting a zipper. Before I wear this skirt again, I’ll actually take the time to add fasteners so that it doesn’t stay open. However, when I’m not spinning, it’s not obvious at all.
Oh and I didn’t make my top. It’s a vintage corset cover that I bought for the Titanic dress but ended up not wearing.
As you can see from this photo (taken by Penelope), the Christina Hendrickfacation of my hair continues. My hairdresser is my voice of reason and she refuses to do it all at once. So every five weeks or so, we go a bit lighter. My hair is almost entirely grey so as it grows out, the red will take more and more. This last round really made the difference.