I recently realised I didn’t have any purple in my wardrobe. I had been looking for a dress, but when a colour is not a seasonal fashion favourite you will not find it in the shops. This is a great reason for making your own clothes. If this year’s “Radiant Orchid” or “Sahara Sand”, or whatever, is not your colour you will struggle to find what you want. Having said that the fabric shops don’t always have the right colour either. I suppose this makes the case for buying large quantities of fabric in the colours you like, when you see them. Ahem.
Pattern and Alterations
I bought a Vogue Paris Original by Jacques Griffe pattern that is as old as I am. Those were the days when patterns just had dots and dashes on them so they can be a bit more challenging. The One-piece dress is described on the (very tatty) envelope thus: “Fitted dress with flared skirt has diamond insets at sides. Simulated front buttoned closing and welt pockets.”
Griffe was a great French designer who trained as a tailor before going to work for Vionnet, where he became a master of draping. He opened his own Paris house after the Second World War. According to fashionencyclopedia.com:
“he was the first to introduce the boxy jacket, tunic, and cone-shaped coat of the 1950s. Aesthetically pleasing lines were imposed by his cut-into darts, and seams used for fitting between the waist and shoulders. Decorative curved welt seams ending in an arrow were often used. His day and afternoon dresses were softer than his suits. Sleeves were often kimono cut; bodices often blouson. Asymmetrical clothing ended in drapes, scarves, or bows at neck or hips.”
My dress is beautifully fitted into the waist. As my photographs (below) are not very clear here is the technical drawing of the dress.
I added around an inch to the length of the body but otherwise the fit was pretty good. I made it significantly shorter, and left the sleeves the regulation length, which is longer on me than in the picture.
Fabric and making up
The insertion of the diamonds was challenging but otherwise it was not hard to make this dress. I bought the purple crepe fabric from Simply Fabrics. I love the deep royal purple colour on me. I also got the lining fabric there too. This was a gorgeous piece of deep purple stretch silk lining, really suitable for evening wear. Whereas the dress fabric was £6 a metre the lining was £8. Here worn in my Mother’s garden, by a beautiful purple plant, and with my Grandmother’s brooch on.