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.
I’m kind of embarrassed that I comment all the time, but wow! You look stunning in this! The brooch and the backdrop just make the look even more special. You keep on posting things that make me want to sew more things… I definitely need to get off the computer.
Steph’s comment made me laugh, I could’ve written it.
It’s so lovely to see your creations and the info on style adds depth and interest for your readers. Your understanding of what suits you in terms of style and colour resonates with me because I love colour and think that it influences mood and that subliminally we associate colour with youth (every little helps!)
I like style too and although my aesthetic is different to yours I am on the same page re your posts on what suits and why.
I have a lot of thoughts about women’s hair and ageing and will read those posts with particular interest.
I agree with Stephanie, I’m feeling inspired! You look amazing in the dress. I have never used my sewing machine for anything other than curtains & duvets, but I actually love sewing and can’t wait to buy a pattern to begin my first dress project!
I think that this is a real beauty of a dress and the colour is very flattering. It looks great on you, where do you find your vintage patterns? Even though it is a 1950’s pattern it blends in with today’s fashions. I was also surprised to see how few pattern pieces there are (9). What made you decide to line the dress?
Thank you everyone for your kind comments. I got the pattern on eBay. Last night a Griffe went for around £8. As he is now not well known this is the sort of price you will pay for something quite wonderful (ie less than half the price of a modern pattern, and about the same as an “Indie” download! And I lined it because a) I like the feel of a lined garment and b) I prefer the finish to facings. Do you avoid linings? I may do a post on them.
Gorgeous dress, very informative post and a great blog! Nice to “meet” you 🙂
Such a smart dress, it looks like perfection, and it really is – made for you!
I would love some insight on lining!
A beautiful, understated dress in a gorgeous colour. What a great pattern find!
Thank you for the inspiration. As I work on a “perfect” wardrobe, I realize I’d like to have a dress to wear to almost any party and a dress to wear to a funeral. When you need to go to a funeral, it’s not the time to worry about your clothes situation.
Brenda – I find funerals like any occasion – something I need to think about. For my ex-husband’s funeral I wore an all in one navy jump-suit, brown brogues and a brown jacket. Sober but stylish, which I felt was the right way to honour him. My daughter wanted to make her a navy dress (saying trousers were not appropriate). Then, on the day, she wore navy work pants, a cream blouse and a nice navy cardigan. It’s a personal thing but I would dress for the person rather than have a generic “funeral” outfit.