Can Vintage be Modernized with Vibrant Colors?

Do you ever change your mind, during mid-construction? I suddenly felt fearful about my original vision, because it seemed that I was creating a dress that didn't suit my personality very well.


I fell in love with a colorful Italian watercolor organza from MoodFabrics, but it’s very difficult to match with other colors, since it’s not quite a pink and it’s not quite a purple. It’s a bit of both. So I tried draping other options for the skirt portion against the bodice I had created. Now, I am left trying to decide whether this Patou ensemble should have a Jackie-O vibe, or a Sarah Jessica Parker vibe.


Maybe that's the dilemma I run into often when sewing up vintage designs. The question that seems to arise is, do I try to stay relevant for today by re-imagining the original design using modern fabrics and materials, or do I try to stay true, to the period of its creation? After all, I am a product of today's society, and my taste and vision are influenced by modernity. I also don't have the goal to walk around wearing a 1950's costume, styling myself with 1950's hair. I like the freedom to mix and match styles. Most of all, I like the freedom to be myself.



Below was the original vision. After draping the materials together, I wasn't moved. Maybe the green is just too bold.


It is often difficult to design without touching, seeing, or handling the different fabrics that are meant to be paired together. Many times I find myself swatching, designing in my head, and then waiting for the fabric to arrive on the doorstep. Purchasing fabrics online is the reality of our time.


Even though I swatched everything, maybe it was the green cummerbund that threw the design off. So I replaced it with other color options:


In the end, I decided to tone down the SJP-Carrie-Bradshaw look, and chose a timeless, solid fabric. The solid will show the draping details in the back. Also, since I am not really a loud person, I feel more comfortable with the lavender skirt. This shows how we must design and create for the person who will wear our ensembles. Designing and sewing requires an understanding of the wearer's personality, and in this case, me. Who would have thought sewing required a psychological analysis of oneself? Anyway, I will use the watercolor fabric with a different dress.

Maybe this unusual mix of a solid (which was identified by MoodFabrics as a "Gray-Lilac-Purple-Pink") will create just enough interest in the garment without conflicting with the busy lace top.


I've had this fabric in my closet for years for another dress, but I feel better about exchanging it for this Patou skirt. This is a beautiful Duchess but...it’s polyester! Polyester takes some care to iron because it can’t withstand high heat.


As I was ironing, the slightly melty, plastic-y, distinctive polyester scent filled the room. Am I the only one who can smell this? I always use a pressing cloth when ironing polyester because of a past mistake when I found melted fabric on the bottom of my iron.



Now comes the intensive labor of thread tracing, aligning, then hand-basting two layers together. The silk organza underlining will help prevent wrinkles and add more structure to the duchess. I will also mount all my stitches to the organza so the stitches remain hidden from the outer fashion fabric.



The next blog post will show how I hand-stiched the horsehair braid onto the organza! I can't wait to share the next step with you.




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