Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Dress that Requires (Bigger) Better Hair (Simplicity 4491, 1960s)

I have a confession: One of my long-standing secret fantasies is to transport back to the 1960s and be a doo-wop girl. I can't sing to save my life, but I deeply believe that I can rock a 60s-scoopneck dress and dance in unison. If you asked me what glamour was, that's it.

I grew up around the sounds of Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding. Motown and soul. Music that makes you want to dance and cry and fall in love. An over-thinker, this music bypasses all my logic and makes me swoon. And perhaps I watched Dirty Dancing too many times.

So when I dream of the 60s, it's not Mad Men I think of. It's girl groups, that music-drama-glamour-love of a country in the midst of change.  

The Shirelles

The Crystals

The Ronettes

Look at those dresses! Look at that hair!

No wonder I picked up this great pattern from the 1960s, which I think I aimed—and failed—to stitch during last year's Summer Essentials Sew-Along. Even as I grapple with whether a natural waist seam is a good fit for my body, I couldn't help but stitch this up just once. And besides, I needed something quick-and-easy between my last Rooibos and my Summer Spark garment.

I cut up this thrifted rayon dress, likely early 90s. Why should Jessica, Roo and Liza Jane have all the rayon fun? :) They've made/refashioned rayon beauties of late.

I absolutely love rayon, love the way it feels. The pattern was fairly easy to whip up, though I stumbled a few times. Made the usual small bust and sway back adjustments.

Posed. Not so bad, eh? I think the gathered natural waist seam almost works because the front is flat with pleats that become gathers towards the hips. Also the wide scoop balances out the hips, making my waist look smaller. And the rayon makes an otherwise voluminous dress feel really drapey. Something's going on at the "straps," likely rayon slidey-ness.

Here's some pics taken by a friend at a wonderful outdoor picnic. I'm wearing my bike shoes. And I feel a little frumpy.

Showing off the skirt.

This was an experiment and time will tell if I pull it out of the closet more often than not. But when I first saw these pics, I thought, this dress could almost be fabulous with fabulous hair! Don't you think? A little height, a little romance, a little hairspray? Sigh.

I'm trying to convince myself that I can wear vintage styles without going all-out vintage—I'm too lazy for that sort of primping, though I admire it in other women. What do you think? Do you rock vintage threads without the get-up?

Now back to the Summer Spark muslin!

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