Saturday, April 25, 2015

Inside a Vintage Dress

I picked up this dress at a junk sale antique festival with no information on its origin or later life.  I think it's from the 1920's, but I'm not sure.  It has the hallmarks of 1920's dress design-- dropped waist, no shaping through the bust.  On the other hand, I have no way to tell the difference between a dress that was actually made in the 1920's, or one from a later date that imitates 1920's style.

It's too small for me to wear, particularly in the hips, so all of my photos are taken of the dress flat.
The upper part of the bodice is translucent fabric with embroidery; the lower part of the bodice has rows of tucks.  There's a band at the waist, and the skirt is gathered, with more tucks and another lace insert at the bottom of the skirt.
The back bodice is plain, and it closes with buttons.  The skirt back is the same as the skirt front.

What really won me over, however, was the details of the construction.
The main dress fabric joins to the translucent fabric with a zigzagged edge to highlight the pattern of the embroidery.  I don't know the name for the stitch used to join the translucent fabric to the main fabric.  There's another inset with embroidered translucent fabric down the center front of the dress.  The neckline is finished with bias binding.
Here's a detail of the embroidery, the tucks, and the join between the two types of fabric.
The armholes are also finished with bias binding.
Here's a detail of the waist.  That band of fabric is topstitched.
Here's a detail of the back with the buttons and buttonholes.

I thought the level of finishing on the inside of the dress was amazing.  There are no raw edges anywhere.
The seams for the center insert have been turned and stitched.
A duplicate of the band for the waist has been topstitched on the inside, too.
On the back as well.
The side seams are French seams.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the photos!  If you know anything more about the dress or the techniques used to construct it, please let us know in the comments!

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