Thursday 10 March 2011

Should it stay or should it go?

how it looks on 

For this one, your verdict is a must, in more than one way. 
An interesting dress I think, in construction and details. Needless to say my husbands dislikes it and thinks it's unflattering on me. 
Of course, he's a man,  yet sometimes he is right. The question is: is he right in this instance?...
In terms of fit, the dress is roomy in the top/bust and very narrow on the hips. The waist is not fitted and looks odd without a belt. The sleeves have a "weird" but wonderful (to me) shape and are rather very long.
When I first put it on I thought :"nah...not for you, baby", then a few minutes later, after adding the belt (a modern one I had around), I totally warmed up to it. Of course the ribbon detail sewn into is a bit of a magnet and really makes the dress, together with the center panel, but does it do anything for me?! 
Over to you for the answer!

fabric close up

What is this fabric? It feels synthetic, as you can see it has a slight sheen in the light, it's quite warm on, medium weight, and has this raised grain which appears to be on both sides although more prominent on one side. Can you identify it? And if so, what type of cleaning is recommended? Also, can you recommend any books towards a crash course in fabrics? I''m getting every day more obsessed with accurately dating  my vintage, but that is simply not possible with my little knowledge of fabrics and fibers. Anything with pictured examples would do me a great deal of good, as I am a visual learner.

somewhat similar sleeve treatment

Speaking about dating vintage, which clearly is becoming compulsive in my case, I have researched the details of design in this dress, over a ten year span between 1928 and 1938, but with not great success. 
I couldn't find anything with similar ribbon detail sewn in, although I am sure I have seen it before?!
As for the sleeve detail, while I haven't necessarily found something identical, the above are close enough examples. It doesn't help a great deal with precise dating though. 
While the dress was bought as 30's/40's, I really don't believe this is a 40's creation. It's not 20's either, in spite of some details in the panels of the skirt to be found in 20's and early 30's dresses and skirts, and of the colored panel at the bust which fastens with metal poppers and is fashioned in a way not strange to 20's and earlier dresses.
But I do think this is a 30's dress through and through - except exactly from when? :)
I would be inclined to place it somewhere in the fist half of that decade, but is that correct?...
The shape seems pretty straight when hanging, not necessarily so once on, it really hugs the hips, while the waist looks somewhat loose and untidy without a belt. There are no side openings, so I expect a narrower waist would have made it impossible to put on. 
It has both machine and hand sewing, was it made once then altered to fit someone else? The hem is double, as if it's been taken up by simply folding it on itself. The front panel is backed in silk, while the rest of the lining present on the sleeves, a narrow portion on the upper back and a front panel on the skirt  - seems all synthetic, but I what sort of synthetic?...
Here are some details, maybe you can help.

detail inside and out

 Gosh I'm doing everybody's head again!  I just can help but be rather quite taken with this in spite of having  flaws (but I have too!:)). Anyway, will wait with very much interest your opinion!


  1. it's a STAY, definitely :)

  2. Earlier part of the 30s for sure. 33ish maybe?
    Hard to tell fibre content over the internet. I would guess rayon with a funny weave. Sometimes the weave effects the way a fabric feels and handles. But really the only reason I guess rayon is because it was so common. Could be a wool or a blend, too.

  3. I agree with Lauren early 30's and my first instinct was also rayon.

  4. yep, agree with Lauren: dress silhouette with fuller bodice, bishop-y sleeves, more fitted skirt = earlier 30s (1933+). Also agree fabric seems like it could be a rayon or wool rayon blend. Very hard to tell without feeling it or doing a burn test. Lovely garment!

  5. have no taste...I adore the neckline!!

  6. Thanks ladies. I'll have to look into the burn test. I have to learn more about fabrics!
    I did think it could be a rayon blend with wool, as it really feels quite warm to wear it, and once on doesn't quite feel so "synthetic". I forgot to mention that is also slightly stretchy. The texture of the fabric reminds me of some horrible nylon? trousers I had as a child and hated with a passion; that fabric, whatever it was, imitated the grain of cord.

  7. Stay, definitely! It's a beautiful dress. I agree with the early '30s verdict, and I think that it looks great on you!

  8. Ooops, blogger just lost my comment, so if there are two, please remove one.

    As to the dress: STAY STAY STAY!

    You can try wearing a half slip to add a little more balance to the lower half, and you must wear it with a belt, perhaps a broad structured waistclincher of some sort? The one you have on looks fine and you can definitely wear this dress. Heels are a must, as high as possible. Walk tall, this dress suits you very much!

    Can we have a selection of the outfits your hubs DOES approve of? ;)

  9. I would say it was early to mid thirties too! The bib/striped front and shaping is very much of those early years….. And you MUST keep it! Tups x

  10. Speaking as a chap I think it looks fine.

  11. Many thanks for your feedback everyone, keep it coming! I am glad you like the dress and happy that my dating has become better and I am finally starting to get things right.
    I am also, I think, getting "warmer" on the fashions that really suit my body shape (more of this in the next post), as well as marry my aesthetic sense. All I need now is the spending power to match!

  12. I really like this on you! not unflattering at all! And such a special dress.. it can't come along very often? ... so keep it!! definitely.

  13. Oh my, you simply must keep this dress! Sometimes a hubbie may know best, but this is not one of those times! It looks lovely with your head of curls and that thin belt. xx

  14. I can understand why your hubby may not like it, as it is not especially revealing, BUT, I agree it is a keeper for sure! In fact, I read this after your most recent post and agree with your best friend; I actually like this one better on you than the other. Not many people can pull off this type of cut and YOU can and should!

  15. Thank you all! It's very interesting how different people perceive things in a different way, I really did expect the other dress to gain more approval.
    Maybe it would have from my dry cleaners, because when I took this one the other day they looked at it in disgust and said: but it's damaged, it's got holes in it!...Ha! Well then it's less for you to clean, isn't it?! Last time they hung a velvet skirt on a clip on hanger which was very tight and damaged the pile of the velvet on the waist area where it hung from. I really do hate them, they are insulting me on my money and every time I take something to clean I go through stress and upset.