Built for Vintage Fashion


I’m attending a wedding in Atlanta at the end of the month and needed a dress to wear. I had every intention of making one, but stumbled upon this gem at a vintage store in town. The price was too good to pass up. And, the color looks pretty awesome on me. My friend Liz thinks this era suits me because of my build. It would suit me better if my arms weren’t as muscular! I find that these clothes fit me well in the torso, but are awful on any part of my body that has muscle tone.

It’s not a perfect fit. The bust is pretty snug and the back is tight. But, I was happy to discover the dress had been taken in at some point. So, I was able to get about 3/8 of an inch extra in the bust.

The yellow is a poly blend of some sort and I honestly think it’s never been worn! For its age, there are no body stains, no worn spots, no sign of wear whatsoever. Honestly, I found myself pressing the seams open and flat!

I wanted to post this dress because the construction is beyond belief. The entire dress is underlined with organza. It could stand on its own it’s so structured!  While the dress is underlined, there is no lining. The seams are finished with pinking and a straight stitch. Luckily, I have yellow on the serger and finished as many seams as I could.

The back uses a metal, lapped zipper application.

There is a wonderful deep hem which keeps it nicely formed and gives me room to play with the length.

I LOVE the bow right at the top and how it peeks through with the jacket.

Yes, there is a matching coat. It’s stunning. Stunning! It has the same princess seams as the dress.

 The bound buttonholes are nicely tailored and look amazing with the buttons / chain.

The jacket is lined with a matching yellow. It too has a deep hem.

My favorite touch is the union label in both the jacket and the dress. And, I’m a sz 10 by those days standards. Hmmm, I’m pretty much the same size now :)

I’m thrilled! I can’t wait to wear it at the end of the month.

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48 thoughts on “Built for Vintage Fashion

  1. Beautiful. Be sure to take pictures of you wearing it. Also, very glad t see you post. I look forward to you blog and it has been rather sparse lately. ;)

  2. Beautiful ensemble! What a lucky find! The best part is the label and knowing where it was made! Awesome!

  3. Holy cow, that’s perfectly lovely! Take your time, but I’m looking forward to seeing pictures of you in it, at some point!

  4. What a great dress! I love the bow detail and the double buttons down the front of the coat. I’ve actually never seen that technique, but I don’t spend a lot of time looking at vintage. Awesome find!

  5. Fantastic score! I well remember the union label and the cute commercials and jingle…so always look for the union label…. How sad for our country and the garment industry that those days are now gone!!!

  6. oh, this is just gorgeous—luv luv luv the matching coat. As a little side note, if the bust is still snug, you may want to try the outfit with a minimizer bra—those darn things can do some pretty amazing tricks. (I’m particularly fond of Wacoal via Nordstrom but every body is different) You are going to look fabulous—pls post a pic for us

  7. I really think that this is silk. It doesn’t seem like all that fine work would have been done on polyester not back then and not now. Look at those bound buttonholes! Very nice find and a steal at that price.

  8. This garment is absolutely beautiful. What a great find! Always look for the union label: International Ladies Garment Workers Union! My mom was a member.

  9. What a gorgeous dress. All of the details are stunning. Please post a pic of you wearing it. You are right, the yellow will look pretty on your skin.

  10. When I was in Sweet Adelines, we had a 40’s era show. Someone raided their Granny’s trunk and found a bunch of vintage dresses. The one that fit me was awesome-a lovely green with that nice waist fitting. Imagine my delight when the gal who brought the dresses said to keep it-Granny didn’t want any of the dresses back. It’s still in my closet, but I’d have to lose a chunk of weight to fit in it now!

  11. The detailing on these old garments is amazing. I love the seam finishes – in the time before the overlocker there was pinking shears and protective rows of stitching. the hem finish is lovely too. Wear it well.

  12. Awesome! It has probably only been worn once, and probably to a wedding too!
    Isn’t it amazing how all that effort goes into interlining it, yet there is no lining. That seems to be the case with a lot of vintage, maybe lining was deemed an unnecessary luxury? But I suppose everybody had slips back then too.

  13. This is an incredible dress. Dare I ask what shoes you intend to wear with it??? The grey nail polish actually looks nice against it, too!

  14. Believe it or not backing (the organza backing) was standard practice back in those days – now you understand I wasn’t back in those days (yada, yada, yada!!!!)….and pinking was standard way of finishing seams (without sergers, etc., this was probably the most economical way of finishing seams. Those princess seams were classic (see Secretariat for more princess line clothes). And most likely the reason why it fits snug through the shoulders/arms is because women were NOT muscular or even developed that much in that part of their body, and the “prototype” that designers were sewing for at the time, were not that large through their arms and shoulders (see “Gentlemen Prefer Blonds” for more body shapes). But also too much fitting with the princess seam (as in the shape of a Dolly Parton, just wouldn’t work…well it does, but it doesn’t look right and becomes problematic (that shape needs more darts to make it look right).

    I absolutely adore this style…you will wear this forever, and it’s classic enough to be a great go-to outfit for you. Have you thought about lowering the armhole a little to allow more room in that area?….that’s something you can do, although once lowered, you can never bring them back up again, and you would need to trim to make it work.

    What a steal!!!

  15. Oh my goodness gracious golly, what a lucky find! Fate and/or God meant this dress for you. I agree that it is more likely to be silk than polyester shantung — don’t know that polyester was widely available in that weave in that era. But don’t quote me. And … vintage? Hahaha! I am obviously even older than I thought. This looks like what ladies wore to church when I was a child in the 1960s. Lined dresses were unheard-of in our off-the-rack world. Underlining is as couture as it got back then, unless you were, say, Jacqueline Kennedy. Have a wonderful time at the party.

  16. What a great find, and I haven’t seen one of those labels in years. I remember seeing the commerical on TV, but only the first line and part of the second line of the jingle. Unless I needed to let it out until the seams allowance was really small, I probably would have left the finish as it was. As Claire pointed out, it was a standard for quite a while, and during that time, we expected our clothes to last.

    I look forward to seeing you in this, and what you wear with it.

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  18. That is absolutely stunning. I was excited about the dress but when I saw the dress with jacket I just about fell out of my seat. My mind immediately started racing trying to figure out how I can recreate it. I can’t wait to see you in this!

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