Friday, October 14, 2011

Elegant Ensembles

A couple of days ago, Anita gave us some beautiful early 60s sewing inspiration on her blog, and it got me to thinking about that time in fashion. I tend to remember the 60s as all miniskirts and gogo boots at one end of the decade and tie-dyed dashikis and flowered headbands at the other. But before all that there were a few years of elegant dressing carried over from the 50s.

One of my favorite modern movies is “Down With Love” for no other reason than I sit there drooling over the costumes. Released in 2003, it’s set in the early 60s and the designer, Daniel Orlandi, went to incredible lengths to capture some of the fashion trends of the time. There are more than 100 costumes, and in some cases the results are way over the top, as is expected for a spoof on the Doris Day – Rock Hudson romantic comedies. But a couple of the ensembles have burned their images onto my retinas for all time.

I can not stop thinking about this:

I need a friend who will dress up like this with me!

The coat and dress ensemble as a discrete style comes and goes like other fashions, but in any decade they have a timeless look of someone with a well-planned and maintained wardrobe. Why, a woman who wears a dress with its own matching coat probably also knows how to accessorize well, and likely owns a usable pair of gloves!

I guess I don’t have to say how much I love this style. I have two coat-and-dress sets in the hopper, in fact one is even cut already, but so far I’ve felt a bit intimidated by them.

Project 1, started

For this peachy-gold set, I am actually using another dress pattern with fewer seams, since I didn’t want to lose any fabric details in the waist seam and darts. I hope to get a similar effect from a simpler dress style.

Project 2, still waiting

I like the idea of the wrap dress under the coat by Talbots, but maybe without so much bulk in the skirt. B4723 seems like a good compromise.

I feel more inspired to get to work on these garments now. I just have to get through the stack of other projects already waiting on the sewing table. Maybe I should skip the teal for now and try to get to the gold one. Then it MIGHT be done by next Spring.

Have a happy weekend!



  1. I was watching Project Runway last night and thought of you. You are soooo talented - and really inspiring me to try my hand at making something to wear - other than a quilt! I might just try some pajamas and see how it goes. I will keep you posted.

  2. That is so nice of you, and it's a real honor to know that I actually inspired someone to start sewing.

    I love Project Runway! I just get so mad because the designers are great and the outfits are all gorgeous, yet the judges are so picky and mean.