Hello my dears! It feels so splendid to reach out a hand and a word to you all once again. Continuing the theme which Jessica set yesterday in revealing to you all her handmade 1940s formal gown, today I am going to display the gown I wore to the evening dinner of Remembering WWII.
I purchased this original 1940s formal dress off of Instagram for quite a steal (about $20 all told). I was SO excited to have an original piece in my possession to wear for RWWII. I sent it off to the dry cleaners, since I was a bit scared to hand wash the acetate material myself. Boy that was a mistake, though I’m sure the disaster would have happened one way or another if I had washed it myself. At the dry cleaners the tulle fell to shreds, literally looking as if someone had shot it full of bullet holes. All of that beautiful tulle was ruined! But I was determined to rescue it, since the rest of the dress, and the gorgeous appliqué, was still in very good condition. Directly after bringing the dress home I ordered some tulle online. Once it arrived I took off the original overskirt, and cut out the new overskirt, using the original as a guide. From there I re-appliqued the appliqué, basically laying the original skirt on top, zig-zagging around the edges of the appliqué, and then trimming away the dilapidated tulle. It was a lot of work, but it was so worth it in the end.
Original 1940s Formal Gown: Adelaide Market on Instagram / Shoes: Swedish Hasbeens / Purse: Gift from Emily of Vintage Visions / Hair-flowers: Forever 21 / 1940s/50s Rhinestone Necklace: c/o Chronically Vintage
There was a bit of user error when I cut out the new overskirt, so it ended up being shorter on the sides than the front and back. What was I to do? By the suggestion of my lovely Mom and sisters I added a tulle ruffle to the underskirt, and trimmed the overskirt so it was even all the way around (I should say Mom trimmed it while I modeled the dress, since I wanted it to be exact). The near-disaster ended up leading to a dress with which I am quite pleased, and I dare say it still looks as good as the original.
I am so happy I was able to rescue this dress. It was so much fun to wear for the dinner at Remembering WWII, and I look forward to styling it for our Church’s annual Yuletide Ball. One change that I will make to this ensemble is my shoes. I was originally going to wear some sparkly, slightly uncomfortable, 1940s style shoes, but after a full day of wearing heels at RWWII, there was no way I was going to put my feet to more torture. So I ended up wearing my Swedish Hasbeens instead, not ideal for just any 1940s formal, but since we were going to be outside I figured they would do. For the Yuletide Ball later this year I plan on wearing some gold dancing shoes from my collection, which will go much more nicely, even though my Hasbeens do a pretty good job at stand-in.
For Remembering WWII, I actually forgot to pack my hair-flowers, but I decided to wear them in this post as I know I would have worn them if I had remembered to pack them. And as for the glorious 1940s/50s necklace I am wearing, nothing could be more serendipitous than its perfect coordination with my gown. I received it in a lovely package of goodies that we were sent earlier this year by the lovely Jessica of Chronically Vintage. Shortly thereafter my dress was delivered, and when I tried it on I knew this necklace would be the ideal finishing touch to this fairy floss 1940s formal. Serendipity I tell you!
One of my favorite parts about this gown is the beautifully wide neckline and puffed sleeves. Normally a neckline of this depth would gape on me when I bend over, but due to the nature of the gathers at the neck, I can, amazingly, bend over without fear of anything “showing”. That is positively ideal in a dress which I hope will see many evenings of dance and fellowship. Oh, and the puffed sleeves are set in such a way so I can lift my arms without any restraint. Another plus for dancing! Yuletide Ball here I come!
Have you ever worn an original vintage evening gown?
Do you have any repairing-vintage stories?
What does your dream formal ensemble look like?
Brigid, the Middle Sister and Singer