Saturday, 13 July 2013

1950's Miami

Wow guys! Thanks so much for all the love for my floral Charlotte! That was the most comments I've ever received on a post, and every one of them was lovely! I also got some love directly from Elisalex via Twitter.  That always makes my day, getting some nice feedback from the pattern designer. It seems like I made the right choice with that dress/skirt!

A good friend of mine, Suzanne, is having a summer party at the end of this month, with a Miami 1950's theme!

Our mutual friend is coming up from London for it. We have a babysitter booked. There will be a silent disco (always wanted to go to one of those!), and I can't wait to go. Now... what should I wear?!!!

My first thought was: how cool would it be to go wearing just a Bombshell Bathing Suit and some heels?!!!! It would be fabulously era and theme appropriate, but would definitely require someone with much larger cojones, not to mention much better legs than I! It would also require actual Miami-style weather, and despite her super-event-organising powers, I doubt even Suzanne can manage that! Having said that, part of me really does like the idea of going down the beachwear route and I was wondering if I could incorporate that somehow?
Absolutely love this combo. Is it a playsuit with over-skirt? Or shorts under a dress?

Isn't this gorgeous?
But I didn't want to be the only one turning up in beachwear, while the rest of the guests have gone for prom style 50's, so perhaps I needed to consider an alternative route? I love the picture that Colette Patterns featured on their 4th July post. Isn't this dress just stunning? It feels really summery, but also party-appropriate. I love the stripes and what looks like a drawstring halter neckline. Not sure how bra or boob-friendly this style this would be though.

Some other '50s inspired summer dresses I came across that I loved:

I think my favourites are the striped blue, red and white one at the top and the bottom one with the bow.

HOWEVER, I then remembered that I already have this in my wardrobe:

I bought this from Zara for my cousin's wedding, back in 2007! And I still fit into it. As long as I don't need to eat or breathe, I'll be fine. And that leads me to a dilemma. I actually don't have a lot of time to make a dress to wear, and I can't afford to spend much money on making what's essentially fancy dress (albeit one that could probably be worn IRL). Would wearing the Zara dress be the sensible, stress and cash free option? I no longer love the print (the colours are a bit dull), and I have nothing to go with it, but the shape is right. It even has a self fabric belt! With a proper petticoat underneath it would be just the job.

But then I am the girl that sews her own clothes, and there will be expectation, by some friends at least, that I will make something. Will I feel a bit rubbish not making something? Does it actually really matter, and am I using this party as an excuse to show off a bit/have my ego stroked ("Wow, did you make that?!")?

Regardless, I have decided to make a fluffy, foofy petticoat. I did find this great tutorial online, which I was going to use, however I popped into Mandors today to pick up some thread and zips and bits and bobs, and got talking to the guy who works there. As a result, I ended up buying 6 metres of off-white tulle as well! He described to me a much simpler and less involved way to make a petticoat, which I'll give a try. I'll let you know how I get on.

Somewhat bizarrely, my parents have been invited to a 50's and 60's inspired party the week following my party. My mum is planning to make a dirndl skirt (so thanks Kathryn, for that link to Gertie's skirt. That will be perfect for her!) to wear with a blouse. It did occur that if I made a petticoat, she could also then borrow it. She's a bit bigger and taller than me, but an elastic or adjustable waistband would make that possible, and better to be too short than too long!

So, what do you think? Do I spend time and money sourcing patterns and fabric and then making a dress AND petticoat, or do I focus on making a petticoat, save myself the time and money by wearing my Zara dress and then crack on with my Peony/those sleeveless blouses and capri pants I've been promising myself all summer? What are your thoughts?

*Lazy sourcing - all photo sources can be found via my 50's Miami Pinterest board, unless otherwise stated.


  1. I think you might be putting a lot of pressure on yourself to make a new dress and petticoat. I think making the petticoat is a great idea and will work very well with the dress. Since the dress basically fits is there a way you could change it up just a bit instead? If the top is fitted, could you modify it to have a halter look similar to the Colette dress? (I loved that too when I saw it)

  2. Oh, what fun! I think you could definitely forgo making an entirely new dress - that one with a petticoat fits the bill perfectly. And I like Shar's idea above of the halterneck; the skirt looks likes it would allow for cutting off a 1-2" band from the hem. That way you've made something AND refashioned something - doubly impressive!


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