Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dressing Up

When looking at garments, I'm drawn more to those in the "pretty" rather than the sophisticated category.  Not that the two are necessarily mutually exclusive, but pretty does have a certain girlish ring.  So when your time of being a girl is long over, how do you do pretty that's age-appropriate?  I sometimes see patterns that I know I would have picked in my younger days but have the good sense to refrain from now.  However, I did give in to Simplicity 1800, a dress from their Amazing Fit collection.  I made it, I wore it, I like it...and I'm still not sure about it.

Simplicity 1800 patternWell, just look at the pattern envelope, at the twenty-something modeling the dress.  Then there's the empire waist and the floaty skirt that say youth, at least they do to me. On the other hand, I thought it would be a flattering dress: fitted in the right places (the bodice) and more forgiving below.  And it was a dress I wanted, to wear to a dinner Mr. C and I were going to attend.  So I searched through my stash and came up with a fine linen-y weave in one of my favorite colors.  You can click over to Pattern Review for all the minutiae of my making it.  It was a bit touch-and-go to get it finished in time. (I slipped the last stitch into my hem about 4 p.m.on the date of the dinner.)  Deadline sewing is something I have vowed not to do anymore, but on rare occasions I still fling myself into making something specifically for an occasion.  At first it always seems like there's ample time, and then suddenly I'm racing the clock, wondering whether to continue or just wear something else instead. This time I beat the clock, only sacrificing the lack of a hook and eye at the top of the zipper for the evening. 

When I worked, I wore dresses quite a lot because I liked their one-piece convenience, no need to pull together this and that to make an outfit; I liked sewing them as well.  From what I notice both on Pattern Review and on sewing blogs, younger women are taking to dresses again, often in bright colors and cheerful prints.  In fact, now that I have this pattern adjusted exactly to my liking, it seems a shame not to reuse it, so I might just whip it up in some summery cotton for more casual wear, in lieu of my go-to outfits of cropped linen pants and knit tops.  As to the age-appropriate issue, I think I'll let my inner girl have her way in this instance.

More on the topic of age appropriateness in dress...  For a fascinating look back at "What older American women wore, 1900 to now," check out American Age Fashion, the blog of Lynn Mally,  "historian, seamster, textile lover."


  1. I think it's lovely! The length and neckline are not too young- you fit it well.

  2. I followed your Pattern Review to your blog. :) I think that's a beautiful dress on you and not girlish at all. The color is particularly nice.

  3. I'm currently working on this dress too, and I'm so happy to see some finished projects. You're turned out absolutely lovely! That colour is beautiful on you. I like how it looks without the pockets too.

    I don't have much to say as it's age-appropriateness, but I think it's a great dress and you look very pretty in it. :)

  4. Very cute. I am thinking about making this dress, and your review was great!

    1. I like those Amazing Fit patterns with all their options. You should give it a try. And thanks for joining my blog.

  5. Gorgeous. You chose and sewed so well!