No, my cousin Cathy hasn't run off with the Karate Kid, if that's what you're thinking.
It's the dress, peeps, the rose dress, McCall's 7299 from 1948.
Cathy came over yesterday afternoon for a fitting and I took a few test shots of her in the dress. Well. She saw this photo and has convinced herself that she shouldn't be wearing a black belt with this outfit; it makes her look fat.
I just wanted to scream, peeps.
First of all, I explained, the dress hasn't been hemmed yet, so the belt looks like it's sitting higher than it actually is. Second, the photo was shot straight on, which is never the most flattering angle for anybody's waist. Third, you don't see her head, so the proportions are off. Fourth, she'll have some sort of black hat or veil or something decorative on her head to balance things even more. Fifth, black "pops" more in an indoor photo than it will outside.
Cathy wasn't convinced. She reminded me that on the pattern envelope, the dress is shown with a matching belt:
In turn, I pointed out to her that I'd seen other dress patterns of the very same period, where a black belt is shown with a print dress -- a flowered dress very similar to her own, in fact:
OK, I recognize the Simplicity dress has a soft belt and the belt I'd picked out for Cathy is a narrower and stiffer black velvet -- which matches her shoes and gloves perfectly, btw. She even has a handbag if she chooses to wear it, straight from Italy via the Salvation Army.
Pretty darn close to a vintage forties original, no?
But back to the dress...
The only thing Cathy and I could agree on at day's end was how strange it is that those pattern envelope models' necks match the girth of their waists.
Loyal readers, you know I generally do not ask for advice. But you did help me decide to sew the purple dress before the rose print one, and I trust your judgment implicitly. Whatever happens -- yes black belt/no black belt -- I think Cathy needs to hear it from you.
Do you think the black velvet belt works? Should we try a soft black sash like the one shown in the Simplicity pattern above? Should I make a matching belt, as shown on the original McCall's pattern envelope?
The last thing I want is for Cathy to end up a "Glamour" Don't. It would kill her modeling career.
Here's the dress before the sleeves were attached, by the way, with no belt at all:
Please leave your message to Cathy below. Any style tips you might like to add in the comments will be greatly appreciated as well!
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!