I can stop any time I want to; I just don't want to.
Friends, I hope you'll let me know if you think my little cocktail dress problem has gotten out of control. The source is -- no surprise -- Cathy, but it is also being fed by a life-long obsession with classic Hollywood women's pictures and onscreen clotheshorses like Ginger Rogers, Lana Turner...in fact the entire cast of Weekend at the Waldorf.
What started out as lending a helping hand to a relative on the skids has turned into a professional partnership. Cathy's new-found and growing notoriety is requiring my increased focus and, as a result, yours, for which I apologize. I know many of you are chomping at the bit to stitch up some practical denim duds and we will. But last Saturday's celebrity hobnob has turned into next Thursday's theater and post-performance party invitation and, as usual, Cathy will need something to wear. A starlet needs to be seen out and about; she can't sit home nights filing her corns and she can't be photographed wearing the same dress.
If it had to happen for one of us, I'm glad it's her. I've lived my life; Cathy's still young. I shouldn't let the cat out of the bag a day early but tomorrow is both our birthdays. I'll be turning 49 and Cathy will be turning...well, let's just say she's more than a decade younger -- an extremely rare occurrence among identical cousins but not unheard of according to scientific studies; something about recessive genes.
Long story short, I was up half the night perusing Etsy for patterns and haunting sites like Vintageous and Memphis Vintage, where photos of countless beautiful vintage cocktail dresses are on display, like the little lace number up top and the ones below.
Extensive research has revealed that while nearly all lace overlay cocktail dresses are made with dark lace over a lighter fabric, occasionally one finds the reverse. How do you feel about cream lace over black? I don't love it.
Of course, I'm not only looking at lace dresses, not by a long shot. How about tri-toned taffeta tiers? That wouldn't be hard to whip up, would it?
Or this 40's asymmetrical number in black taffeta and crepe?
My local fabric dive has 60" bolts of lace in both solid baby blue and solid cream for $2/yd. -- not the tulle-type lace I used in my redingote, but heavier, more traditional textured lace (My lace knowledge is severely lacking, which is only one of the reasons I have bought myself an overpriced used copy of Susan Khalje's highly regarded, out-of-print classic, Bridal Couture, a birthday present to myself which should arrive next week.).
What do you think of pastels for evening on a sophisticated woman like Cathy who, let's face it, is more Baroness Von Schrader than Fräulein Maria, though thankfully still years away from Reverend Mother? We want to avoid anything that reads prom, bride, or -- perish the thought! -- mother-of-the-.
I try to approach my work with a zen-like Beginner's Mind, but this means I never remember anything. I need help. Those of you with strong opinions and no qualms about expressing them, what do you think? Do you/would you generally opt for black for evening -- even you summers who should avoid it altogether? How about midnight blue or brown? Would you overlay light colored lace on a dark taffeta or satin, or stick to the other way around.
I'm a native New Yorker and self-taught sewing fanatic! I've been sewing obsessively since 2009 and today make all my own clothes using mostly vintage patterns and vintage sewing machines. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!