Readers, are you superstitious? I'm not, I mean, not particularly. But sometimes uncanny, synchronistic occurances do take place and who am I to say they aren't a sign from the great beyond and I don't mean the Bronx.
Not an hour ago I was heading home from the flea market, where I had gone to hunt for some last-minute trinkets for Cathy's strapless cocktail dress photo shoot -- I'm not sure when this photo shoot is going to take place, mind you; strapless or no, I don't think Cathy is up for temperatures in the upper eighties.
Anyway, after picking up a few baubles I'll share with you in a minute, just outside the flea market entrance, someone -- no doubt a flea market vendor -- had disposed of a moldy old Depression-era breakfront that looked to be missing a few drawers; truly a hunk of junk, just sitting there on the curb. On the shelves were piles of -- I can think of no better word -- crap: everything from not particularly old brassieres to empty candy boxes.
Digging among the detritus -- I couldn't resist -- what did I discover but a vintage tulle petticoat!
I brought it home and took a closer look. It was damp and a little dingy, but it had a Carolyn Schnurer label.
For those of you who don't recognize the name Carolyn Schnurer (I didn't), she was a contemporary of Claire McCardell and an important postwar designer based in New York City. She designed the "Rice Bowl dress," which is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute collection.
She also designed some commercial sewing patterns, like this halter dress.
Something else really cool about this nylon petticoat is that safety-pinned to it is a piece of blue lace trim, undoubtedly the "something blue" a bride would have worn on her wedding day.
So now, superstitious friends, I ask you: just what do you think this all means?
a) I should hunker down and make a crinoline for Cathy's strapless cocktail dress given that I already have all the necessary materials to do so, and the pattern cries out for one.
b) I should disinfect this mildewy Carolyn Shnurer original and have Cathy wear that for her photo shoot.
c) Wedding bells are imminent for one -- or more -- of mybeloved MPB followers! Is it YOU?
Perhaps what you're really thinking is that I need to stop rooting around in the trash, and I should probably disinfect myself, and soon. But seriously, don't you think it's odd I should find this tulle petticoat just now? I mean, what's the probability?
Anyway, there's so much to tell about the cocktail dress that I think I'm going to have to break it up into two posts, so if you were hoping I was finally going to be talking about menswear this weekend, you're in for a disappointment and if you want to unsubscribe, I'll understand.
Before I left for vacation, I bought two yards of black grosgrain ribbon (seen here with a black flower I picked up in a beauty supply store for $1).
I hope you will agree that with the summery rose print, which has only a smidge of black in it, though there is some, the contrast is too severe. Ix-nay on the ack-blay.
Yesterday I returned to Daytona trimming on 39th St., and bought green ribbon:
This might work for a box of Fanny Farmer chocolates, but I don't like it for Cathy. I also bought pink ribbon, which I'll spare you (think Sandra Dee). No, I think we're going to go with no ribbon. Sorry, ribbon fans!
(I did find plenty of cheap, vintage bling at the flea market, however, so don't think my cousin will be unadorned. All this for $10!)
I also bought the correct size spiral steel boning for the front bodice (for a whopping 70 cents at Steinlauf & Stoller) -- a big improvement -- and hemmed for about three hours last night if you can believe it, and I'm still not finished, though nearly. I'll have more construction details to share tomorrow.
In closing, friends, are you superstitious about your sewing, or anything else in your lives? Are you constantly looking -- and finding -- signs that instruct you which color trim to use, fabric to buy, or person to marry?
Do you think it would behoove me to dig out my Magic 8 ball before going one step further with this project? Is the truth staring me in the face but I'm unable to recognize it??? Yes? No? It is decidedly so!?
Have a great day, everybody -- and don't forget to heed those mysterious messages!
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!