Monday, April 07, 2008

A Blast From the Past



Lately, every vintage pattern on Summerset's blog brings back some memory for me, but this one is special. The sleeveless, long version of this dress was what my college choir wore to perform. We all professed to hate these dresses with a passion, but they were actually amazingly well chosen for their ability to look fairly decent on everyone, no matter what size or shape. The skirt was very graceful, and the style was very forgiving. We didn't know enough to realize it at the time. I think I still have my dress, although it's unhemmed now, since after graduation I loaned it to a new choir member even taller than I am, and when I got it back, the hem had been carefully taken out and pressed flat. They used these dresses for at least 15 years.

The other real beauty of the dresses was the fabric. It was just a medium blue polyester crepe, but it was indestructable. I still remember being in Hawaii on tour. We sang in a bandshell right across the street from Waikiki Beach, and we wore our gowns and the guys wore their tuxes. We were staying at a local college (it was Christmas break) and we didn't want to have to go all the way back to change, so we girls all wore our bathing suits under our dresses and when we were done singing, we took off the dresses, popped them and our shoes into a tote bag, and sauntered over to the beach. Meanwhile, there were about 40 guys with tuxedos in garment bags looking disgusted. Once in a while, we get the better deal.

Anyway, you could leave your dress crumpled in a bag all day and when you took it out, it looked just as good as before. Hooray for polyester! It certainly has its uses.

9 comments:

ACorgiHouse said...

Liana, this looks exactly like the pattern I used to make a "symphony belle presentation dress" back around 1977. It had to be white, sleeveless, worn with elbow length gloves and white or silver sandals. In white polyester crepe it fit the bill perfectly, and lasted all evening with not a wrinkle. I passed it down to at least one sister, and I believe that dress is still in a closet at my mother's house. Would still be appropriate now, although the symphony pageant might not be! Thanks for the memento! K

Marji said...

That pattern looks like it would be a good choice even now for Prom, for girls wanting that pageant looking dress but not having it cut to show the navel.
What lovely memories too.

Vicki said...

Nice story! Sounds like you had a lot of fun way back then. I remember the '70's well but never got to dress up.

Summerset said...

I'm glad you are enjoying these patterns! I love hearing these memories about these patterns. Most of them are not quite my style as I'm more of a 50's girl, but I have some sentimental attachment to them as these are styles that I can remember my mother wearing and sewing from some of my very earliest memories.

Adrienne said...

I am not really a vintage girl, but that pattern is GORGEOUS!

Alexandra said...

That's a beautiful pattern!
Speaking of polyester, I was just wondering last night how some designers get away with charging upwards of $500 for polyester tunics and dresses (polyester anything, really).

Anonymous said...

This brings back a lot of great memories for me too. I made this dress out of many different flowing fabrics. You are right it looked great on everyone as I used it on other family members of different shapes and it flattered all of us.
Christina

Ann's Fashion Studio said...

What a lovely dress and such a fun story.

Rhoto said...

Isn't it wonderful how a special outfit leaves a print in our mind... just like a fragrance, eh!
Rhonda in Montreal (PR)