puzzled by this gown + help naming the fabric

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion Q & A' started by applethief, Dec 5, 2018.

  1. applethief

    applethief Registered Guest

    Hi again and thank you for your help with my previous inquiry.

    I've just found this lovely gown and am unsure about its age.

    Here are some details:
    - custom made, no tags
    - this is a full length gown with draping/ruching on the bodice and a full circle skirt made out of a couple of panels
    - fabric is super lightweight silk (chiffon?) with small patches woven in that have more lustre than the rest of the fabric and there are tiny fringes at the ends of the patches (please see photos, it's hard to explain) --by the way, how would you call this one?
    - lining is acetate
    - zipper has been replaced (different thread was used to sew it in than used on the rest of the whole garment, also you can see the lining had been unpicked to remove the old zipper and then sewn in again with the new thread)
    - zig-zagged edges on the inside
    - grosgrain tape waist-stay
    - braided straps with same fabric backing

    Overall, this looks 1970s to me mostly based on the fabric but I researched 70s gowns and I'm not so sure this style was fashionable? I'm not very good at dating formal dresses like this one so I wanted to ask your expert opinion.

    Please let me know if I can take better pics or describle something else.

    20181205_140828.jpg 20181205_140834.jpg 20181205_140846.jpg 20181205_140851.jpg 20181205_140859.jpg 20181205_140922.jpg 20181205_140934.jpg 20181205_141000.jpg 20181205_141006.jpg
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2018
  2. Jonathan

    Jonathan Trade Member

    It looks older to me - late 50s - maybe even just into the 60s. Home made, but by someone who knew what they were doing - perhaps a professional dressmaker.
  3. Circa Vintage

    Circa Vintage Alumni +

    I concur with Jonathan that this style looks '50s, as does the construction which is beautiful detailed with lots of hand-finishing. The fabric, however looks like the sort of silk chiffon jaquards that were popular in the late '80s. I haven't seen any in the '50s, or any time previous to the '70s. It's an expensive, luxury fabric and a lot of it was used to create this dress.

    I wonder if it's a '50s style made by a meticulous seamstress in the '80s. There was a revival of '50s styles at the time and an older seamstress or skilled grandmother would use these techniques.
    vintagevixen and gossamer like this.
  4. applethief

    applethief Registered Guest

    Thank you! I operate from central Europe and get a lot of handmade items because in soviet times RTW wasn't readily available here most of the time and women used to sew for themselves or order their clothes at a dressmaker (my mum, in her youth in the 60s-early 70s, used to have all her clothes custom made by a tailor/dressmaker because it was simply more affordable and available than RTW clothes! Interesting, no?). This dress was definitely made by a professional, like you said. The level of detailed work included here is beyond anything an amateur home sewer could make.

    Btw, what would be a correct term for describing a piece like this one, which was made by a professional dressmaker (with no-name business who left no labels on the item) but not a custom item made by a company/brand (with tags and all)? Would we still call it custom made? I don't think it's fair to call it 'home made', as I feel the term implies amateur work --and this is high quality, professional work here.
  5. applethief

    applethief Registered Guest

    This does make sense, thanks for your input. I agree with everything you say. The techniques are definitely older but the fabric puzzled me and that's why I asked. I would love for this to be a true 50s piece but it's beautiful anyway and like you say, the fabric is luxury. I shouldn't complain ;).

    However, if anyone could find a reason to think the contrary about the fabric, do let me know! :D
  6. denisebrain

    denisebrain Trade Member

    Nicole stated that it is a jacquard weave, but might it be lappet weave? https://vintagefashionguild.org/fabric-resource/eyelash-effect/
  7. Linn

    Linn Trade Member

    It does look like a lappet weave and the fabric colors and pattern along with the design make me think that it is late '50's - early '60's. I could be wrong but that is my impression.

  8. Circa Vintage

    Circa Vintage Alumni +

    denisebrain likes this.
  9. applethief

    applethief Registered Guest

    Wow, thank you ladies! That's so awesome of you to share all this knowledge.
  10. claireshaeffer

    claireshaeffer Trade Member

    Have you looked for a label on the skirt seams?
    I would like to see a close up of the darts and seams on the inside.
    Jonathan likes this.
  11. applethief

    applethief Registered Guest

    Hi Claire! Thank you for your questions.
    There are no labels anywhere on the dress, sadly.
    Here are the photos you asked for, with descriptions on them.

    20181214_172341.jpg 20181214_172350.jpg 20181214_172354.jpg 20181214_172401.jpg 20181214_172418.jpg

    Thank you for looking!
  12. Midge

    Midge Trade Member

    I think that fabric loop is a hanger - it's attached at the waist, right? So that you wouldn't hang it up on it's straps and damage those. Now the zig-zag stitching is interesting. Usually I see that from the 70s onwards in home made items. Up until at least the 50s I see hand-finished seam edges, on the 60s I'm not quite sure - seen it at least in late 60s items. I'm not sure since when sewing machines had this stitch, but my grandma's machine from the early 60s already has it.
  13. applethief

    applethief Registered Guest

    You must be right about the hangers. It's so logical I didn't think about it! :hysterical:

    Zig-zag stitch in machines was available since the 1930s but it is rarely seen before 1950s in home made garments, I guess home sewers were slower to switch to new technology. This dress being a professional make, I think could have been sewn by a more tech-savvy dressmaker with a newer machine. Gosh, there are so many factors to take into account it is beginning to look impossible to say when this dress was made.

    (Btw, this is totally off topic but my gran gave me her machine from late 50s, it only has straight and zig zag stitch and it works sooo much more smoothly than my newer machines that have all the decorative stitches in the world...)
  14. Midge

    Midge Trade Member

    Hooray for vintage sewing machines :). Mine runs beautifully too, but then she wasn't used a lot before she came to me. It's a Husqvarna 2000 which has a neat mechanical system for quite a lot of decorative stitches - not that I ever use them!

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