Friday, 23 March 2012

Vintage dress patterns

This isn't the dress or cape pattern I got, but it's cute. And similar. But not the same. The actual pattern remains a state secret.


My eldest is having her first holy communion in a few months.

When I had mine, I wore a mini bride dress. This was waaaay before My Big Fat Gypsy wedding. It wasn't as voluminous as the dresses in MBFGW, but it was the 1970's so it wasn't a cool dress. I mean, I had a veil. And everything.

I do of course shudder when I think about it, although I try and focus on the positives, such as the green jam tarts we had at the 'reception'.

My sister's holy communion was held at one of the most beautiful and dramatic churches in the world (built on a mountain side, reached by funicular railway), in Italy, and had a lavish (to me) reception afterwards. I had mine at the school's local church with a reception in the church hall.

The injustice, readers, has never left me. (1)

The very first thing I asked our priest, when my daughter enrolled on her holy communion classes was "does she have to dress as a child bride". Because, frankly, I can't be doing with all that.

Gloriously, the answer was no, she doesn't.

Since every other little girl will probably be wearing white, or cream, I didn't want to go too rad. I mean appropriateness and all that. I thought I'd go for a smart, white/cream dress. Except she didn't have one, and the only ones you can buy are distinctly bridesmaid led. And expensive.

Recently, my mum had hauled out of the trunk that holds all of our childhood treasures one of my old tricot dresses, super simple, 1960's (even though I wore it in the 1970's). But it was red. My daughter looked amazing in it and I loved its simplicity.

I hoped she would fit into another old dress of mine, a cream crochet tunic. But it is too short. But it did give me an idea which is: super simple 1960's dress. With a cape. Think Courrege. Space age, but without (possibly, cos I don't think the priest will like that) the helmet.

Finding one of these off the peg is impossible. I know, I've tried and I'm pretty good at searching things out.

The only thing is to Make It. I was, after all, once seamstress to the Queen Mother. (2) And I do still have friends from that time. Well, one. Who makes spectacular clothes and has made spectacular clothes for my children. And has offered to help me. (3)

So I searched on line. And I found the perfect, perfect pattern. For a dress. And a fucking cape. I mean: P.E.R.F.E.C.T. It was from a website called What I Found, in the US. I emailed the owner and said "can you send it to me here and if so how much". I never expected an answer. But one came within five minutes. Fantastic service from someone called Tina.

The whole lot, plus postage, came to £8.70.

(1) Not really. I couldn't care less. But I use it to torment my parents occasionally.
(2) I was, for one month, before I was fired for painting my nails over the Queen Mother's chiffon. 
(3) This means she'll make it.

3 comments:

DaniA said...

Annalisa, I remember our Holy Communion Day at St Vincent's. Yep I was dressed in a long white dress and veil........I went to Holy Communion in Italy and the children were dressed in long white tunics, the sort of thing a monk would wear. How times change eh. I thought I looked so great and I suppose its the closest I've ever been to wearing a wedding dress x

Lisa said...

Hold on - seamstress to the Queen Mother?!? Who what where why how when?

Annalisa Barbieri said...

Lisa, you surely knew this about me?

http://www.newstatesman.com/lifestyle/2007/04/queen-mother-sew-beautifully

http://www.newstatesman.com/200204080007

Dani, darling Dani, my oldest friend (we met on the first day of primary school). I thought I looked great, too. But looking back? I could have looked better. Did we have our day together? I thought yours was the year after mine? xxx