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This beautiful 1950s strapless dress was loaned to me by a dear friend (who is 90 years young) . It belonged to his late wife and is saved as part of the inheritance of true vintage dresses I’m sure his three daughters and two granddaughters will squabble over. There’s evidence of a label that has been cut out, so I can’t identify who the maker was. His late wife, like myself, found labels to be intolerably itchy.

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Its made of heavy, dark turquoise taffeta. The pleating of the crossover bodice just astounds me.1950 Turquoise dress 02

The corded and topstitched lines on the 3/4 circle skirt help it stand out.1950 Turquoise dress 03

Here you can see underneath how the cords were applied. They were simply sandwiched between the fashion fabric and a wide strip of mid-weight muslin-type fabric that was cut on the bias.1950 Turquoise dress 05

There’s an underskirt of un-hemmed, stiff cheesecloth-like fabric.1950 Turquoise dress 06

The bodice is boned on all the seams with most of the bone casings applied with hand-whipped stitches.1950 Turquoise dress 081950 Turquoise dress 10

It has a side lapped zipper, a metal one which is very typical for the era.1950 Turquoise dress 11

These tiny hooks helped to keep the zipper hidden. Such incredible attention to the details!1950 Turquoise dress 25

It appears the underskirt was attached after the main body of the dress was constructed. It’s edged with bias strips to keep it free from the zipper with a snap to close it. I want to try that technique on my next lined dress. Also notice they didn’t bother with a stay tape around the waist. The dress doesn’t seem to have suffered much without one.1950 Turquoise dress 14.JPG

It’s difficult to see here. The pleated bodice has a lining which is not attached at the top edge. I’m attempting to pull it open here so we can get a look.1950 Turquoise dress 20

And lastly the hem is a tiny rolled machine stitched one. They folded it once, stitched it, then folded it a second time and stitched again.1950 Turquoise dress 12

I hope you enjoyed this dissection of a vintage dress as much I did!