A Thousand Tea Dresses
In my first blog I spoke about inheriting my grandmother’s vintage scarf collection. In actual fact, I inherited all of my grandmother’s vintage clothing and accessories, everything that she kept from her late teens into her late 30s. Luckily for me, my young grandmother and I shared not only our passion for fashion but also a dress size! Amongst my grandmother’s collection was a 1940s silk tea dress, so beautiful that I could, literally, copy it a thousand times and never tire of wearing it. The dress is in the classic tea dress style with pleated shoulders, buttons to the naval and a gentle flow from waist to the knee. I think this style of dress works best in all types of silk, from the super soft and delicate pure silk to a more rough, raw silk.
I found some stunning vintage bird of paradise silk fabric online some years back and had my regular seamstress recreate my grandmother’s tea dress right down to the tiniest detail. I have to say, when using vintage fabric to replicate a vintage item, and when using exceptional sewing skills, it is virtually impossible to identify the item as new. I wear both dresses only on special occasion, they are just too sacred to me for everyday wear, and I get countless comments about both. The original is a soft peach color and looks girly yet demure and classic. The bird of paradise version has elevated the design to something that looks extremely high end and vintage designer. It is so funky a d really stands out. When I wear it I am the envy of my friends.
I treasure both of these dresses to the point that, on the rare occasion I do wear them, I am paranoid about spilling food or wine on them and destroying the delicate silk fabric forever. So, what I would like to do is buy some new cotton/silk mix fabric and creat several new, more durable and more suited to everyday wear versions of this dress in a variety of colors and patterns. Check back to see how I progress with this project.