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How Did They Sew That? A Vintage Dress with a Flourish

Special touches make a simple dress superb.
Threads #200, Dec. 2018/Jan. 2019
Dress: 1968 Donald Brooks design from the Sue Ann Genet Costume Collection, Syracuse University School of Design.

Begin with a streamlined silhouette, add a showstopping feature and lovely details, and you have a timeless dress such as this 1968 Donald Brooks design. The trim, vintage coatlike dress comprises three sections, with no side seams. The lower front opening is stitched closed to prevent strain on the bottom three buttons. The star feature is the 4-inch-wide ruffle that follows the dress’s edge around the neckline, down the front opening, and along the hem.

Elegant details include the satin belt construction and closure. To keep the ruffle from appearing bulky, the belt nips the wool dress in at the waist. Covered buttons and bound buttonholes create a closure that balances the ruffled edge. Within, thoughtfully designed neckline and front facings reduce bulk along the edges. An in-seam pocket is the essential extra to this exceptional dress.

Interior of 1968 Donald Brooks dress from the Sue Ann Genet Costume Collection, Syracuse University School of Design.


Contributing Editor Judith Neukam finds joy in vintage garment details.

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