Vintage Guts - Part 2!

Saturday 13 September 2014

Hey Guys,

I've been meaning to get the next one of these up for a while now, and here it is finally :)
Oh, and it's one of my favourites!

So much so, that I would appreciate if you would turn a blind eye to any grubby marks you may spot. It's ready to be washed, and I haven't quite decided how I'm going to wash it yet...

This is my pink deadstock day dress. Marketed as 1950's, but I think it's more likely to be 1960's -judging by styling and seam-finishing. 

I bought it at the Viva vendors in Vegas. It still had it's original tag on and everything, so never been worn or nothing! Makes me so sad when I think of how they price vintage in the US - I would have expected the vendors to be way overpriced but this dress, and another one in lemon were $54 each. How crazy is that?

It's a 'Lady Manhattan' dress, and is a polyester/rayon blend. Apparently Lady Manhattan was a division of Manhattan Industries – originally The Manhattan Shirt Company, founded by Lewis Levi in 1857. The Lady Manhattan label was first used in 1954 and trademarked in 1956, which ties in with my guesstimation.

Apparently 'Dura-Smooth' was marketed as 'permanent press', meaning that now matter how or how often the garment was laundered, it would keep it's smooth, supple look. I found an ad for 'Dura-Smooth' in a newspaper from 1965.

I have decided that this is my new favourite skirt on a dress. I love the knife pleats, it gives a nice slim waist I'm leaning towards, but I still feel like I have the full flowing skirt that I've always known and loved.

Oh, and this is one of my favourite bodices too by the way. Fit's like a dream, and I finally figured out why vintage waists always looked tiny. Besides the fact that many were, of course! The blousey top makes your waist look smaller too.

The dress also came with a lovely fabric belt, which I have transplanted onto a number of other outfits too! I love a plain coloured self fabric belt. I have a few I've picked up with other dresses and they always lift an outfit up to another level. 

This is the back of the belt.

There are some belt loops on the dress, but they are those sort of string loops, and they are far too big (oh and one has already come undone), so I sort of just go over them. I feel bad at the thought of removing them!

The back has a deep box-pleat in the back, which is a nice feature and keeps everything comfy, and some small pleats either side of the box-pleat to nip things in. As you can see, it also has a shirt-style back yoke.

The top of the box pleat is stitched down, and stops the box-pleat gaping open.

From the outside, the bottom of the box-pleat, and the side pleats appears to be closed with bar-tacks.

I was trying to figure out how they achieved this look, and when I looked inside, it appears that instead of straight stitching the pleat, it was done with a zig-zag, and it shows like a bar tack on the outside.

It's intriguing, and a nicer detail than a regular old straight stitch.

I love the notched collar. It's just the right size, and sits nice and flat.

The only thing I would think about tweaking if I ever get around to re-making this dress is the sleeves. I do like them, but I think they're a smidge too long on me and could possibly do with tapering in slightly.

Now, I'm sure I've mentioned at some point before that me and side-zips are almost a no-go area.
This is why the next part is my absolute favourite feature!

The skirt below the button placket has a sort of hidden fly :)

There's enough of an overlap that there's no risk of untoward flashing. There is a press stud on the underlap and a bar hook at the edge of the placket.

The knife pleats line up perfectly across the front fly, and it hides the centre front seam.

Another feature I love (I seem to love them all!) is the hem. It's super deep, and I actually really love that you can see that through the skirt.

The skirt is hemmed with a blind hem, but it seems to be machine sewn. I'm not sure what this stitch is called? Chain stitch?

Some of the seams have selvedge seams, some have pinked seams, and some have overlocked seams. It's a complete mixture which is funny.

Oh, and a special mention to the first night I wore this dress, to the Dolly Clackett hen party, when I fell down the stairs to the train and got blood on the inside hem.

Thankfully not visible from the outside. But seriously. This dress survives for more than 50 years and I ruin it on it's first wear. Bravo.

I'll leave you with some shots of me enjoying the dress :)

Emmie xx

Photo from Alex at Sew Over It

Photo from Ooobop


  1. What a beautiful dress, thanks for showing us around it. I love that concealed fly in the front skirt - what a great idea, and the knife pleat skirt and box pleat back are lovely. What a shame that it was never worn for all those years. I bet it's glad that it found you to let it have some fun! Lynne

  2. I love that dress so much! x

  3. Gorgeous dress Emmie! I love all those little details, and it looks great on you :)


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