Monday, 12 May 2014

The Nursery Wrap Dress - Reloaded

As I honestly dislike Mother's Day (despite being now mother of the two most wonderful kids), my husband and me began a new tradition some years ago to avoid later that the kids buy silly gifts when they're older. So each Saturday before Mother's Day, we go to a plant nursery or a special gardeners' event, depending on the weather and the things we intend to buy. And we get us something lovely for our garden, a rose, special tomato seedlings or other vegetable rarities and seeds, or, as this year, a dwarf apple tree and a crabapple. (We ended up with 3 more roses and a new clematis as well...) I think by doing this, we all benefit of this special day, there's something for us all to see, and we spend usually a great time with our little family.

Exactly 3 years ago I made a wrap dress after a probably later 1950s pattern. With its kimono sleeves and worn without a petticoat it looks surpsingly like late 1940s. Unfortunately, I'm not sure which pattern it was. My pattern collection then was only very small, but my daughter, who was 2 years old then, destroyed some of the tissue paper pieces and I put them aside to fix it, but somehow I mislaid the pattern and  - well, it must be somewhere in my tiny and terribly crammed studio.

Anyway, I wore the dress only once, as I was unsure about the accessories to wear with it. I didn't have suitable shoes then, and I felt this was not the right way to wear this garment. Even though I was not yet into vintage sewing so much as today, I had chosen a reproduction fabric of a print from the 30s or 40s, from a shop that unfortunately has closed down in the meantime. It's a medium-weight black cotton, maybe slightly heavier than average medium weight fabrics, but still a nice quality.  It has almost filigree white flowers and butterflies on it, just perfect for a gardener like me.

The occasion I wore it to was for a trip we made to a rose breeder's nursery called "Landhaus Ettenbühl" (or here), just across the border in Southern Germany. If you happen to live somewhere in my area, it's worth visiting especially in early June, as they have a huge park full of roses and other plants, and a lovely restaurant. It must have been around my birthday, as it's the time of year when roses bloom for the first time and abundantly. I remember it was a splendid day, we had our little daughter with us, and it got very warm. A black dress probably wasn't the best choice, but cotton is always much more comfortable than many other materials. I was very proud of my home-sewn dress, and my beautiful daughter looked lovely in her sweet white dress, so we got some compliments from mostly elderly people.

Well, I guess I looked very silly somehow...

This year it was a little bit different! After losing some of my extra-weight I had put on with each pregnancy, I was finally able to wear the dress again. I styled my hair properly, which is always the most difficult part when I prepare for going out. (I have terribly fizzy curls.) I had authentic 40s celluloid jewelry that looks like carved bone. A pair of gorgeous and very comfortable wooden clogs. A 40s purse with a wonderful "carved" plastic handle. I really enjoyed the dress and felt entirely "vintage styled". (Many people, mostly of my age and younger, stared at me - I realised again that Switzerland is not the best place for vintage lovers.) The weather was fantastic, it was a lovely sunny day, and my husband took some pictures of me and the kids.

This is me (obviously) with my lovely kids

I'm not used to be photographed and I usually don't like it, so please do not mind my silly face. Unfortunately we forgot the close-ups, as our daughter fell and hurt. She cried for about half an hour, and our son cried with her (he's very empathic), so we could be hard all over the nursery...

Dress pattern: most likely late 1950s wrap dress
Fabric: printed reproduction cotton fabric from the USA
Shoes: Swedish wooden clogs "Ally" in black by Moheda Toffeln, the best ever! They ship worldwide. 
Purse: vintage 1940s corde crochet purse with carved plastic frame
Clamper: vintage 1940s faux carved bone celluloid from Ebay
Earrings: vintage 1940s faux carved bone celluloid from Etsy
Watch: vintage 1940s watch from Ebay
Glasses: H&M (men's department)
And in case you would like to know: Lipstick is "Russian Red" by Mac, my favourite ever...
Location: Garten-Center Meier 


  1. That is such a nice tradition! I love your dress!

    1. Thank you Anthea! You're such a great seamstress, so I feel honoured by your compliment. And yes, this new tradition is wonderful. We are truly blessed to have a garden, growing plants is a great thing to do.

  2. What a heartwarmingly lovely tradition! This dress is marvelous! The cut and fabric both suit you tremendously well. I would wear this same dress in a heartbeat (I love 40s and 50s frocks with nice long hemlines like this), too.

    ♥ Jessica

    1. Thanks for your comment, Jessica! The dress is really nice to wear, and as it is a wrap dress, it forgives some imperfections of my body shape. I also prefer longer skirts, so my legs are not too much exposed. And wrap-dresses are super-easy to iron... :-)

      ♥ Doris


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