Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on February 15, 2017
A 1950s Dress in Jerusalem, Israel
I realize that I missed my annual Christmas 1950s dress post – not for lack of sewing Christmas dresses, but for lack of time to photograph and blog about it! I still hope to share pictures soon, but I have something else to share first! Last year my husband and I had the amazing privilege of traveling to Israel, and naturally I *had* to sew a vintage dress for the trip! Israel is one of my favorite countries, and it holds a very special place in my heart.
So for a 1950s dress I planned to wear in Jerusalem, I spared no expense! 😉 I purchased five or six yards of a beautiful blue floral print designed by Gertie for Joann Fabrics, which reminded me very much of a watercolor Marc Chagall painting. I felt it was the perfect mixture of 1950s flair with a nod to the Jewish theme at the same time. For the bodice I chose a coordinating eyelet fabric, since that was one of the options on the pattern I was working with. (I’m sharing Instagram pictures below from the sewing process, so not all captions are present-day.)
Because I loved the fabric so much I took LOTS of photos during the sewing construction of the dress!
It makes me happy to match the pins to the color of the fabric I work with.
The bodice and sleeves are cut in one piece as you often see in 1950s styles. It makes for a bit of extra bulk under the arms, but it’s the way they used to make many of their dresses back in the day.
The ruched waistband was attached to a flat base.
Then the bodice was stitched to the waistband, with gathers in the front. It’s starting to come together!
A post shared by Katrina @ Edelweiss Patterns (@katrinaariana) on
Once the full rectangular skirt was attached to the bodice, I folded under the inside waistband to completely encase the raw edges and make everything polished and professional.
Finally, I hand hemmed the yards of full skirt with tiny, invisible stitches. On such a colorful print I could have hidden larger stitches fairly easily, but it’s more fun to do an impeccable job!
I purposely chose the high boatneck and three-quarter length sleeve design not because of the weather (as it was absolutely stifling in Israel in late summer), but in order to be respectful of the Orthodox Jewish dress code that many religious Jews in the area observe. Orthodox women usually cover the neckline up to their collarbone and never let their arms show above their elbows.
For me personally, I don’t feel that it is wrong whatsoever to wear short sleeved or even sleeveless tops, but I think it’s important particularly when you are in foreign countries to do everything you can to not offend people or dress in a way that they feel is not appropriate. Israel is also a very secular country in many areas and there are lots of women who dress in typically modern fashion, but I wanted to try to stick to a more conservative dress code around Jerusalem since I was staying in the very heart of the Jewish quarter.
These pictures were taken directly outside the Israel Musuem which, among other things, houses the Dead Sea Scrolls. I learned to read Hebrew when I was a teenager, so going through this place and reading fragments of scrolls from the Bible dating back thousands of years was unbelievable!
The sun was shining so brightly on the white limestone that it was quite hard to not squint, and I was not wearing a crinoline petticoat at all. Between the lack of petticoat and the addition of sandals instead of high heels, this was definitely a rustic version of my usual 1950s outfit! But I absolutely loved wearing it in Jerusalem, and I’ll never forget the day I wore it there!
While in Israel I also had the chance to visit Middle Eastern fabric stores and pick up some gorgeous fabrics in Tel Aviv! That’s for another post if I find time, but you can see more pictures of my trip on my Instagram page if you scroll down several months. And if any of you are heading to Israel in the near future (which I highly recommend!), you must check out the fabric shops in Nachalat Binyamin!
Unfortunately, I just don’t have the time to update the blog as often as I did when I was single, but I do still sew prolifically! I do more actual wearing of my dresses to events in real life now that I’m a busy married woman, as opposed to blogging about them when I was single! 😉 But if you want to keep up on what I’m sewing, you can see regular updates over on my personal Instagram. I can’t promise when I’ll have the next pattern or post ready, but it will all happen!
Hope you all are having a wonderful 2017, and happy sewing!
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.” Psalm 122:6&7