Friday, April 28, 2017

title pic The Largest Sound of Music Costume Collection Ever Sold!

Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on July 7, 2013

Nearly fifty years after the release of the most popular family story ever told, many of the once-privately owned Sound of Music costumes are now being sold in one massive lot at Profiles in History!  You may recall how last year I blogged about a much smaller scale version of this sort of auction when Maria’s blue chiffon dress and a rather worn Liesl’s dancing dress were sold by Julien’s Auctions.  That was a decidedly monumental moment in Sound of Music costume history, but this collection far surpasses even that!


For the first time since 1994, all seven of the children’s sailor suits, all seven of the children’s curtain playclothes, Liesl’s dancing dress, Liesl’s edelweiss dress, Liesl’s party dress, Maria’s gold suit, Brigitta’s dirndl, as well as the dress she wore for the wedding scene, are all being sold in one gigantic lot!  Estimated to sell for over 1 million dollars, this massive collection is the largest, most complete set of Sound of Music costumes to ever be in one location since the actual film production in 1965.  Excepting Maria’s blue chiffon dress (which sold last year), Maria’s wedding dress, and Baroness Schraeder’s red suit, this collection represents most of the notable costumes worn by the principle actresses.


Most of the costumes appear to be in fairly good condition, though Liesl’s chiffon dancing dress is understably a bit tattered.  In case you read my article I wrote last year about another version of this costume which sold at Julien’s Auctions, you will remember how I was convinced that the dirt-stained dress they were selling was not the one that Liesl actually danced in, and that I was sure there were either one or two versions alive and well in the world somewhere.  Oh, it was definitely really used in the film (for the scene in Maria’s bedroom), but clearly wasn’t the one worn for “Sixteen Going on Seventeen”.  (You can read my reasons in the article I wrote last year.)  So I was so excited to see what a non-dirt stained version looks like today!  This is the one she wore for dancing in the rain, though I think there may have been another one she wore in the dinner scene…


Liesl’s party dress is almost as lovely as it was back in the 60s, but what happened to that gorgeous yellow sash?  Apparently the unattached canary-yellow ribbon has been lost, but it could definitely be replicated if it was to be displayed somewhere.  The gathered/puffed collar still looks sturdy, though the puffed sleeves are a bit more worn.  These sleeves, by the way, are so much fun to sew!  When I created my “Liesl’s Party Dress” pattern last year, I think the puffed sheer sleeves were the most enjoyable element to create.


Liesl’s edelweiss dress is lovely with all the piping down the bodice seams and the delicate embroidery on the white ruffles!  This garment is probably in better condition that either of the other two “Liesl” dresses mentioned above.  The thing that suprised me the most about this dress is the purple piping!  On the screen, the piping looked dark green, so my guess is that it was a dark purple piping that has faded over the years.


This classsy gold suit was such a refreshing change in Maria’s wardrobe from the earlier “governess” dresses she had worn!  It is being sold along with the matching chiffon blouse she wore underneath.


Brigitta’s dirndl worn for “Do Re Mi” is a lovely blend of homespun fabrics and fall earthtone colors.  And the heirloom dress she wore for the wedding scene looks like it belongs in the pages of Sew Beautiful.


It is my hope that this group of costumes will be purchased by a museum that will put them on display for public viewing, and that will see them not just as old film memorabilia, but as part of the Sound of Music legacy that has continued for nearly the last fifty years.  These costumes have been admired on screen by millions of people all over the world, and if they are displayed in an exhibit, there is a good chance that they could be filmed up close for the 50th anniversary edition of the Sound of Music dvd which should be released in 2015.  I can think of a couple of places that would be ideal locations, but whatever happens, it is just wonderful to know that nearly two dozen costumes from this classic family film have survived all these years and are all in one place!

I LOVE the Sound of Music costumes and always have (as is evidenced by the patterns I’ve put out inspired by the original designs), and I look forward to seeing if these outfits make it into a permanent display!

So long, farewell,


title pic An Ivory Eyelet 1950s Dress

Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on June 29, 2013

Vintage Butterick 6835 1950s Pattern Review

Hello, Ladies!


Last year I happened upon a charming vintage 1950s dress pattern (Butterick 6835).  It had a lovely curved seam at the bodice, tucks about the empire waistline, and a cute Peter Pan style collar.  (You may remember when I blogged about it here. )  So I bought it, of course, and waited for the perfect fabric to come along.


This ivory cotton eyelet fabric turned out to be the perfect option!  It has a breezy, summer feel to it and it’s such an old-fashioned, yet timeless material.


The pattern itself was most enjoyable to work with.  Like many patterns of the day, this curved bodice seam was stitched in place by simply pressing under the raw edge and topstitching it to the adjoining bodice piece, rather than pinning the two fabric pieces right side together and sewing an bonafide seam.


I always love dresses with circular skirts, and this one looks perfect when worn with a crinoline petticoat underneath!  I tied on a peach satin ribbon sash since the outfit needed some sort of accesory, but it looks quite fine without a sash, too.


On a scale of 1 to 5, I would certainly give this pattern a “5-star” review!  It is a rare design, so if you happen to find one like it I would recommend snatching it up as quickly as you can.  I love wearing this dress, and I may have to make another frock or two from this pattern!


Here’s a group shot from my first England trip in 2009. I was in the white dress & green jacket.

As you may have guessed, I am sewing up a storm towards my England costume trip!  (Is it really less than three months away?  Wow!)   So all my spare hours are being taken up with sewing Regency gowns and every-day dresses to wear on the tour.   I haven’t had a huge amount of time for blogging lately, but rest assured that there will be an awful lot of costumes coming soon!

Until next time, happy sewing!


title pic First Ladies’ Gown Collection at the National History Museum

Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on June 10, 2013

The First Ladies’ Gown Exhibit at the Smithsonian, Washington, D.C.

On my recent costume trip to Washington, D.C., I spent some wonderful moments  at the National History Museum in my favorite exhibit of all – The First Ladies’ Gown exhibit!  Filled with inaugural ball gowns, sumptous dinner dresses, and stately suits, this magnificent collection of garments is one of the loveliest historical costume displays in the entire United States.  Each dress tells the story of the time in which a certain First Lady wore it, as well as the style of that particular president’s wife.  And whether America was going through hard times or experiencing prosperity, each particular First Lady still managed to procure some beautiful clothes which have carried on the First Families’ legacy.


In an attempt to avoid being excessively verbose, I will let these photographs speak for themselves and just add a small description under each one.



Here is a striking Civil War era gown made from royal purple velvet for Mary Todd Lincoln.  While the full skirt is paired here a long sleeved bodice for day wear, it also has a matching evening gown bodice for formal occasions.




Caroline Harrison’s Evening Gown –  All I can say about this gown is, “WOW!”  What magnificent silk velvet with that luxrious sheen.  What glorious silver beading on the metallic silk satin.  And what an incredible silhouette!  The train, the bustle, the bodice – wow!



Frances Folsom Cleveland (the youngest first lady in American history) purchased this charming 1895 gown from the House of Doucet (Paris). 


 All of Frances’ gowns were at the absolute height of fashion, and I sincerely wish I could have seen her wedding dress again!  (It’s been a number of years since that gown has been on display at the Smithsonian.)




What a refreshingly beautiful evening gown made in robin’s egg blue for Edith Roosevelt!  The vertical tucks going up and down the bodice front are so flattering, but the real highlight of this dress is the neckline with its band of tulle puffing and frothy lace ruffles.  While living in the White House, Theodore Roosevelt once wrote of how “pretty and dainty” she looked in her “summer dresses“. 



Grace Coolidge was one of the first presidents’ wives to wear the “flapper” style of gown (which was most unflattering, if you ask me!).  Here a sumptuous silk velvet is fashioned into this 1920s frock with beautiful ruffled tiers.



And of course no First Ladies’ Dress Collection would be complete without some fabulous gown worn by Mamie Eisenhower!  Mamie embraced the role of “official fashionista” perhaps more than any other First Lady up to her time, and her sincere fondness for regal ball gowns and the color pink were known all across America.  This rose-pink silk damask evening gown was worn to a state dinner at the British Embassy in 1957.



A stunning silk gown encrusted in Austrian crystals, worn by Pat Nixon as her inaugural ball gown in 1969.  What incredible beading in the bodice!  If I didn’t know better I’d say this was something Norman Hartnell designed for Queen Elizabeth. :)




Barbara Bush chose one of the most striking inaugural ball gowns I’ve ever seen.  In cobalt blue velvet with a sapphire blue taffeta skirt, this dress spelled “elegant” with a capital “E”.  This was the very gown which earned her the title of “America’s Most Glamorous Grandmother”.



Finally, I’ll end with the gorgeous red silk crepe and chantilly lace gown which Laura Bush wore to her husband’s inaugural ball in 2001.  In person, the gown is just dazzling with sparkling beads and Swarovski crystals, and is my idea of the perfect inaugural ball gown for the twenty-first century.

I hope you all have enjoyed this little trek to the historic First Ladies’ Gown collection!  What a national treasure we have in these gowns, and how wonderful to know that whenever we want to, we can head back to our nation’s capital for a stroll through this marvelous exhibit.

Happy sewing!