My Vintage-Maldives Fusion Dress, McCall's 5517

Flashback Summer: My Vintage-Maldives Fusion Dress, McCall's 5517

This past summer, my sister got a chance to go to the Maldives, and while she was there, she got me this fabulous fabric!  It's actually a men's garment that is tied around the waist, but, hey, I don't mind.  It won't look mannish when I'm done with it!

It used to look like what the men in this picture are wearing:
Flashback Summer: Maldives Fabric


The only issue, as you can see below, is that the design is not quite straight.  Which was something I had to work around.  And it was tricky.  You can also see that there are many stripes.  Which needed to be lined up.  On crooked printed fabric.  Very tricky, which is why you should more fully appreciate the fact that...
Flashback Summer: My Vintage-Maldives Fusion Dress, McCall's 5517

























... I lined up the stripes on the final garment!
Flashback Summer: My Vintage-Maldives Fusion Dress, McCall's 5517

Flashback Summer: My Vintage-Maldives Fusion Dress, McCall's 5517

(Being "hippy" for my size, I took a risk in putting giant horizontal stripes across the widest part of my bum.  But my thought is: balance out the hips with the shoulders, and the wider the hips look, the smaller the waist looks!  Woo!)

Flashback Summer: My Vintage-Maldives Fusion Dress, McCall's 5517

























It was a lot of mental work to figure it out, but I totally love this dress!  I used a pattern I have tried before, McCall's 5517, but that time I had no idea how to really alter things and it turned out much too small.  (There's no way I could get it over my hips now!)  So this time I took alterations into consideration and also tweaked the design a bit to include an overlapped skirt (I couldn't give up the fringe!) and short sleeves.  I managed to get all the pieces except the back out of the Maldivian fabric, so I just used black cotton on the back.  I also lined it with a satiny black material I had in my stash to make it extra lush and easier to wear day to day, and I added shoulder pads for a bit more shoulder definition that could transition from a 60s to a 40s look more easily, which is how I will style it.

I really love this dress, and I feel like it's a great reflection of who I am!  It's definitely vintage and tailored, but it ties in my love for travel and other cultures by using a foreign, traditional fabric.  

Flashback Summer: My Vintage-Maldives Fusion Dress, McCall's 5517

Flashback Summer: My Vintage-Maldives Fusion Dress, McCall's 5517























Here is a summary of the pattern details and things I changed:
Fabric: I'm not sure.  Maybe some sort of cotton-synthetic blend?
Pattern: McCall's 5517
Year: 1960s
Notions: 2 zippers, shoulder pads
How historically accurate is it? Eh, not so much. I "franken-patterned" (to use Frances' word) everything together and blended decades to get the look I wanted: va-voom, intercultural, 40s!
Any tricky parts to the pattern?  This is a very fitted pattern, so it requires good tailoring skills, especially on the top.  I'm still not quite sure about the fit of the top....
Did you change anything?  Yep, sleeve length, and made a wrap skirt instead of a normal pencil
Time to complete: 4 days (give or take. Cutting and arranging pieces took a LONG time)
First worn: 15 September 2014
Total cost: Everything was from my stash!
Notes: I would recommend staying true to the body measurements recommended on the pattern and assuming you will need to wear a girdle or foundation garment to make the proportions work (or altering the pattern for less "va-voom" proportions); the sleeve shape also doesn't let your arms lift more than halfway, so don't wear it where you'd need to move a lot!

Flashback Summer: My Vintage-Maldives Fusion Dress, Bakelite

Flashback Summer: My Vintage-Maldives Fusion Dress, 1920s art deco purse

And here's a map in case you didn't know, like me, where the Maldives is:   (It's so tiny you can't even see it when zoomed out!)
Flashback Summer: My Vintage-Maldives Fusion Dress, McCall's 5517

Outfit Details:
Dress: handmade by me, McCall's 5517
1930s-40s hat: flea market
shoes: Kmart?
bakelite bangles and earrings: gifted
1920s leather purse: swapped

Photo credit to my sister, Aria, for her awesomeness!

21 comments

  1. I adore this outfit! It is so you and so fabulous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank, Stephanie! I'm glad it seems "me-ish"!

      Delete
  2. Emiligh this is amazing! You should be a designer:) I love these bold colors and it's so impressive how you were able to get things to line up and fit with the pattern. I also love how you infused your love of the history of this fabric into this dress. It really has meaning. I'm curious what you used to close up the dress? Metal zipper? Invisible zipper? Where did you place the zipper? It's so cool how you could use a pattern for this dress given the material and the strategic placements. You really are talented. I'm quite sure this dress would receive a lot of complements when worn. Congratulations!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Joanna! I appreciate that so much!
      I kept the zipper placement the pattern originally has, a side zipper and a back neck zipper. Granted, you really have to do your hair AFTER getting it on cuz it's a bit tricky, but it means I don't have to deal with a ridiculously long step-in zipper in the back. I used plain metal vintage zippers I had in my stash, and I think one is actually navy... but with the front lapped over the zipper, no one will know! I pretty much try to just use zippers from my stash, even if they don't quite match. (Unless there's just really no contender, then I have to go buy one. Ick.) It's not the best, highest-quality couture thing to do, but it works fabulously for the "make do and mend" lifestyle I've got going on!

      Delete
  3. You are just too cool. I flipping love it my dear. You look gorgeous! xox

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow. That dress is so stunning on you, and I am absolutely in awe of your construction skills (take that for what it's worth, I don't know how to sew). I think you did a really marvelous job blending the different influences that you wanted to bring into the garment, while still managing to create something that looks beautifully vintage and very you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much, Jessica! I appreciate that!

      Delete
  5. That is one cool dress! It actually reminds me of a dress you'd see some starlet wearing in a 1940's movie because of uniqueness. ( and not to be too weird, I like your placement of the stripes across the backside lol)

    ReplyDelete
  6. This really is stunning. It gives you such a classic silhouette, but has so many interesting details in the stripes and fringe, that it is just so interesting. I keep looking back at the photos to take more in.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm not sure there are words to describe how absolutely stunning this is and how much I utterly ADORE it!!! It so swank and has a great beatnik flair, which I LOVE! What a great way to combine culture!

    xoxo
    -Janey

    ReplyDelete
  8. A stunning accomplishment! And you even included the fringe!! :D What a beautiful combination of global, vintage, and modern styles & design, Emileigh. You rock, plain and simple.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is probably my favorite outfit on your blog. It's so stinkin' perfect, the stripes, the colors, the fringe, your workmanship is excellent. I love that dress! It makes you look quite smashing too :)
    ~Theresa

    ReplyDelete
  10. Am a Maldivian and I have never seen anyone produce such a creative piece out of that fabric. love that dress so much ... ;)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow...you are so talented. I'm glad I had the chance to meet you this past weekend. How were you able to find your style and niche so early in life?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, well… I went through a lot of phases, so I guess I just kept trying until something worked for me! It's still a work in progress though, definitely. I recently had a style crisis that is making me want a more "matchable," practical wardrobe, so that's what I'm working on now!

      And thank you for the lovely compliment! :)

      Delete
  12. That looks gorgeous!! Making me want to go buy a feyli right now! Applause from Maldives!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, thanks Emau! I'm happy you like it!

      Delete
  13. The dress is beautiful. You came up with a unique idea from something so simple and sew it up into a dress.Making it look fabulous!! it must have been very challenging to sew it up keeping it in mind not to loose the whole originality of the material.
    Hats off to you from Maldives!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much, Mahufooza! I'm glad you like it!

      Delete