a schematic for the Bar Mitzvah mom dress

My friend Cindy Ann left a comment on yesterday's entry. She wanted to know how I came up with the idea for the dress that I'm wearing at my son's Bar Mitzvah. Probably the earliest source came from my years playing with Barbie. When my sisters and I used to get tired of the garments we owned that actually came with Barbie, we used to improvise dresses from tissues. ( We loved when our mother bought boxes of colored tissues which made for much more glamorous dresses than plain white) I remember cutting little holes for Barbie's arms so those dresses wrapped around her body. We usually tied them with hair ribbons or with a lace hankie .
The second source for this dress is the diagrams for Miyake clothing that I found on the Vogue Patterns website. I love looking at the schematics of clothing patterns so I can understand how the garments are actually constructed. I remember being shocked at how simple the actual pattern was for a really complicated looking drapey coat.
Two years ago, Yom Kippur came really early in September, and the day promised to be hot Our synagogue is not airconditioned. With 1500 people sitting in one room I knew it was going to be hugely hot for the long, long services. I made a very similar dress out of while silk crepe which I twisted while it was wet . I then baked the pleats into the silk. The dress kept me relatively cool and I was dressed appropriately for the holiest day of the year.
My daughter lusted after the dress, so now she owns it.
You can play with the placement of the armholes on this dress. If you place them higher up you get less of a collar. If you place them lower down you get a bigger collar. Yesterday I realized that I can play with the shaping of the draping of the neckline in all sorts of ways. I may pin the bodice with a big brooch. I like that the sheer wool isn't too hot.
I had also made a variation of this garment as a jacket for my buddy Miriam. The sleeves were simply tubes of fabric. You can't get too much easier.
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  1. Thank you Sarah! In theory, I guess is is simple. Somehow I just know that my rendition wouldn't look as chic as yours does. It would look like a rectangle with two holes cut into it. ;) I will give this a try with some unloved stash fabric though.

  2. Trust me, Cindy Ann. It's just a big rectangle with two holes. Use a drapey woven, or even a knit with some body and you too get something that looks like a Miyake. I wouldn't use a print though. It takes away from the effect.

    But a big brooch/and or a belt or some saftey pins discreetly place and you are all set.


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