1950s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Intro to My Next Big Project

November 3, 2013

Hello everyone!

I don’t have a finished garment to show for this post, but am taking the opportunity of giving a heads-up to anyone who might be interested in following my next big sewing adventure.

Because I’m married to a member of the Canadian Military (yup – we have one!) I have the opportunity to attend a rather large and fabulous military Ball each year in Toronto (the aptly named Toronto Garrison Ball).  I’ve gone a few times so far, and am planning to ‘go big or go home’ for the next one at the end of March, 2014.

The reason some of you may be interested in this is because I’m going to be recreating an iconic piece of vintage couture: Charles James’ “Tree” gown!

The Metropolitan Museum of Art - "Tree"

Certain fortuitous events have put me in a particularly good position to be able to reproduce this amazing gown by one of my favourite designers of all time.  I’m really excited about this!!  And also pretty scared!!

The reason I’m posting about this here & now is that I intend to keep a sort of dress journal about the process of constructing my own “Tree” and I thought some of you might be interested in following along with some or all of my progress.  To see my full introduction post, wherein I explain how it is that I happened upon being able to properly reproduce this dress, pop over to my blog!  I hope you’ll stop by at some point – I’m sure to need some of your wisdom and advice at various points along the way!


  1. I can’t wait to see your finished product! So exciting!! I had the good fortune to work with some of James’s gowns firsthand and I know how completely insane the construction is. Having seen your skills on here, I’m sure the resulting dress will be gorgeous. Best of luck!

  2. GASP! I was just researching Charlie James and I am obsessed! I cannot wait to see your project completed! I hope you give lots of details on your process and share with us! Have you figured out how you are going to create structure yet?

    1. I will be doing a lot of sharing with this one! I mostly know how I’m going to create the structure – if you pop over to my blog (linked in the post) you can find out my ‘secret weapon’ (not really, lol) for how I’m going to do it ;o)

  3. OMG!! That’s what I said when I scrolled down to the picture. I admire you for such an undertaking. I hope you have a lot of fun with it. Imagine being able to say “Oh, this? It’s just something I threw together.”

  4. Wow! My husband is in the U.S. military, and every year when our ball comes around I end up wishing I’d made a vintage-style dress, but it’s beyond my skill level. I will definitely be following along to see how yours turns out! (And maybe some day I’ll attempt to re-create one of my favorite Schiaparellis…) Can’t wait to see the finished result!

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