This fall, I used a rare early 50s Claire McCardell pattern, released by Spadea, to create a copy of an original McCardell dress:
There’s a version of this same dress in the Metropolitan Museum Costume Institutes’ online collection.
The dress was made from New Zealand merino wool jersey bought at The Fabric Store in L.A. I chose wool jersey because Claire McCardell popularized dresses in that fabric in the U.S. during the 30s and 40s.
The dress is very wide, and gathered at the neckline. The front of the underbust is gathered, and 15 feet of self-fabric cording is attached to it, to be used to gather the waistline. McCardell created the concept for this adjustable design in the late 30s, when it became known at the “nada” dress.
I made this dress for my sister to wear while she was speaking at a “Dance and Fashion” event at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology last month, where one of the subjects was Claire McCardell. She even gave me a shoutout during the Q & A! Here’s more information about the making of the dress: JetSetSewing.com