Wednesday, February 4, 2015


A Chance for Readers to Advise Us

Not too long ago, Valerie bought this vintage black taffeta dress at one of her favorite resale shops.

She had this idea (now DON'T LAUGH!) that it looked a lot like the black taffeta dress Bette Davis wore in probably everybody's favorite scene in All About Eve.

Special treat.  Don't remember the movie?  Don't remember the scene?  With the wonders of modern technology, we can bring it to you!

(It was worth a visit to this post just for that, wasn't it?)

Ah, if only our memories reflected the truth more accurately.  As you can see, Miss Davis's dress is way off the shoulders.  Mistake number one.  And, as you can also see, Valerie's dress has an awful lot of frou-frou ruffles, while the shoulders of Miss Davis's dress lie flat. Mistake number two.

Here's a close-up.  These ruffles are not only BIG, there are two layers of them, just in case one wasn't enough.

But wait: there are still more!  Here's the back of the dress.

There are so many ruffles, if she had a bit of white lace around her head, she could easily be mistaken for a French maid!

Hmmm…  Or maybe for a 19th century dowager.

Okay, readers.  Here's where you get to offer a bit of advice.  What's a girl to do (especially, a girl who doesn't sew and has a limited budget) with all these ruffles?  Otherwise it's a great dress. The taffeta's in great shape, and, as an additional unexpected bonus, it has two deep pockets on the sides.  Can the ruffles be cut off, or sewn down, or shredded into tufts, or painted, or…???   Let us know what you think! Is it going to be a bumpy night? Not with all those ruffles it ain't.


  1. I am not a creative seamstress but I know someone will come along to inspire! (I do hems and buttons only). Wonderful opportunities await. xox

  2. Valerie,
    I think that dress needs MORE RUFFLES!!!
    Maybe all around the skirt. And feathers.
    Then we could ruffle your feathers.
    Ruffle off to Buffalo.

  3. It looks like it would be a very simple fix to remove them. If you can't do it, a seamstress - is there a gender-neutral term? - could do it in just a few minutes, so it wouldn't cost much at all. Looks like the ruffles are inserted at the seam: open up the seam, toss the ruffles, sew up the seam. Done.

  4. OR, yes, shred them. You could trim off the folded-over part at the edge, then use pinking shears and cut them into fine shreds; it would take a while to cover all that territory, but it would look fabulous! (The pinking would add more texture AND keep the shreds from constantly fraying and moulting.)

    By the way, Davis' Edith Head gown was actually brown. Better in B&W. : )

  5. I adore this dress. Idea: get a few suspender clips or mitten clips available at any sewing shop, and clip up the hem of the skirt in a few places to give an uneven hemline and add some pouf and interest. It would make the dress more edgy/punky and balance out the top ruffles. AND NO SEWING. Just an idea from someone with limited sewing skills and a love of pouf.

  6. I would say cut out the under layer of ruffles, Get some shoulder pads in there to take up some of that extra fabric, throw a big, and I mean a BIIIG shiny red belt on it, and hit the town running! (And I love Melanie's suggestion about ruching the hem in one or two spots to counteract the preciousness of the ruffles!)

  7. Off with the ruffles. It seems a shame, though. Or just wear the skirt part. The top,is just so big and swallows V. up.

  8. It does look like the ruffles could easily be removed (says this former costumer) at a minimalish cost. Also, I think the v-neck should be deepened just a tad . . . .

  9. I am enthralled with the creative ideas in the above comments. How could I possible add more, except to say that the first photo is killer! The pose, the hat, the GLOVES and Valerie!