I haven’t made a Design Inspiration post for a while! I’ve been focusing so much on “business” work I haven’t had a chance lately to let my imagination wander as it pleases, so it was fun to take some time out earlier today to hunt vintage pattern inspiration…
Dickeys are common enough in vintage sewing, in fact several of my favorite dresses feature dickeys. A dickey uses very little fabric, and even when the entire thing is hand-sewn it takes little time to create. It’s a small way to add interesting detail to an otherwise simple cut (or go nuts on the cut and throw in a dickey! that works too!). It’s also a great way to use a pretty piece of fabric that might not work for an entire garment.
But first- the U-shaped neckline. It’s steeper than a standard scoop, which perhaps allows it to reach just a little deeper- or maybe that’s a visual effect. (Is that a roll collar on the blue?)
The envelope back description reads:
Butterick 5826; ca. 1951; One-Piece Tailored Dress: Bias Bodice. Wonderfully slim dress that will do just the right things for you. Horseshoe neckline bodice teams with a wing-collared dickey which contrasts the dress in (A). Contrast cuffs on three-quarter sleeves (A). Long sleeves (B).
I love this description, especially the phrase “horseshoe neckline..teams with a wing-collared dickey.” I prefer “horseshoe” to “u-shaped,” don’t you? Winged collars are easy to sew and look enchanting.
This dickey-bodice combination is a little wider, and looks heavily pintucked. I like pintucking, myself, but I think a plain or even a lace piece could look quite pretty.
I’m also fuller up top, and can say from experience that anything to break up the bulk without adding to it works really well on my figure. These envelope ladies are a bit slimmer, but it still looks nice.
Advance 5605 carries on the pleated-dickey-tux vibe, with the inclusion of some shaped lapels. A dickey paired with this type of collar was super popular in vintage patterns from the late 40’s to mid 50’s. I don’t love them, but don’t hate them either. What do you think?
Moving away from pleats, this inset/dickey from the early 60’s creates extra visual interest in a wrapped dress. To me, this looks like “desk job/smart clothes” more than something I might wear every day…
At first glance, this horseshoe-neckline-dickey might also seem unsuitable for day wear. But strip off the gloves, fancy fabrics and accessories. Imagine a very lightweight dickey fabric and a simple, secure edging. Can you see it? Do you like it?
This dress (another Advance, I love their work) shows that the neckline works both with and without its dickey.
This dickey, like many others, is completely detachable. I assume with snaps sewn to the inner neckline. The cuffs are also detachable. I did this on my McCalls 3370 (pictured above at the top of this post, pre-blog) and it worked pretty well, though it took extra time to dress in the morning.
In fact, dickies under other names have been around for centuries. I well remember making Elizabethan partlets for historical re-enactments and theatre. Click here for an interesting read on men and women wearing dicki- I mean, partlets through history.
A close relative to the dickey is the bib-front. As far as I can ascertain, the difference between a bib and a dickey is both depth and detachability. Perhaps bibs should also be made of a similar fabric as the rest of the blouse, while dickeys are intended to replicate a layering effect?
This is a modern bib-front-dickey-peter-pan-collar-lace-and-rickrack thing. Despite myself, I find it rather charming. Perhaps green with a white contrast and pink accent, or any shirt color other than that despondent plum.
What do you think? Have you worn/sewn dickeys before? Did you like them? How do you like the Horseshoe Neckline? For a look at more of my recent inspiration images, check out my pinboard.