Diminutive Dior

Diminutive Dior

In our never ending quest to bring you all things half size, here’s another visual treat for you. In this video clip the nice folks at Dior have reproduced a delightfully feminine dress called “Miss Dior” from their Spring/Summer haute couture collection of 1949. Less than four years since the end of the Second World War this kind of frothy, indulgent offering would have been a breath of fresh air after the restrictions and shortages endured during the conflict in Europe.
At first you can see the full size dress on the mannequin before quickly being introduced to the diminutive “half size” mannequin. The seamstress is placing muslin fabric pieces to the mannequin clearly showing the intended silhouette of the final piece. A concealed zip runner can also be seen in this shot at the top of the bodice. I mean, how cute is that? Note that it is on the left hand side of the dress, as it should be! Another interesting thing to note is the black tape running over the mannequin in strategic places. These lines correspond to markings on the paper pattern block; markings such as centre front, centre back and bust line, waist, hip etc. They are used to help keep the pattern balanced and the grain lines running straight. They keep you on track. If you are pattern drafting and using any mannequin, half size or full then taping up the mannequin is a good idea before you start.
We are then treated to a clear sequence showing how each dainty little flower is made. It’s incredible to see them being cut from the fabric and taking shape with judicious application of pressure and heat; such diligence and skill.
Just pause for a minute to absorb the vision that is the hand wound stems on the small bunches. Think about this when you see the end result and all the different flowers on it. It takes your breath away.
At 1:01 you can clearly see the entire shape of the dress fabric laid out with all the little flowers sewn on before being cut out. This is a great insight into how couture garments of this kind are made. So much work goes into it before it’s even cut out. Patience is a job requirement here.
The way it comes together is exquisite; the dressmaker pins and sews it on to the mannequin, showing the construction lines with the excess folded over. Notice how it fits perfectly. The meticulous attention to detail is amazing. My favourite part is when she lifts the skirt to offer it up to the mannequin. You can see the weight of the flowers on that tulle, giving it depth and substance. And the little waistband, oh, words fail me!
And finally she pirouettes in her finery before her big sister. Was there ever anything more charming than this? It gives me goose bumps.