Hair flowers: Arden
White rose stud earrings: Claire's
Green 1930s beaded necklace: Jewelry seller in Okanagan Falls
Grey knit shrug: Fairweather
Handmade 1940s reproduction pinafore dress: Rosy from Sewing Adicta
Pink plastic rose bracelet: Walmart
Yellow plastic rose bracelet: Thrifted (from Value Village
Grey vintage handbag: etsy seller Running Rabbit Studio
Nude seemed stockings: eBay
White pumps: Payless
Lipstick colour: Clinique Raspberry Glace
Photography by Antonio Cangiano
♥ ♥ ♥
As the summer wound to a close, one of the most incredible - and show stoppingly beautiful - of these gifts arrived all the way from Spain.
Sewing is a skill that I admire greatly. It's not an art I'm proficient in to much of any real degree (I know the basics, but that's about it), nor one that's very easy for me to manage from a physical standpoint (due to some of my medical problems), so I love to live out my sewing dreams vicariously through other peoples' blogs and incredible creations.
One of my favourite sewing blogs in the whole wide world, called Sewing Adicta, just happens to belong to an incredibly talented woman named Rosy, who share my passion for the past, as well as a love of feminine styles and timeless fashions. Rosy and I have been commenting on each other's sites for a while now, forming a friendship in the process, and earlier this year, she contacted me by email to ask if I would like for her to design a garment of my choice to receive a gift.
I was stopped in my tracks by her thoughtfulness and generosity, and of course said yes to this incredible offer. Rosy proposed some ideas of garments that she could make for me, and one of them instantly triggered a memory for me of a dress that I'd fallen madly in love with during the summer of 2012, but which, I kid not, sold mere hours before I was finally in a position to purchase it. This dress was a charming blue and white floral print 1940s summer pinafore dress (something that I really see a must-have vintage wardrobe item) that stole my heart and which, for about three weeks, I envisioned would become mine.
Fate had other plans in mind however, and alas, another shopper beat me to it. I've had this same situation occur many times over the years on both etsy and eBay alike, and after a while, the memory those pieces that got away starts to fade (if not disappear entirely) from your mind, but there are always a few that linger boldly, refusing to be forgotten (at least until you find a similar piece that you're finally able to add to your closest). That forties pinafore dress was just one such piece for me, and as I'd held onto a photograph from the etsy listing all this time, I showed it to Rosy and asked it she might be able to make me a dress that was akin to it.
Much to my immense delight, she said that she could and that she'd soon set to work searching for similar fabrics. What about a pattern, I hear you asking - good question! Rosy is one of the mind-blowingly talented sewers who is so skilled that she can create a garment simply from seeing a photo of it (or dreaming up a pattern in her head). All she needed was the photo I shared with her, my measurements, the right fabric, a bit of time, and before I knew it, she had brought to life the most phonemically pretty vintage reproduction pinafore dress I could ever have imagined.
Zipping across the world all the way from Rosy's sewing room in Spain to my doorstep in Penticton, the dress arrived in pristine condition and could not, hand on my heart, possibly have fit any better. Over the years there have been times when I've likened a garment to fitting as though it was custom made, but it wasn't until I actually wore a dress created around my exact measurements and body shape that I knew what that expression truly meant firsthand.
Rosy's dress is an incredibly pretty work of expertly made, vintage inspired art. Every seam, every line, ever ruffle and detail is perfection, much like the custom fit itself. Rosy cleverly included a built in pettiskirt layer under the skirt portion of the dress to give it a bit of extra volume and feminine flounce, not to mention warmth on chillier summer nights. I love this unexpected addition, much as I wholeheartedly adore the entire dress itself.
Since it's arrival, I've worn this dress multiple times, now alternating between putting a cardigan over it (it's sleeveless) or tucking a classic white or pale yellow blouse (my Brooks Brothers one that you may recall from this outfit) underneath. Though a frock like is naturally well suited to the warmer months, with a bit of layering magic, it can see one through all four seasons, no matter if the mercury is boiling or frozen solid.
A bespoke garment like this is a rare and wonderful gift indeed, and it was one that I felt really called for a special location to highlight its beauty in. There aren't a huge number of public gardens around these parts, but a quick Google search led Tony and I to one in the nearby city of Kelowna called Guisachan Park, which neither of us had ever been to, let alone even so much as heard of, before.
Early one late summer's evening, we pulled up to the garden (called Cameron Gardens) and the gorgeous Edwardian home (turned restaurant) on its grounds and were, save for a couple folks who quickly strolled through the walking path, the only people there for nearly an hour, as we shot off oodles of photographs amongst the classic garden setting with its bounty of lush roses and other timelessly pretty blooms.
Much like Rosy's marvelous dress, this garden is a standout gem. I can scarcely believe I'd lived in the Okanagan for so many years throughout my life and never once heard tell of it. I adore finding new-to-me spots like this and am sure this won't be our only visit to Guisachan Park (I'd imagine it looks breathtaking under a carpet of pristine winter snow, too).
If you would also like to own your own custom made piece created by Rosy, you can contact her anytime via her website or on Facebook. She's always open to taking new on new customers and projects - just tell her what you want, you two will discuss the specs and budget, and she'll be thrilled to help your dream of a personally tailored garment spring to life.
When a garment or other items that I'm yearning for gets away from me, I always try to console myself by saying that it wasn't meant to and that something even better will come along one day (an outlook my mother wisely instilled in me at a young age). For the rest of time, this story - of the etsy dress that didn't happen and of the magnificent handmade dress from Rosy that came to call my closet home instead - will stand as the most shining example possible of that philosophy for me.
In hindsight, I'm happy that the etsy dress went to someone else, because it meant that I got to have a beautiful bespoke 1940s reproduction ruffled pinafore of my very own made by an exceptionally skilled, and endlessly dear, friend instead.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart, sweet Rosy, I will cherish this special floral print frock forever.