Vintage Find: Fuschia Brocade 60’s Shift

I had no hesitation putting this into the changing room when I found it on the racks at my favourite vintage store:

I whisked it on over top of the dress I was wearing and gasped OMG it’s perfect!
Even though it was a size too big.
That’s easily fixed, I sew – right?
Even though it was a fabric composition resembling Crimplene.
That’s alright, I can still wear it in spring, and autumn, and winter…
Even though it had a stain on the CF chest.
That is not good.  
That’s not exactly where you could put a brooch either.  
I wonder if it will wash out.
Mmm $45…
Very risky…
I took the risk.
The stain came out with a quick rinse in Wool Mix.
And I’m so happy with my new dress!

Now fuschia is my new favourite colour – to be precise this is the colour of Dark Pink Geraniums!  I intended to photograph it in front of our neighbours awesome pink geranium hedge, but it rained and rained and rained and all the geraniums fell off.  Which helps explain why our garden is looking so green at the moment!  And the umbrella!

I removed the sleeve and took it in a bit, took in the side seams down to my high hip area, then reset the sleeve – basically taking the bodice down a size to fit me.  Looking inside you can tell why Crimplene was so popular with manufacturers – they didn’t have to finish the seams!

The thread used in the making of this dress must be pure cotton, and very near the end of its life as it snapped so easily.  There is an amateur-but-cute repair in the CB seam where this must have happened to an unsuspecting wearer:


I even found a rusty old pin holding up part of the hem!

It has an old-fashioned lapped zip with a hook and eye closure, and look my Canadian friends – it’s Made in Canada! It also has this union label sewn to the CB seam – I presume this indicates that the manufacturer met union imposed regulations or something.

If you’ve ever read my post on darts you might be interested in seeing some real drill holes.  You don’t often notice them but they are quite noticeable on this synthetic fabric – you can just see the one above, and this one at the shoulder dart has a scorch mark indicating a hot drill was used: 

I’m thrilled with my new find, – isn’t it great when you find something that is really ‘you’?  Have you found any gems lately while op-shopping/thrifting?  Do share!

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Designer, Patternmaker, Blogger Of All Things Sewing. Follow as I share projects, patterns, and my favourite tricks of the trade.

17 thoughts on “Vintage Find: Fuschia Brocade 60’s Shift

  1. You look wonderful in your (old) new dress! Crimplene certainly was popular some time ago. I only remember hating it, because my mother's machine didn't sew it too well. Skipped stitches galore!


  2. Oopsie, made a French mistake so republishing:

    Crimplene, really? It may not be, if you can stand to wear it 🙂 The Crimplene I remember was hard and scratchy and would have been quite impervious to stains.

    So far as I know, the tag just means the garment was made in a unionized shop by members of the ILGWU (Int'l Ladies' Garment Workers' Union – in French UIOVD – Union internationale des ouvriers du vêtement pour dames).


  3. Found a rayon velveteen jacket — Koret brand — in moss green and medium brown wide stripes. Chevroned on yoke. Edges bound with green faux suede. Beautiful buttons, for which I originally bought it, but the jacket fits me perfectly and all who see it admire it and think that I sewed it up. Cost me $4.75 US. Worth every penny.
    Love that deep rose color on you. Too bad about the geranium hedge!


  4. Kay – thanks for that – I was wondering what all those letters meant!
    I am only guessing that it is Crimplene and could be very wrong – this is quite wearable as long as there is low humidity!


  5. It's gorgeous. It looks like crimplene to me. Maybe there were different types. I love the embossed look that patterned crimplene has. I have a purple one with flowers on it in my stash that I keep meaning to make a cropped jacket out of.


  6. What a blast from the past! As a teenager I sewed many shift dresses out of similar fabric for my mom and my aunt. It was easy to sew and easy to wash but I couldn't stand wearing the stuff myself. They loved their synthetic dresses but I always felt hot and sweaty in it.

    Thanks for the memories!


  7. the dress looks great on you, but I could never wear crimpolene. My mother wore nothing but crimpolene in bold, fluoro colours. I could always see her coming!


  8. What a wonderful dress, Sherry. I'm not sure I could stand crimpolene (what is it exactly?), but I love the texture & color. This tutorial, like all your other great ones, demonstrate what a great online teacher you'd be! I want you to start filming the class you'll be teaching…I'll sign up.

    You look great in that color, too.



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