I was a little girl when I first saw Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella from 1965, starring Lesley Ann Warren. I fell in love with it completely and wholeheartedly, and no other version can so far compete with it in my eyes. Certainly, the set is a bit too stylized for my taste, and the costumes are not period – but then, it is a Hollywood interpretation of the Middle Ages from the 60’s, so not much should be expected. Some of the costumes are charming nonetheless. The cast and characters however are just what I think they should be: Cinderella is beautiful, meek and scared of confrontation as she should (if she weren’t she’d not got herself in that serving position to start with); the Prince has a charming personality, and is so sweet when left by the mysterious girl; the King and Queen a fine, properly regal couple; Cinderella’s step-family a fun mix of meanness and comical relief. Unfortunately it’s no longer available on DVD. If it’s ever released again I’ll be one of the first to buy it.
As you might guess, little B was coming to me when this picture was taken.
I imagine more than one little girl wanted Cinderella’s ball gown, and it is beautiful, though I’d have liked it better with sleeves; it would have fitted in better with the medieval-ish theme. However, being a bit of a Plain Jane I always loved Cinderella’s simple work dress better. The same kind of dresses can be seen on some of the extras. I love how they all have not only blouses, but whole dresses under those sleeveless ones.
I’ve had an olive-greenish cotton twill fabric in my stash since I was in my late teens, and never could quite decide what to make from it. Recently I decided I wanted a plain Cinderella dress, and this fabric would be perfect for it.
I did not want to make a reproduction; I just wanted the same feeling, so my dress in constructed in a different way than the movie costume. The bodice is made from four panels, based on my old blue Belle dress, and all fitting is in those four seams, so no darts. I like the clean look it gives. The cotton lining and fashion fabric are treated as one, and all bodice seams are piped, as are the neckline, sleeve holes and the waist seam.
It closes in the back with hooks and eyes. The bodice is hand sewn, as I am not best friends with my sewing machine, and piping turns out much nicer if I do it by hand.
It took me a bit of thinking to figure out how to do the skirt. I wanted a ¾ circle skirt, but I couldn’t fit all three panels and still get the length I wanted. After a while I realized I could piece the skirt at the hem in the back. Duh. Had this been a period dress it would have taken no thinking at all to figure that out – with historic clothing piecing is a matter of cause. Excuse the wrinkles: the picture were taken after wearing the dress for a few hours.
The skirt has pleats at the waist at the front, back and sides, and sewn in smooth in between, and the hem is hand stitched. As with the mid 1800’s common dress, I lost weight between cutting out the bodice and finishing it, so after the dress was done I had to take it in five centimetres, which is about two inches. I can’t understand that it was so much too large, as I don’t think I’ve lost that much weight, but I don’t think the fabric has stretched either. Now it fits well again; almost too well, just in case I’ll loose some more weight.
I really like this dress style, and will very likely make more. I wore the dress for church today, but worn with tricot tops, or coloured, more sturdy blouses it could easily work for everyday.