Two-piece ball dress

Though appearing simple and understated, this dress is made from an incredibly complex Paris Vogue Original pattern by Jacques Griffe. The faux ribbons emerge from real bound buttonholes and the over top is cut as one single bias piece. Worn to the Ministry of Works Ball in Wellington in 1965 where her brother worked, Clare Smith recalls that balls were an important part of the social scene in the 1960s. It was the beautiful finishes and detailed point of differences a Vogue pattern provided the home sewer, as well as the smell and the feel of a good quality fabric, which attracted and inspired Clare. The fabric was purchased from Thompson’s on Willis Street, where fabrics such as bamboo silks were enjoying a moment of popularity. Read more about the history of home sewing in the New Zealand Fashion Museum publication Home Sewn.


Credit: Clare Smith, Kaitaia
Copyright: Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 Licence
Maker: Clare Smith
Garment type: Two-piece ball dress
Material: Thai satin
Purchase location: The fabric was purchased from Thompson’s in Wellington
Date: 1965