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Stories from the Sampling Room – The Jitterbug Dress

The Jitterbug dress brings me much joy.

It is a bundle of happiness and optimism personified in a dress. I honestly think that we were channelling this when we started creating it! A tonic to help us stay positive in a very strange year!

We wanted to create a late thirties style dress that was very wearable and would translate easily in our extended size range. Something similar to our best selling 1940s ‘Grable’ dress that emulates the desired silhouette but also meets the demands of the modern wearer. We also wanted the dress to work well as a day/office style and be easily dressed up for evening.

I particularly love the styles of the mid to late 30s – not just because the fashions were so elegant and feminine, but also because of the attention to detail. The shirring (big fans of shirring here!), gathers and pleats on sleeves and around the bust-line creates demure, enhancing and super flattering style lines. Hem lines rose a little after 1937 – which helps the shorter amongst us and the shoulders started to become stronger. So many interesting sleeve styles too!

We had so many design ideas that the first concept took a bit of time to get to – but we are very happy with the design we settled on.

The silhouette of this dress is ‘strong shoulders, bust definition and a smooth sweep in the skirt that skims the figure’. The waistline is nipped in but this is enhanced further by a blouson bodice which reinforces the bust. We spent a lot of time getting the folds and gathers of the bodice right – mindful of washing and ironing too! We love how the neckline of the dress is raised and hugs the back of the neck creating a deep but still modest plunge V neckline. The removable drop bow detail gives that added extra detail and is lined in contrasting colour. My favourite part is the sleeves – which took the longest to get right. These sleeves are extra special – covering the upper arm area and have pleats into the shoulder head and some gorgeous delicate shirring at the cuff.

We are consciously trying to produce styles that work well on different shapes and sizes. The combination of our rayon/viscose crepe on the upper with a stretch heavier crepe on the bottom gave us extra confidence for consistency of fit. The upper design lends itself to varying bust sizes whilst the stretch in the lower will accommodate and latter the waistline. We will be offering this style up to a size 24.

There’s something special about this and we hope you love it as much as we did making it!



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