The idea of “personal style” is something that gets thrown around quite often these days. The woman responsible for this c1963 collection of items most likely had some very strong ideas about what she liked.
All eight items were made with or covered with the same charming blue fabric, making for a perfectly matched set. The fabric was bought by the wife of an MSU professor in 1963 while they were in Milan, Italy, for a short sabbatical. The department store at which it was bought, La Rinascente, is still in operation today. They don’t appear to sell fabric anymore.
The dress was sewn by a neighbor who was also the wife of an MSU professor. While the dress isn’t haute-couture quality in construction, it was clearly made by someone who was comfortable making clothes. The hand-sewn hem looks very nice on the outside, all the seams are finished, and the darts have been tied off (as opposed to back stitched).
This same neighbor also made the matching purse. The closure, known as a purse frame, and the chain handle would have been bought from a sewing store. From that base many styles of bag would’ve been possible.
The woman who bought the fabric then went on to make the button earnings and cover the shoes. The shoes are particularly interesting because you can see the raw edges of the fabric on the inside. The fabric is just stretched up and around the shoe and then glued in place. What an easy way to customize shoes!
There isn’t any information on who make the matching belt and hat pin. However, it is likely that the dressmaker also made the belt and the hat pin was made by the wife.
The last item in this group is a small hat. A piece of the fabric was given to Erenstine of Okemos, a local hat maker, to be made into this adorable hat.
All of the items in the group seem to be well taken care of, but there is some wear. Most noticeable are a few stains on the front of the dress. Even with these flaws, this group of objects is fascinating!