Monday, June 1, 2009

Claire McCardell Dress

Accession Number: TR.514.2

Label 1: Woman’s Dress, 1954, USA, Claire McCardell, Gift of Sophia Snyder

Label 2: Claire McCardell Clothes by Townley, fabric by Stafford

This is a sleeveless, black silk, bias cut dress. It is high-necked in the front with a gathered fabric detail at each shoulder. The skirt is partially lined and flares out from the waist. The garment closes with a zipper under the left arm.

When deconstructed, the skirt portion of the dress yielded four pieces of lightly textured black silk. The blouse portion of the dress has not been deconstructed at this time.

A commercially available pattern was adapted for this project. Two semi-circular pieces of fabric were cut, as well as a single triangular piece. The two semi-circles were sewn together to form the hat brim and a piece of brim wire was inserted to define the outer edge. The triangular piece of fabric was sewn into a cone shape before being attached to the brim.

The skirt potion of the dress provided enough fabric to make three witch’s hats.

The accession number has been embroidered on the right side of the upper brim of each hat.


  1. Are you serious? Since when did a Claire McCardell dress become an "unwanted item?" Even if the dress is damaged, it has value as an example of the work of one of the great American sportswear designers. I'm all for recycling, but this is irresponsible.

  2. I must say that I would happily wear this dress as well... sigh. Why deconstruct something that still has value?

  3. Nearly ANYthing done in excess is harmful... and this quite frankly takes the "upcycle" or recycle of vintage waaaay too far!

    As a seller & collector of vintage clothing, I find the fate of this McCardell dress both distressing and insulting to the fashion world.