When Minerva sent out their new selection of plaid Jacquards, Netflix’ The Queen’s Gambit was fresh in my mind, as well as a revived infatuation for A-line dresses and checkered patterns. The show follows the rise of fictional chess prodigy Beth Harmon and, among other things, is a beautiful sartorial homage to the 50s and 60s. Costume designer Gabriele Binder did an incredible job at incorporating squares and checks into Harmon’s wardrobe, the vast majority of which was apparently handmade by Binder’s team. (Sounds like a dream job to me!)
All that to say, I was inspired to make a classic A-line dress with Minerva’s shimmery geometric Jacquard.
Modern Jacquard fabrics can be made from a variety of different fibers (natural cottons, silks, man-made polyester, polyester cotton blends etc) but all of them have in common their method of construction: the design is woven into the fabric itself, rather than stamped, printed, or embroidered on top of it. Historically, it is believed that Jacquard looms were the most complicated pieces of machinery in the world until the invention of computers. In fact, the punch cards used by early computers were based on the Jacquard system. Pretty neat! Of course nowadays, Jacquard looms use computers, not cards, to weave the pattern.
Simplicity 8254 is a classic 60s A-line dress featuring a high neckline with slit, a choice of sleeveless or long sleeve and a front insert.
It’s a reproduction of 69 Simplicity 8537 and part of the Vintage Simplicity line that came out a few years ago. I was reminded of it while watching The Queen’s Gambit. During the chess tournament in Russia, Beth Harmon wears a two-tone mod dress with strong design lines not unlike Simplicity 8254 and its front insert. I used the reverse side of the fabric for the sleeves and the front insert. I tried to match the plaid pattern so the change in colours is subtle but it still makes the insert design feature a little more visible.
Overall, I enjoyed making this little dress and am pleased with how it turned out. It sure adds some 60s London Biba’s zest to my cold winter days here in Montreal. Many thanks to Minerva for the beautiful Jacquard fabric!
- Pattern is Simplicity 8254
- Fabric is Polyester Geometric Jacquard in Copper provided by Minerva in exchange for a post on Minerva website
- Size is10. I shortened the bodice by 1 inch. I removed another 1 inch just below the hip, and another 3 inches at the hem. The fabric felt a bit too heavy for the amount of ease of the design, so . The slimmer fit is much more to my liking.