Thursday, August 5, 2010

5 August 1956 “The Boldness of Mid-Century Interiors and A New Dress…Almost”

I thought for a quick post today I would show the boldness of the 1950’s interior. Now, certainly not all homes had such bold looks, just as today most homes don’t look like magazine shots. But, there was a bravery, an almost innocent brashness in the post war color scheme.
This bedroom has no apologies. And the color combination is like a jewel box with Deep purple and coral pink and touches of teal blue. It makes me think of the colors of a coral reef. pinkpurplebedroomCoral and Fish In fact, when you see this color in the context of nature, you can really see its beauty. And you could even add some orange to this bedroom with pillows and it would work as it does in nature. And you can see the boldness of this color scheme in a bath.bluepinkbathyellowbedroom Here the Golds and Browns remind me of this moth.moth And this same color scheme, with the green of the leaf, works in this dining room of Heywood-Wakefield Furnishing.moderndiningroom
Even the Early American and Colonial mid century home boldness is the key.earlyamericankitchen1The contrast of the rough pine open shelves with the bright modern vinyl floor works because of the deliberateness of the room. The chosen items displayed in the window and on the shelves.
This living room gives me inspiration for my own actual 1700’s house using the bold strokes and colors of mid-century. The clean starkness of a Colonial home is enlivened with a daring pallette of pinks and greens. The inside of the shelves pick up the colors of the sofa fabric and even the pink tones in the brick. pinkandgreenlivingroomThe mid-century decorator had an almost Victorian approach to color. Though they were much more selective with objects than their Victorian ancestors, the colors remind me of the unhindered use of color.victorianhouse There seems to be a deliberateness and confident action in ‘what is right and what should be done’ in many things done in the 1950s. And though there were things we are glad to have moved away from, the feeling of rightness of place and mature decision seems to permeate the decade as a whole. That is something I have truly come to love about my project and the decade.
Now, onto sewing.motherdaughtersewingThat same boldness of color and decision surely hit me in the making of my latest dress. Though it is not yet done, I wanted to share with you my latest attempt.
bluedress1 I found this lovely navy fabric with the dots of red white and a lighter blue. It just screamed vintage, though there was not enough to make an entire dress. So, I chose to match the lighter blue dot and used a solid cotton. The skirt will be the solid blue and trimmed in the patterned fabric. I had wanted to make a peter pan collar, but it did not work out as I had planned. So I am taking the large scale ric rac you see and pinning it and placing it where I would like to cut the new neckline. It will dip in the back like this.bluedress2 Now you can still see the fabric above the ric rac, but I will pin the ric rac down and then cut the new neckline, hem it and attach the rick rack to the neckline. I adore the look and to me it was a natural conclusion. It has a determined action of color and boldness the old me may not have taken, but now, 1956 style, it seems, well, natural. I will share the dress when it is done with how I trimmed the edge of the skirt.
Well, that is it for me today, Happy Homemaking all.


  1. I have also come to love fifties decoration more and more. I have always loved colours, I could never live in a totally white home, as many Danes do. The pink bedroom is adorable and the green living rooms are very elegant, but the pink house looks like something from Disney Land. ;)

    I will look forward to seeing lots of photos of that lovely dress.

    Wishing you both a nice weekend. Both my men are having birthdays, so my parents arrives this afternoon, we will go eat Chinese/sushi (son and I loves sushi, and it is his birthday today – 17, where did all those years go!?). Tomorrow is DH’s birthday (yes, son was a birthday gift – for both of us, first I got pregnant on my birthday, then I gave him back to DH on his birthday!), we’ll have a barbecue party in the garden with lots of guest. I can hardly wait for this work day to end. :)

  2. That sounds so lovely, Sanne.
    I know, I have never been a fan of the painted ladies of the Victorian Era. I think I feel as Edith Wharton did when she wrote The Decoration of Houses and wondered at all the abuse being done to homes in her time (Victorian).
    I, too, find my esthetic's changing. Very odd indeed.
    Happy birthday to your son and eat some sushi for me, we love it as well.

  3. Mmmmm? now you have me thinking, I want to do my bedroom over and have some vintage spreads. my space is very small but does hold a queen size bed, chest of drawers, camphor chest and bedside tables, with space to walk up both sides of the bed, But what color to choose? Thanks for the great ideas but have you found any for making over such small spaces? The 1950 rooms seem so spacious but truely most people would not be building these modern spaces. We would be adapting that "new" home my Grandparents built in the 1930's. off to look for more vintage magazines.....

  4. Jeanne-in fact MOST houses being built in 1950's were very small. Much as today in magazines, larger homes or sets were used to dress for photo shoots.
    I have some fun decorating layouts for small homes in my women's magazines. I was actually going to include one yesterday, but I am trying to do smaller informative posts that happen everyday. If I don't put those up today, I will soon.

  5. I have finally followed the tutorial you gave in January for making a dress without a pattern (After trying to use a pattern I bought this week and deciding it was impossible for any human to comprehend).
    I only made the bodice as you said, and made a regular four paneled skirt- I didn't have enough fabric for either pleats or a full circle- but I'm really thrilled with the results, and I think have been converted from patterns forever, even if just for the bodices.
    I can't wait to see your latest dress completed.

  6. Jess-isn't it simple and wonderful? Once I began sewing I started to think, 'hmmmm I could make that without a pattern'. It's fun to try.
    My next step will be to try and tape off and drape a dress, wish me luck.


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