Thursday, June 9, 2011

Scarlett O'Hara - Prayer Dress (white ruffle dress)

I've always loved Gone with the Wind. Scarlett, Rhett, the Civil War and the sweeping melodrama of it all. Very recently a Hollywood pattern of the white prayer dress Scarlett wears in the opening scene was for sale on an auction site.
The dress itself on the pattern didn't look too special to me (too many tiers) but when you see it in the movie pics it looks divine. The delicate ruffles and the red accents - so pretty on Vivien Leigh.
The costumes were designed by Walter Plunkett who was an expert in period costumes and also was the designer for films like Little Women, Father of the Bride, Kiss Me Kate, Showboat and many others. From what I can gather the dress needs over 30 meters of white cotton and the hem circumference is over 6 meters! Each tier is trimmed with lace, the bodice is boned and the dress requires hoops. Wow, a labour of love I would say.

I kept a eye on the pattern and did a bit of research, toying with the idea of bidding for sentimental reasons. Two things surprised me:-
1. The pattern ended up selling for around $100!
and 2. The number of people making, selling, wearing reproduction dress from the movie. Here's a sample

I had no idea of the ongoing popularity of the film or the costumes. But it's fun seeing the time and commitment people make to reproducing these costumes.


  1. I've actually never seen the movie but I read the book last year and adored it - far more than I thought I would. And I particularly loved the descriptions of all Scarlet's dresses, bonnets etc. She was stronger and had much more character than I imagined she would. That link to the dresses people have made is fascinating and kind of hilarious. Who would have thought?

  2. I am "one of these people", lol! I would LOVE to get my mits on this pattern, even tho I have a replica of the gown.

    I just noticed your walk away post and shall have to read that as well~ if you google image search that pattern, it's amazing to see all of the different ones made up! Fun!


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