1950s Death



Anne Marije van der Meer

(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

My Janome New My Style sewing machine.

Outline the story …

My costume is meant for the character Death from graphic novel series “The Sandman” by Neil Gaiman. She is, as you might guess, the personification of death and is depicted as a young goth woman who wears casual modern clothes. However whenever the graphic novel shows other time periods, like Elizabethan, the characters wear clothing fitting to that era. I imagined what Death might wear if she were to visit the 1950s for this competition entry.
I didn’t really draw a design but looking at pictures on the internet for inspiration I decided to make a black swing dress with a black lace overlay as this felt fitting. Of course this required proper undergarments so I also made knickers, a waist clincher and a petticoat. I attempted to make a strapless bullet bra but sadly this was beyond my sewing abilities.

Outline the construction…

Knickers: I used pattern “Linen Knickers, 1940s” from “Vintage Lingerie” by Jill Salen, only adjusted for fit. The fabric is a light black cotton and I used some elastic from my stash. It’s machine sewn with the seams hand finished to make elastic channels.

Waist clincher: The pattern is “Strapless Brassiere and Waist Clincher, 1950s” again from “Vintage Lingerie” by Jill Salen, only adjusted a little bit for fit. The construction I made up and is probably not accurate for any era. It’s single layer coutil brocade(viscose/cotton mix), power mesh, pre made boning channels, plastic boning, bra hook band, grommets and satin bias band.
I machine sewed the different pieces together but hand sewed the seam finishes and boning channels. It had to be patched due to damage.

Petticoat: I used pattern “#7309 1950’s skirt & petticoat” from Mrs Depew Vintage. For fabric I used polyester taft and polyester tulle. Construction wise I used French seams except for the waist and zipper seam. The tule ruffle was machine zigzagged on.

Dress: The top part is from “Simplicity New Look 6392” (version B) much adjusted for fit, the skirt is a self-drafted full circle skirt. Construction wise, I tried to French seam as much as possible. I put in the sleeves by hand but otherwise it is all machine stitched. The skirt ended up being slightly small so I patched in an extra gore at the back. Materials: lace (cotton/polyamide mix), satin (polyester), satin bias band.




  1. Avatar Lili on March 12, 2021 at 12:08 am

    I love the idea of a 1950s Death. I also don’t mind that there’s no bullet bra and I love you posed with bare feet. It makes Death seem like she’s comfortable wherever she is. You could wear that dress anywhere. Beautiful lace.

    • Avatar Anne Marije van der Meer on March 16, 2021 at 4:20 pm

      Thank you, I posed with bare feet because it felt weird to wear like bright modern socks with this

  2. Avatar Elena Migliorin on March 13, 2021 at 10:29 am

    I am in love with this dress! I think you did a great job since it matches very well the theme you’ve chosen and the skirt flows really nicely. All the best for the competition!

    • Avatar Anne Marije van der Meer on March 16, 2021 at 4:21 pm

      Thanks a lot!

  3. Avatar Manon L'Hostis on March 14, 2021 at 12:52 pm

    This dress is lovely ! The black lace looks so elegant combined with the 50’s shape. And you did a great job and so many different pieces, well done!

  4. Avatar Lorna on March 15, 2021 at 8:49 pm

    very beautiful dress, love the corset, came out really well

  5. Avatar AnnaCatherine Sendgikoski on March 24, 2021 at 5:00 am

    I love this dress. That clincher is awesome! So well done! Thank you!

  6. Avatar Peta Pendlebury on March 29, 2021 at 3:50 pm

    Lovely underwear too! I must get that book.

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