Did you know that there have been three movies made call State Fair and not one of them has been set in Minneapolis, Minnesota? There is the 1933 version, the 1945 version, and the 1962 version, although that last one is apparently worthless. Obviously the 1945 version is the best, because it is equal parts classic and deeply troubling (for SO many reasons, but like, these pigs communicate with each other and everyone gets drunk and it’s just, it’s a lot), but it has the BEST costumes for it’s female star, Jeanne Crain , which were all designed by Rene Hubert. That said, it’s a bummer because the actress was dubbed in this movie. Sigh. Lame. Didn’t you people see Singing in the Rain? Dubbing is evil!
BUT THE COSTUMES:
This is a fact that will, no doubt, enrage and sadden my new sister-in-law, Becca, when she reads it, because according to her, the Minnesota State Fair is the greatest state fair of all and she is prepared to fight anyone who says otherwise. I gotta say, she’s small, but she’s feisty, and I’d put my money on her to win. Now, I have not been to another state fair that I remember (my mother keeps insisting that I did attend the Pennsylvania State Fair as an infant but honestly, if you don’t remember it, did it really happen?) and I would agree with Becca that the Minnesota State Fair is massive and magnificent, although honestly, if I didn’t agree I would probably keep it to myself because, well, see above.
This is how Becca probably feels about the fact that the 1945 State Fair isn’t set in Minnesota:
Anyway, I recently attended this real state fair, not the fictional one depicted over and over again in these movies (why…was this such a popular genre? In India they have these things called melas which are like fairs but millions of people come and scientists think the 1850’s cholera epidemic that decimated London and lead to my favorite non-fiction book ever , and that’s a theme in movies because people can literally lose their families there, but this is like, a place where people eat cheese curds and look at farm animals, I don’t get it). This event might actually have been the most American thing I have ever done in my life, and I knew I needed to dress the part. And what is more American, more state-fair appropriate, than gingham?
I mean, just look at this. Of the two, count em, TWO pinafores Jeanne Crain wears in State Fair, ONE of them is gingham:
Or maybe it’s just striped squares? CLOSE ENOUGH, people. You know it’s state-fair appropriate. It’s as American as apple pie, or nut roll, which is a thing we had at the fair:
I’m not going to lie to you, attending was an intense life experience. There were so many people that what’s-his-face and I joked that we were back in India, but, ya know, without as many Indians. But, it was also very interesting! We enjoyed seeing more types of rabbits than we knew existed:
and learning about how goats are judged (milk OR meat, but not both!):
and learning the wonder that is the cheese curd!
Everything can be on a stick:
Except for corn, which comes on its own stick:
Many things were cute at the fair, but I would venture to say that my dress was up there among the cutest because HOW CUTE IS THIS DRESS?
The pattern is a vintage one, Simplicity 3044. I can’t even remember where I got it, maybe a pattern box from Ebay from long ago?
I’ve had it for a while, but never tried it out before. I was suspicious of the “slenderette” label, but I simply adjusted the bust to be fuller and the rest was fine. God bless vintage patterns and their comfortable/generous ease! I also made the skirt a little more flared, with the old “eyeball it” method that I am so into that is so unprofessional but totally works so…whatever! It’s a 1960’s pattern, and I couldn’t resist the adorable collar, it’s just the top.
I literally made a version of number 1 down to the fabric and I’m okay with that. I cut that part on the bias, just as the illustration implies, and I love how it turned out.
The construction for this was very simple, frankly. It’s unlined, and the collar is faced, which I normally hate, but it works with this, and I stitched the facing down at the zipper and shoulder seams to avoid the thing I hate about facing, aka the flip out.
The back of the collar is awful adorable, and I’m proud of those points!
Gotta do a second back shot, in honor of that collar. It’s up there with my best collars ever. Is there a hall of fame for that? There should be!
The wind was swishing the skirt around, but I can assure you, the skirt checks match up!
These pigs were not as enthused by my dress as I was.
I feel like State Fair is ready for a new update! And may I suggest a change of location? Minnesota, perhaps? It’s a friendly place for a fair!
Look at those open arms from that slightly terrifying beaver sculpture! Doesn’t that inspire song in your heart?
Have you been to a state fair? Or a mela? Or something in between? What would YOU wear?