Wanted: Airship Hostesses

by Erin on May 29, 2008

So, for a little while now, India and I have been trading links to patterns for airship-hostess dresses. (You know, what the flight attendant on the dirigible wears?)

Like this:

Advance 5220

Or this:

Vogue 1362

Or this:


Advance 5368

[Thanks to Beth B. for the last link]

I mean, I've found SPACE dirigible-crew dresses before, but for some reason these above are more suited to atmospheric travel.

What makes an airship-hostess dress, you ask? I think it's a combination of asymmetry, buttons, and a longish A-line skirt. Interesting collars and pockets are good, too. If the dress would look good with a tiny pillbox hat with a cockade, that's another plus.

I don't know why I'm so tickled by these dresses. Maybe it's the allure of steampunk (I like the idea of an art-deco kind of steampunk), or maybe it's that I've been flying a lot lately and am wistful for the idea of quiet, elegant airship travel (now! with fewer Hindenburgs!). Who knows why … all I know is that I want to see more of them! Suggestions welcome.

(Oh, and btw, India, I'll have you know, is so deeply saturated with win that she made this Flickr set: A Daily Hint From Paris. Take a look … there are only a baker's dozen or so right now so it won't kill your WHOLE morning.)

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Toby Wollin May 29, 2008 at 8:20 am

Dirigibles make me think of the Indiana Jones film “Last Crusade” and Jones’ throwing the Nazi guy out of the window, turning around to everyone and saying, “No Ticket” and everyone waving their passes around. I think with those dresses, it’s the off-center closing and the pockets that make them look so ‘handy’ and ‘useful’ – as if those air hostesses actually have more than a used hanky and a fuzzy mint in the bottom of them. A Swiss Army knife or some little packet that you could dunk into boiling water that would make a whole meal or something like that.

Reply

Latter-Day Flapper May 29, 2008 at 8:27 am

[Cute “Twilight Zone” theme . . . }I was just wondering the other day if there were any Deco-based indie style movements out there.I was thinking of it more from a punk/sock-hopper fusion rockabilly angle, but steampunk would be fun, too.

Reply

Laura May 29, 2008 at 9:13 am

Love the dresses!But if it’s “quiet, elegant airship travel” you long for, dirigibles are not going to do it for you. I have ridden in a blimp, and they are so freaking loud it’s unbelievable. Then again, maybe the ones designed for carting the well-to-do across the Atlantic had better sound insulation than the ones that currently circle sports arenas.

Reply

Terri May 29, 2008 at 9:44 am

The first one is just perfect. I love the zig-zagging seams on the bodice.

Reply

Anonymous May 29, 2008 at 10:01 am

You may be pleased to know that airship travel is returning. Soon, you’ll be able to fly out out Moffett Field in Mountain View, CA (with hangars big enough to hold an airship, although Airship Ventures will not be using Hangar One, I believe) for sightseeing trips over/to various locations in California. Imagine floating over Yosemite.http://airshipworld.blogspot.com/2008/05/airshipventures-has-done-it-zeppelin-nt.htmlandhttp://www.airshipventures.com/There are job openings, but none for Airship Hostess — yet. I’m sure that’s an oversight that will be attended to after they have a ground crew and pilots.CMC

Reply

patsijean May 29, 2008 at 10:18 am

My husband loves dirigibles and has done a lot or research into those airships. He also was the USA member of a conference in Paris discussing the design of solar sails. That said:I love the steampunk look. It is not for me, but that does not make it less interesting. I haven’t been to DragonCon in years, too gamer oriented for me and too hard to find anyone over 25, but at other Cons, the room party promoters tell me the Con has changed. I guess so. We may have to reconsider and attend.

Reply

Rebecca May 29, 2008 at 10:31 am

Erin–Did you notice how many of those daily hints from Paris feature a “bolero”? I couldn’t quite work it out from the drawings, but I think at least some of them must be faux…the “indoor” dress in Liberty velvet is a particular favorite of mine, especially since one wouldn’t have to make it mauve.

Reply

India May 29, 2008 at 11:11 am

Aw, shucks. [blushes]

Reply

Cordelia May 29, 2008 at 11:34 am

Art deco steampunk! I love it!

Reply

wundermary May 29, 2008 at 11:56 am

In 1996, the Smithsonian celebrated it’s sesquicentennial with a touring show of important artifacts. The show was hastily planned and underfunded, it closed after visiting only three cities. Fortunately, I was able to catch it in Providence, before it folded. There were large exhibits in the lobby, containing objects representing the sponsors of the exhibit. One of them was an airline, I think it was TWA. There were glass cases full of all sorts of things, representing what would typically be found in the cabin during different eras. The most interesting things to me were the stewardess uniforms. There was a severe 40′s suit that had the letters of the airline done in huge cutwork, it was the entire lapel on one side. More bizarre were a series of costumes from the 60′s. One was the (now) classic paper dress. One had a bizarre helmet type hat, with a very short dress. Another represented a series of theme flights: it was a modernized version of the Grecian gown. It was so short, you could not have bent over or reached up without giving someone an eyeful. This looks like the series it was part of: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pradagirl/1796315126/Also, this person has some really wacky space-age stewardess getups in their photo stream.

Reply

Cookie May 29, 2008 at 1:01 pm

The dirigible dresses seem to be designed with very secure necklines and bodices, so they don’t flap open in the wind. These would also provide something solid to hold onto if the air hostesses had to drag passengers from a wreck.BEHOLD my final picture! I think I successfully airbrushed away the lopsided “fang” effect. I may have to touch up the complexion a bit when I get a better paint system…but I want to take some risks with my sewing and not pull any all-nighters, and this chick looks fairly jazzy and lighthearted. Thanks to all for bearing with my kaleidoscope of slightly schizophrenic images :)

Reply

Anonymous May 29, 2008 at 3:18 pm

Thanks for the links, CMC! DH has always dreamed of riding on a zeppelin and I’ve been wanting to get back out to the west coast for a vacation! -Kit

Reply

Velvet Plaza May 29, 2008 at 4:47 pm

I wanna be steampunk!

Reply

Velvet Plaza May 29, 2008 at 4:47 pm

I wanna be steampunk!

Reply

Jen May 29, 2008 at 6:19 pm

I have to be alot older that you Erin, because when I visualize that airship hostess costume, I can’t get away from the silhouette of the severe, Adrian style suits of the 40′s–still asymetrical, but tight and narrow. (if I were older still, it would probably be an earlier 1930′s Joan Crawford version, still by Adrian–who wasn’t afraid of women with shoulders)(like this one at Sydneys vintage clothing: http://www.sydneysvintageclothing.com/cart/products/Vintage_40_s_Gilbert_Adrian_Sculptured_Fitted_Knight_Button_Suit-12590-189.html)

Reply

Myra May 29, 2008 at 6:55 pm

Erin, I emailed you an ebay link for a cool dress pattern that might fit the criteria. By the way, what is “steampunk”?

Reply

jujubee May 29, 2008 at 11:18 pm

Thanks to CMC for the link about Airship Ventures. My ears perked up when I read the words “Moffett Field” – I used to go to the air shows there with my dad! How cool!I have a question for Erin or any one else… I’ve recently started looking for shirtdress patterns and came across two by McCall’s: M5378 and M5609. To me, they look exactly the same, but they’re priced differently and one is “easy” while the other has no such designation. Can anyone detect any difference in the designs?Thanks!

Reply

velvet plaza May 30, 2008 at 12:11 am

cookie- so glad you got your pic right

Reply

velvet plaza May 30, 2008 at 12:13 am

jujubee do you have a link or pic of the patterns?

Reply

Vegan May 30, 2008 at 1:26 am

Wow – I never heard of steampunk, but I love the esthetic! I’ve been into art deco collectibles and vintage fashion for years, but steampunk is a whole new level! Thanks for the link!

Reply

Claire May 30, 2008 at 5:45 am

*raises hand at the back of class* What’s a cockade?

Reply

Velvet Plaza May 30, 2008 at 7:17 am

cockade: a rosette, ribbon, or other ornament worn, usually on a hat, as an identifying badge or as part of a livery

Reply

jujubee May 30, 2008 at 12:05 pm

Hi velvet plaza, here are the links to the two dresses:5378: http://www.mccallpattern.com/item/M5378.htm5609: http://www.mccallpattern.com/item/M5609.htmWhen I click on the links, my browser gives a message about post cache or something, but it still works. Otherwise, a search on the McCall’s site for the pattern #s should work.Thanks!

Reply

Chantelle May 30, 2008 at 12:24 pm

I was just watching Project Catwalk – the UK version of Project Runway – and the latest challenge was to redesign uniforms for a local airline. The designs were pretty and functional but could have used some vintage flair.

Reply

Eirlys May 30, 2008 at 6:36 pm

Solarsails, Patsijean, what a small world! That’s my brother’s bag too. Steampunk solarsails – now, there’s an irresistible concept. What these helium-folly-dollies might do with, you know, is some NASA ingenuity in the form of powered backpacks with strategically-placed boosters – asymmetrical, if you will – amidst their pockets and buttons, in case of any unscheduled extra-vehicular activity in zero-gravity in “the spaces between space” (as, I think, John Hurt says in one of the more memorable moments of the new Indiana film – saw it today, and wish I could be effusive, but how disappointed I was… and how much I wanted to like it!).

Reply

Dottie June 3, 2008 at 12:17 pm

Thanks for introducing me to ‘steampunk’. I’ve seen it, but never connected it. Brilliant! Thanks!

Reply

Steve July 11, 2008 at 5:20 am

If you’re interested in art deco styled steampunk, take a look at dieselpunk. Very much the same idea, but centered more on the 30′s and 40′s. Of course, you get away from the steam engines a bit…

Reply

Alex Hall August 27, 2008 at 5:11 pm

Zeppelin Flight Attendants. The job posting is now on the Airship Ventures website. Part of the Guest Service Representative job description.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: