You Too Can Enter The Exciting World of Airship Hostesses!

by Erin on February 16, 2009

newspaper pattern

So Ashley has sent me this great story:

So I have this image of a 1950s airship hostess pattern [see above], and I don't know where I got it. I don't know if it's a Marian Martin or an Anne Adams or what, but it has held my interest since day one. I don't think it was ever featured on your blog; I searched your dirigible posts to try and find the name of the pattern company. No luck. Searches on Google, eBay, and Lanetz and friends have yielded nothing for months, so I decided to just improvise with patterns I already have, as usual. The bodice is a 1990s jumper pattern with straps extended, pointed, and separated for button-y goodness, and the skirt is a from a 1940s pattern. I added a [poorly done] side zipper. The fabric is simple, rust-orange cotton.

So, just in case you didn't get this at first reading: she saw just the picture, and managed to frankenstein together a pretty good approximation, like so:

Ashley's approximation

I love stories like this. (I also love that color orange.) Was Ashley going to let not having the actual pattern stand in her way? NO! She just jumped right in and DID it. This is what our country needs today. If I were hiring airship hostesses, Ashley would go right to the top of the list.

How would you prove your mettle as a possible airship-hostess trainee? Leave your stories of moxie in the comments.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Melodie February 16, 2009 at 10:09 am

Love the “franken-dress!” I’d love to be an airship hostess!Airship hostesses must be gracious and pretty and able to pour coffee, mix cocktails and light cigarettes while teetering on four inch heels. All the while, they must never forget the emergency evacuation protocol, or to touch up their lipstick. :) my mom was a flight attendant (airplane, not dirigible, unfortunately), and they must be much much more than flying waitresses! Although “flying waitress” does conjure an interesting image. Is there a uniform for that?

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Maija February 16, 2009 at 10:28 am

I’ll be the first to admit that I’d be a terrible airship hostess. I would not humor the drunk electro-gauge salesmen. I would hector the family who refused to check their monstrous hover-stroller. And I would give the tiny propeller hats only to the very, very good children – not the restless, whiny ones that just need distraction. At least I’d be wearing this.

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Allie February 16, 2009 at 10:33 am

Moxie: I haven’t had a permanent job since I quit my last soul-killing social work position over 6 months ago. So I regrouped and decided to become a fashion designer. Do I have formal training? Do I even own a dress form? Do I have any capital for materials? No, no and no. But I’ve got my mom’s sewing machine on loan, a stash of fabric and vintage clothes, and 2 thrift stores within a 3 block radius. My spring/summer collection is in production. I’m not sure how that will help me as an airship-hostess trainee, but it’s rather ballsy (ovary-y?) if I do say so. I did waitress in a Thai restaurant for 3 months without knowing anything about Thai food, so that’s gotta count for something.

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Vegan February 16, 2009 at 11:30 am

That dress is great! In the pattern drawing, I definitely like it better without the shirt underneath.

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Jonquil February 16, 2009 at 11:47 am

Do not mock my jumper-love. Note the beautiful way that the full blouse sleeves contrast with the tight bodice. I wore something along those lines — pine-green jumper, primrose-yellow blouse — to my college interviews, and I got into EVERY ONE SO THERE.Nice implementation, Ashley. Wave your banner high!If I were a dirigible hostess, I would, of course, be thirty-five and unmarried. (At thirty-five, Jonquil had attitude and still a reliable body.) I would escort gentlemen (and ladies) to the smoking room. At the end of the day, I would lean against the chair of a gentleman with whom I had been sharing Sayers-quality repartee, accept a sip of his martini, and regretfully decline a suggestion of further intimacy. Then I would go help a lady who was having trouble breastfeeding, because I am just that good.

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Cookie February 16, 2009 at 12:34 pm

As a dirigible hostess in the aisles, I’d sing a medley of songs inspired by the states and cities we were passing over (“Oklahoma!”, “The Tennessee Waltz”, “Rocky Mountain High”, etc.) Also requests, as long as they weren’t too risque. I’d do magic tricks where I made people I closed up in the overhead storage compartments disappear. (Good for complainers and rowdy children.) And if we lost altitude, there I’d be up front with clasped hands and a black lace mantilla, singing either hymns or “Auld Lange Syne.”

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Lydia February 16, 2009 at 12:46 pm

I don’t know about anyone else, but Jonquil just moved to the top of my “invite to next party” list.

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xstpenguin February 16, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Great dress, uniform or otherwise!!Don’t know about moxie, but in the top picture I’m curious as to which passenger on the airship she was, ahem ‘waving’ to. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V_signCheers,AJ

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What-I-Found February 16, 2009 at 2:50 pm

I love the orange dress, but I love it more as a black slinky version…with a wiggle skirt and very long gloves (maybe in this color orange) and scary high heels…it just screams “Vixen”.Add several dancing boys and a flame backdrop and you’ve really got something!

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Marla February 16, 2009 at 4:01 pm

I love THE POINTS.I would wear the black evening version, and serve Harvey Wallbangers and Swedish Meatballs in the First Class Lounge. Because I have a very short neck, my dangly earrings would constantly get caught on THE POINTS. However, a handsome male passenger would come to my aid with de-tangling tools. It would turn out that he was actually THE OWNER of the dirigible company, traveling incognito to see how well his employees do their job. I would do a TERRIBLE job, but naturally I would be so winsome and engaging my incompetence would be overlooked. Much like my real life. (NOT). Predictable love story would ensue (boy getting, losing, getting airship hostess).

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dawnrenee February 17, 2009 at 6:03 am

Another great sewing job; I really like the orange color. This blog is so inspiring. The entries from both Erin and the other readers make me want to stop everything and sew. I have not yet attempted a dress (or any actual everyday clothing), but I am getting quite good at making my own dance costumes. Right now, I’m working on a Turkish vest. I drafted the pattern *myself*! That’s a big accomplishment for me.Anyway, thanks, all for the continual inspiration!

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anthrokeight February 17, 2009 at 6:55 am

When a beloved sundress was so worn as to be unwearable, I took it apart and used it as a pattern so I could make *more* dresses. This means no sighing over The Dress That Was.The new dress is awesome, and people stop me on the street and say nice things about it.Can I be a dirigible hostess on the Duluth- Reykjavik run, please?

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Melissa February 17, 2009 at 7:42 am

The orange dress can be for day flights, and the black for overnights.

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Kathryn February 17, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Heres my friend Erin at Steam-Powered last October, dressed as an airship hostess for Mechanicsburg Air, and holding a model of the zeppelin.http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/photo.php?pid=34980op=1o=allview=allsubj=35678422529aid=-1oid=35678422529id=1629571790This is stuff out of our closets, plus the winged trilobite pins from the Foglios table.

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Pink of Perfection February 17, 2009 at 3:03 pm

erin, you never fail to crack me up.

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j.b. February 18, 2009 at 10:15 am

Along the same lines…When I was 20-21 years old, I needed a costume. All I had was a barbie wearing the costume I wanted. So, I made it. No pattern design experience, and VERY little sewing experience. It got me hooked. And the rest is, as they say, history. I’m now a sewing junkie. And I love it!au revoir,~j.b.

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La BellaDonna February 18, 2009 at 10:30 am

I LURVE this pattern. And I’ll be the first to step up and say I love jumpers! Sleeveless dresses, with the option for all manner of blouses or sweaters underneath – what’s not to love?Jonquil, you’d have been happy in my high school uniform – yellow blouses, green jumpers! And I *ahem* tailored mine to be formfitting, too. ;)I think it’s a lovely job of frankensteining; I think more people should try the magic that is A Ruler, A Pencil And Some Paper – a good many of the dresses that appeal to us are actually not that complicated, and some may bear a striking resemblance to what’s already in our stashes of patterns. Of course, some of the dresses that appeal to us ARE complicated, and people are just as welcome to Ruler/Pencil/Paper them, but the less complex ones are rewarding sooner!

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wundermary February 18, 2009 at 12:17 pm

It turned out great!I’d like to point out that the woman in the pattern illustration is moments away from the horrifying realization that her glove is about to attack her face. Soon, she will know all to well that it is actually it’s own living entity from space and it is a killer!

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lianaleslie February 18, 2009 at 9:04 pm

I loved this pattern so much that I drew a paper doll outfit based on it — with a little cap and an airship pattern around the hem, even. (http://joechip.net/liana/2009/02/18/powder-blue-airship-hostess-jumper-with-white-blouse-via-a-dress-a-day/) Thanks for the inspiration!

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Digs February 27, 2009 at 7:43 pm

Its a Mrs Spock dress! May she live long prosper!

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