Monday, June 28, 2010

The Light & Lovely Attire of the Women from The Sound Of Music

The Sound Of Music... such a classic. Not only is the music great and the story an admired (and timeless) one, but the clothing design for the era is very attractive. I've seen the film probably ten times or more.. and have only recently begun to really pay attention to the clothing.

I set up a viewing for myself last night - with the purpose of clothing research and careful detail notation.. taking (sorrily not the best quality) screen shots of the attire in order to make sketches to help me visualize how these garments can be remade.

The clothing choices I decided to highlight are more of the late 1930s era Austrian formal wear. This film has a variety of styles in it, some with very rough wool textures (like those in the VonTrapp's traveling attire and in Maria's poor-out-of-convent clothing), but I decided to highlight the more elegant pieces (click image to see up closer) :

Maria Gets The Attention of the Captain Dress

Maria wears a gorgeous light teal colored dress during the puppet show with the children and during her flirtations with Captain VonTrapp. How do you say "oo la la!" in Austrian? What a great and flattering (yet modest) dress, likely made of organza or georgette in a layered fashion. The sleeves are loose and billowy without being poofy, and there's a very nice triangular area of smocking at the neck and under the belt line. The belt is very slimming on a loose silhouette - thicker and arched at the front and V-shaped in the back where it fastens over the zipper.

Maria's Ländler Dress

This playful dress appears in the scene at the VonTrapp party where Maria teaches Kurt an Austrian folk dance called the Ländler. I've always loved that scene and the dance. Again we see very light pastel colors in the material on this dress and a simple organic design on the white sleeves and skirt. The bodice has a shape very indicative of it's era and nation, with buttons up the front, a scooping neckline and a corset-like fit.

Leisl's Party Dress

This dress appears in the Ländler scene as well, before Maria cuts in. It's also the one in which Liesl requests "her first champagne?" of her father. Declined for champagne, but she wears this party dress with much poise. It too has a very Austrian styled bodice, like a corset with puckered under-blouse built into itself. The sleeves are interesting as though the bodice has low-shoulder slung sleeves, with the under-blouse puckering out from underneath. The color combination of this dress was what caught my attention initially. I love the pale lavender skirt with a light goldenrod sash tied around the waist with a little edelweiss at the bow. Very lovely.

16 Going on 17

Another great, elegant and pale-toned dress in pink on Leisl. The gathered bodice is very interesting, with sections separated by a thin ribbon and small bow. The neckline is square and made of a sheer material, as are the loosely fitting sleeves. It looks like the cuffs are elastic, although I don't know that elastic would have been used in this era, so perhaps not. The layered pink organza gives a very romantic silhouette to the entire piece... perfect for adventures in a gazebo out of the rain with your favorite telegram messenger boy!


  1. I always loved Leisl :) her dresses are darling.

  2. Beautiful! I love all of the dresses you chose. :-)

    How do you sketch/draw your dresses? I would like to start doing that.


  3. Joanna, I use Illustrator to sketch out my designs and ideas. It's quick and easy for me to play with shapes and colors there.

    Thanks for the compliments!


  4. Illustrator...Thanks! I'll look into it.

  5. have you made any of these dresses? i would love to buy one.

  6. Beatrice, I haven't yet but I'd love to try one out! Email me at if you are interested :•)

    - Melissa

  7. Melissa, it's been a dream of mine to have Maria's Teal dress.. do you think you'd be able to help? My e-mail is

    Best wishes,