I'm a sewing enthusiast in Beacon, New York, with a love of all things retro. This site is all about tutorials, tips, inspiration, and lots of spirited discussion about sewing as it relates to fashion history, pop culture, body image, and gender. My first book, Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing, is now out from STC Craft/Melanie Falick Books! Also look for my line "Patterns by Gertie" from Butterick.
Lots of Glee fans hate it when the characters wear vintage, because that means they can't find the same garments in stores. How silly! The vintage pieces Rachel wears are often the most interesting on the show, take this black frock for instance. (From the episode "Asian F," when she and Mercedes sing "Out Here on My Own.")
It's hard to find a great picture of this dress, but trust me: it's fabulous. I barely listened to the music because I was so busy studying it. (And also noticing how thin Lea Michele has gotten since season 1, but that's another discussion for another time, I suppose. Update: I'm not trying to "body snark" here, and I apologize if anyone is offended by the reference to her weight. It's just been quite a dramatic change since she first appeared on TV.)
The dress is very classic early 60s: kimono sleeves, shaped midriff with piping, adorable bow, and a full pleated skirt. A search for similar patterns will bring up lots of gems, including this one (which is a bust 36" and I would like you to know I have refrained from buying just so one of you can have it. You're welcome.)