Saturday, 30 June 2012

1940's Simplicity Dress Pattern

Well, I’ve done it, I’ve made a dress, my first of 2012! 

Last week I discovered, having got up to the neck!, that I had made an irretrievable mistake on a jumper I was knitting.  The pattern is a repeat of squares and I'd managed to get an entire vertical row off centre!!!!  After throwing it across the room and having a right royal tantrum, I pulled it back to the rib (2 weeks work ruined) ready to start again.  I was somewhat cheesed off and simply couldn't face picking up the needles again - I'm sure I'm not alone in that :o)

An entire change was needed and, having seen some other bloggers showing off their beautiful creations, I was desperate to sew a dress.  After much sorting, I opted for this fabric.


It was bought last year in a charity shop for just £5 and at 4 yards long by 45" wide, I think it's safe to say a bargain was had.  Although not an original 1940’s fabric, it has a very pretty print and does the “40’s look” perfectly.  The fabric is a soft cotton which made it really easy to work with (not at all slippery) and it’s so floppy that it hangs beautifully.

An avid hoarder collector of 1930's and 1940's sewing patterns, I have quite a collection.  They are mostly American and many of them are for very small garments - 32" bust anyone? Not I :o)  Because I had oodles of fabric, I thought I’d be sensible and squeeze the biggest dress out of it that I possibly could,  opting for this pattern by Simplicity, dated 1940.


I went for the option on the left because I like the puffy sleeves and I didn't have enough fabric to do the long sleeved one :o) 

I had grand designs to do the contrast collar and trim but just couldn't find suitable fabric.  Buttons and a buckle were, yet again, impossible to match so I had to opt to cover the buttons myself and it was surprisingly easy.  It involved cutting a small circle of fabric and running some stitches round the edge before putting the button into the middle, pulling the thread tightly to create a bag and then fastening it off.  There is a little plastic piece that looks like a washer that slips firmly onto the back and your done - simples :o)

Not so simple were the damn buttonholes!  Bound buttonholes are not a favorite of mine, I find them awkward and fidly and incredibly difficult to line up.  I know it would be easier to use the buttonhole function on my sewing machine but it wouldn't give the finish I was after.  To help me, I made use of a most brilliant book called "The Complete Guide of Sewing".  It was printed in the USA in 1943 and is an absolute gem of a book with clear instructions to complete even the simplest piece of sewing.

I fluffed the binding on the sleeves by machining it onto the wrong side of the fabric, that'll teach me to concentrate harder!  I also ended up not having enough fabric to make the belt in one piece so had to match the fabric on an all blue section and join it together - make do and all that :o)!! 

In all, it took a week to make and the sun was shining beautifully yesterday so I could finish the hem, sitting in the garden - perfect!  Here are the snaps I took today.  The camera isn't doing the colour justice, not sure what happened there and the breeze was doing funny things to the skirt! 

The belt doesn't stick out like that normally, the dummy is smaller than the dress so I had to make the belt far smaller.



Oops - I should probably have ironed it before I put it on the dummy!
It’s all finished in perfect time to take to Heydon this weekend for the Little Vintage Lover fair that is being held there.  Never done this event before but from the pictures on the website, it looks like a goodie!

Here’s hoping for beautiful sunshine :o)

10 comments:

  1. It's lovely! I love those colours (I really love that combination- not only does it look vintage, it also works well for any patriotic duty both here in the states AND back home in the UK!!).
    I love the puffy sleeve patterns too :) I hope you gave fun wearing it!

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    1. Thank you, I love the colours too but it's not for me :o( Nope, this one is being offered for sale tomorrow along with some of the jumpers and period clothing I sell :o)

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  2. Oh so cute- that’s my kind of dress! The fabric is lovvverly. I’m afraid I take a 32 bust in patterns, you may not think it but I need that size to cater for me hips otherwise I would take 30, but usually we have to make it wider on the hips and shoulders! (Odd shape eh!). Makes me want to try out my latest pattern, which is actually a 34, but thirties patterns tend to come up smaller in my experience.:-)
    Tupney xxx

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    1. I always love your clothes. Lucky you with the 32 bust, you must have some amazing patterns to work from - I shall look forward to seeing the thirties one :o)

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  3. I know exactly what you mean about wasting time unpicking knitting, I am knitting something that should have only taken me a month, two months later. but I have unpicked more rows than I have knitted! It is a baby shawl and you are suppose to put love in every stitch!
    Oh WOW! that dress is absolutely beautiful, may I borrow the pattern....?
    Julie xxxxxxx

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    1. Hi Julie,
      So frustrating when knitting doesn't go to plan - I hope your shawl works out right in the end. As to the pattern, it's very fragile but I hope to transfer it onto modern paper. When I do, your are more than welcome to borrow it :o)
      Best wishes
      Lucy

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  4. Wow this is gorgeous and such a beautiful pattern! I love the design and the fabric is adorable! Looking forward to seeing some more fab creations! XxxX http://thesecondhandrose.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Thank you :o) I have another one to upload, just need to do all the links and photographs - should be in the next few days!

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  5. Oh its lovely! That fabric is just perfect for the pattern and pefect for sunny days if we get any :) ooh two weeks knitting ripped back -owch- I feel your pain, thought I am glad to know I'm not alone in the knitting related tantrum front :) xx

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    1. Thank you. Never too old to have a tantrum I say :o)

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