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August 23, 2011

This IS Your Granny’s Crafting! 1940’s Day Dress Edition

By Betty Crafter

Disclaimer:  I am by no means a skilled dressmaker.  I have managed to construct a few garments that are reasonably acceptable to wear in public.  I WANT to be a skilled dressmaker though, and I have a huge pile of gorgeous vintage patterns just waiting for my skills to improve in order to do them justice.  But I’ll never get better unless I dive in, right?  And I’ve never been one for starting out easy.  I decided to take on Simplicity 3610, view 2:

Yes, folks, I decided to attempt a dress that has a collar, buttonholes, pin tucks, darts, pleats, and a pocket.  Jeez Louise, what was I thinking?  There were some tears and some words I would not like my Grandma to hear, but I came out the other side with a dress!

I decided to use a vintage reproduction fabric I bought ages ago from Repro Depot (who is sadly no longer selling fabrics).  It’s a Japanese linen cotton blend with a kitchen print.  Yes, I realize this is a pretty strange fabric choice for a dress.  But I quite like it and it turned into a dress that is very wearable, for me.  I also used some cute turquoise vintage buttons from my stash.  I paired it with an 80’s stretch belt to give it an element of the unexpected (as if the fabric wasn’t surprising enough!) but I’m also not against at some point making a fabric belt to match.  Let’s get a close up of those pin tucks, shall we?

I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out.  And I was so nervous about the collar, but that turned out pretty well too!  One thing that did not turn out as planned was the sleeves.  The pattern called for sort of epaulette sleeve which I could not figure out for the life of me.  So I fiddled around til I made something presentable, which you can see here:

Another design element that did not make it onto the dress was the hidden pockets.  Lord knows I don’t need any extra fabric around my midsection, especially when I’m already dealing with pleating a medium weight fabric.

And I carefully photographed around the “hidden side zip” which is comically not hidden.  But all in all, this is a dress I will wear proudly!  So what do y’all think?

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15 Responses to This IS Your Granny’s Crafting! 1940’s Day Dress Edition

  1. Jennie from Mrs Beckinsale Reply

    August 23, 2011 at 7:04 am

    It’s truly amazing! You’re very lucky finding a vintage pattern in your size – was it uncut? I think those little sleeves are great, but the pintucks are definitely the highlight.

  2. Pingback: A 1940s Day Dress for Betty | Betty Crafter

  3. Betty Crafter Reply

    August 23, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Thanks Jennie! The pattern was cut, but all the pieces were there, thankfully. I’d actually like to try this dress again someday with a more subdued, lighter fabric. I think the pintucks would be more visible and I’d like to try the pockets. I’d also like to transfer the pieces onto something so I can preserve the pattern.

  4. 60's Sal Reply

    August 23, 2011 at 10:21 am

    I love this dress! What you did with the sleeves is much better that the way the pattern was originally…It’s adorable!

  5. Barbara - The Tattooed Housewife Reply

    August 23, 2011 at 11:02 am

    That looks awesome! i’m also an aspiring dressmaker! thanks for giving me some inspiration!

  6. DrJulieAnn aka The Modern Retro Woman Reply

    August 23, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I love the fabric choice for this dress! It works! I agree with the others in that I prefer your sleeves to the original design.

    Good job!

  7. Toni Reply

    August 23, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    I love the sleeves. I wish I could sew. I can mend, but I’ve never made anything.

  8. Sara in AZ Reply

    August 23, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    What do you mean you are not a skilled dressmaker??? This dress looks fantastic! I would have thought you had sewn for years, if you had not told us. And I think those sleeves are really sweet! Great job!

  9. sablemable Reply

    August 23, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Bettyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!! I agree with Saraaaaaaa; sure looks like you’re an master seamstress to me! Great job!

    I like the fabric you chose, too.

  10. Betty Crafter Reply

    August 23, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Hey thanks y’all! I’m definitely inspired to try some more garments. I don’t want to give you the wrong impression – I’ve definitely sewn dresses before – just not many! Maybe we can persuade the fabulous and talented Andrea to give us some tutorials on dressmaking techniques!

  11. Andrea Reply

    August 23, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Cute! Your dress turned out really well, Betty! I actually really like what you did there on the sleeves, adds interest and still has a very vintage feel. I can definitely add some dressmaking techniques to my list of future posts, for sure!

  12. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    August 23, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Um…you’re totally a skilled dressmaker! Look at those details on the dress! The pintucking…the sleeve details. Beautiful. I’d say you knocked it out of the park.

  13. RetroRuth Reply

    August 24, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Betty – Nice job with the sleeve “fiddling”! I think I adore your sleeves. Just a little. 😉 I also love the print. It may not have been a standard choice, but you look great in it!

  14. Laura Greenawalt Reply

    September 26, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    I just found your site through facebook and it’s really wonderful. This dress looks perfect! The sleeve alterations are great, clearly you come from my school of sewing (do the directions make sense? no? fudge it).

  15. Cynthia Reply

    September 29, 2011 at 10:48 am

    I love love LOVE the fabric! The colors are amazing! (And the dress is very nice too! 😉 )

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