Sunday, May 13, 2012

Going Vintage with a 1940s Dress

Next month my husband and I are going to a 1940's Ball and I can't wait!! There will be swing dancing, old airplanes, vintage cars and 1940's drinks and food. The only problem is I don't happen to have a 40's dress - so here is my next project!


I normally make my own patterns from scratch but I wanted to get a genuine 1940's style that someone would have worn back then and thought the only real way to do that is to buy a vintage pattern. I found this pattern on Etsy at a store called Old Clothes and I instantly fell in love with it. I am going to make the short sleeve version with the back girdle. I love the dropped waistline on the back and the puff sleeves, hopefully it will suit me! 


To make the dress look as authentic as possible I wanted to use red rayon crepe, which was a very popular material at that time. However, after spending almost a whole day searching in fabric stores and online with no red rayon crepe to be found, I settled on using a polyester crepe. The downside to polyester is that it retains a lot of heat but on the upside it looks almost identical to rayon so it won't change the overall style of the dress. I took a few photos of the fabric so you can see the color and texture of crepe.

Polyester Crepe

Close up of the fabric

Pattern Grading

Unfortunately, the size of the pattern is too small so I will have to do some grading to make it slightly larger. Apparently a size 16 in the 1940's was a 34" bust and 37" hip! My bust is 36" and my hips are 38", so luckily I won't have to do too much. I will be grading the pattern next week and will be posting tips on how to do it with a few photos of what grading should look like. It is a lot easier than you first think trust me!

On my next post I will take you through the process I use for pattern grading and following that I will show you how I put the dress together with various sewing techniques. Please subscribe to keep updated!! 

Happy sewing!

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