Saturday, November 6, 2010

My latest frock

The 1940s have never been my favorite decade for vintage fashion, but my husband likes me in '40s styles. So I took a look around at online pattern sites and found a cute one from Lanetz Living that was in my size, nursing friendly, and from the 1940s (or at least it was advertised as such -- now that I look at it closer, I think it may be early '50s, but it's close enough!).

1940s housedress

I was dismayed to find that one of the pattern pieces was torn and thus incomplete. Of course, it was one of the more complex pieces -- the front yoke. I redrew it based on the illustrations in the instructions, but I ended up taking in the shoulders and sleeves a little. I also took in the bodice by a good four inches as it was initially very blouse-y.

ruffles

I made self-fabric ruffles for the yoke and pockets as suggested in one of the dress illustrations. The very large and practical pockets are lined in muslin.

2948

The instructions on this pattern are pretty sparse and there is no pattern piece for the neckline facing. You're already supposed to know how to make a facing on your own. I guess 1940s seamstresses probably did.

I really pushed myself to finish all the details on this dress -- no skimping or getting lazy. I even learned how to make thread chains for belt loops, which turned out to be SUPER easy. I couldn't find good instructions on the Internet so I consulted my copy of Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing, and all was made clear.

vintage apron

The buttons down the front give me a chance to tie on this little-worn vintage apron of mine. It may be hard to see in the photo, but there is a buttonhole just under the peak at the top of the apron, which you're supposed to attach onto a button on your frock. The sides are a little apt to flap down but I think a good ironing with starch might help.

I am very happy with this dress. It's super-comfy and the waist is not too tight to make household chores difficult. The cotton floral is kind of a "working muslin" as I had in mind a more autumnal color scheme, but I couldn't find any vintage-like fabric in dark, warm colors. Happily the blue floral cotton was on sale so the whole dress was pretty cheap.

And my husband's reaction? Well, he made a rather hilarious comment that I can't share here. ;) But I think he likes it.

24 comments:

  1. as always, top quality work by a top quality wife. =)

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  2. I love it!

    Rejoicing In Him, Patrizia

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  3. Oh my! I *squealed* when I saw the photo with the apron! You did a wonderful job and you look gorgeous in it!

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  4. It's so lovely, Laura! The ruffles on the pocket, and the fabric, and -- well, everything! You certainly do look fabulous in 40's styles. And that apron is beyond charming, by the way!

    Blessings,
    Shannon

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  5. Lovely work, Laura! And the red lipstick - a necessity for that era, isn't it? :)

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  6. Love it!!! Just beautiful. And that apron. ::sigh:: I may just have to make this dress for myself. :)

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  7. How lovely! You always do such beautiful work... And often make me want to use my vintage pattern collection! I love the inspiration; there simply need to be more hours in the day. :)

    I love the ruffle you added to the pockets and the sweet blue and white print. It's really quite a charming dress and you look lovely in it.

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  8. It is beautiful! Your skills are impressive! And I just love your shoes-do you mind sharing where you got them? They look like shoes I can wear during pregnancy, when I avoid heels for the most part.

    The apron is great, too. I just love the details & pragmatism of vintage houseclothing!

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  9. I love the dress, I love the apron, great job!!!

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  10. This outfit is so flattering and feminine! The ruffles are a wonderful touch.

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  11. hi! the dress turned out beautifully. and you're wearing one of my favorite looks: vintage floral dress with cardigan and cute shoes! :)

    (found you through Casey's Elegant Musings blog)

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  12. Thank you so much for the compliments, ladies! I really appreciate your kindness.

    Breezy, if would like to gain some experience in resizing a pattern, you are more than welcome to borrow my copy! :)

    Polly, the shoes do actually have a small heel, about 1-1/2" probably. But they are still quite comfortable. I bought them a few years ago so I don't know if this specific style is still available, but they are Söfft brand. Happy searching!

    Jen, glad you found my blog! That's one of my favorite looks too! ;)

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  13. Oooh, so lovely!! Like everything you make of course! :)

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  14. Oh, so pretty! And nursing friendly too, how wonderful! :)

    Blessings!

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  15. My friend Lily sent me the link to your post as my sister and I are going through a retro phase. :-) This dress is charming! I was wondering if you could share what pattern it was you got? I see you got it from Lanetz Living, but is is a Butterick, McCall, etc. and what is the number?
    Thanks so much... beautiful work!

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  16. Kathryn Grace, it is a mail-order pattern and if it originally had an envelope, it doesn't now, so I'm afraid I don't know the company name. The number is 2948. I'm sorry to be of so little help!

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  17. I love your dress! Beautiful! Would it be O.K. for me to link to this post with a post on my blog and pictures? It's so lovely : )

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  18. Hello, Eva Girl -- thank you so much for your compliments! You are welcome to put pictures of my dress on your blog, as long as you do not modify them in any way and provide a link (in the same post) back to my blog. :)

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  19. Thank you for letting me post about your pretty dress! You can see the post here: http://theopulentpoppy.blogspot.com/2011/01/1940s-housedress-pretty.html

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  20. Hi my name is Sarah Rose, I am a mother 5 children under 5, I would love to have dresses like this, but I dont sew, I have been searching everywhere on line, when I found this dress, It is exactly what I've been looking for... any suggestions on how I could get one???? Israel_sarahrose@yahoo.com

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  21. Sarah Rose, I'm sorry you're having a hard time finding a dress! I know how frustrating that is -- that's why I learned to sew. ;-) It sounds like with so many little ones you may not have time to learn how to sew for yourself right now, so my suggestion would be to find someone locally to sew for you. If you don't know anyone personally, try a tailoring or alterations store. Talk with them about what they are able to do and then find a few vintage patterns you like and some pretty fabrics (making sure to discuss your choices with the sewist -- it is important to choose the correct fabric for the design). If the sewist is experienced enough, they may be able to make a dress without a pattern. Be prepared to pay them a fair fee, though. I hope that helps!

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  22. Your are so adorable!

    ~Hannah Rebekah

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  23. Gorgeous! I love the fabric. What type of fabric is it? Have you used quilter's cotton to make vintage dresses before? The apron is adorable!

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  24. Thanks, Lindsey! It is made from cotton from Hancock Fabrics -- heavier than lawn or voile but not as heavy as high quality quilter's cotton. I did use a quilter's cotton to make a Laura Ashley-style dress once (which you can see here). Other than that, I have only used the high quality cotton fabric for skirts.

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