1960s | Vintage Sewing

McCall’s 2440 (1961): Polly Esther

August 22, 2009

Okay, don’t laugh–this is one of my “modern” patterns.

I’m not kidding. Apart from a handful of genuinely modern patterns, that this is copyright 1961 makes it the most recent pattern I have. It was nicknamed “Polly Esther” because it’s made from–drum roll, please–a pink cotton-polyester bedsheet and cotton-polyester gingham trim. I normally use 100% cotton. I think I’ll stick with that policy from now on, too, since the cotton-poly was rather slippery and fussy to work with.

I really am unreasonably enamored of the pink-with-gingham-trim idea, though.

The appallingly-bad mirror shot below shows the results:

The shoulders are a bit big and I think I’ll probably trace the pattern piece and adjust them accordingly (bring the neckline in toward the center, mostly), but otherwise it seems to fit well. It think it will also fit better when I’m not wearing it over a bunchy tank-top.

The project Flickr set is here.

I shrank the pockets up a bit since they were in the running for the biggest pockets I’d ever encountered; bigger, possibly, even than those on Simplicity 4015 (1952), which were pretty darned big. The smaller pockets–I only trimmed off 1/2 inch all the way around–are still as big as any I’ll ever need.

I was irritated, however, to discover that I didn’t need anywhere near as much bias binding as the pattern said I would. I spent a lot of time custom-making that pink gingham bias because nobody in my area carries it pre-made. I guess I’ll have to use the rest for something else.

* * * * * * * *

Addendum: Now that I’ve worn it for a day, I think I will also be adding a button and loop on the back to help keep things from gapping. I love the idea of back-wrap dresses but they seem to be tricky to pull off in practice.

  1. it's so pretty! what a nice pattern..I like your choice of fabric too, very girly and lovely.

    enough gushing!

    you really did do great though 🙂

    p.s I love gigham bias tape, i found some little red gigham bias at my local sewing shop and I'm totally going back to get atleast 5m more.

  2. I absolutely adore this dress. Well done! As for the gingham bias — I think you can get it online at several places — but now you have enough for another project. I'm sure you'll use it; it's very cute!

  3. Those pockets are quite, quite amazing. You could carry a small baby in one! Great job on the dress, it is very cute.

  4. Great job! I really need an apron that covers more and has pockets. Whenever I bake I get flour everywhere :L)

  5. I can't say enough good things about gingham – very cute!

    I'd wager you could fit a large housecat in each of those pockets – ginormous!

  6. Thanks!

    I may still add lingerie straps to the shoulders on this one, and, as I said, if I make it again I'll make the neckline narrower. I have narrow shoulders and stuff tends to slip off. But mostly it fits pretty well and it was an easy pattern. (It's fairly common on eBay, too, if anyone is looking for one.)

  7. Oooo, I love that pattern. The dress looks adorable and super-comfy! I'm not a big polyester fan myself, but it is nice to get away from cotton every once-in-awhile and try something new. 😉 Great job!!!

  8. No more polyester for me. I only used it because I had this cotton-poly bedsheet for which I had no other uses (didn't fit the bed, was too new to give away, liked the color), and because I couldn't get pink gingham in 100% cotton. But polyester stinks. I don't recommend it at all.

  9. I have been looking for a pattern like that in a size small or extra small for mother in law. What size do you have? Is it for sale? Can it be photocopied? She is 70#, 5' tall, so she is very tiny. I would not know how to cut down a pattern to fit someone, especially since she lives in FL and I am in Illinois. Thank you. Michele mmb@batavialaw.com

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