1940s

My Joan Crawford dress

November 21, 2009


I bought this pattern a couple of months ago and held onto it until I found the right fabric, a fantastic RPL black crepe from Metro Textiles in NYC (I’m not affiliated, but the next time you’re in NY, you must go. The prices are really reasonable, this fabric was $10 a yard for a 54″, and if you tell the owner what you’re looking for, he’ll start tossing bolts aside like they were toothpicks and will come up with the most beautiful things. Quite an experience). This crepe is fantastic, and really feels like vintage fabric from the 40’s. The construction of this dress was pretty simple, and I didn’t run into too many problems aside from the smocking at the shoulders and below the bust line (which I eventually removed; it looked too messy and the gathers look just fine on their own) and I had to take the shoulders in a bit since I’m not a shoulder-pad sort of girl. I also opted to forgo the bows and make a flower instead from a fragment of old WWII-era silk I had from a deconstructed wedding dress.

This was the first pattern I had ever worked on that wasn’t printed; it’s a DuBarry, and I’m guessing it’s from about 1938-1940. The instructions were pretty straightforward and I really didn’t run into any hang-ups the way I feared I might without detailed instructions on the pattern itself. I just chalked it all up using the punched holes in the pattern as a guide (I don’t use tailor’s tacks), and it all came together quite simply. I have other DuBarry patterns, and now I’m not quite so terrified to tackle them.

More at my blog, The Republic of Dresses.


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