1940s | 1960s

Two new dresses for me…

June 9, 2011

Now that it’s turning into summer, my unfinished-basement sewing area (which is a chilly torture chamber in winter) is starting to feel gooood. So I decided to make myself a few more dresses while I’ve got the creative juices flowing.

First up, a 1944 housedress pattern (I’ve been yearning for a housedress for the longest time).

I fell in love with the diamond shaped pockets, like, instantly. I made this up in one of the prints from the new DS Quilts (DS = Denyse Shmidt, dunno why JoAnn’s is being all coy about it) line from JoAnn’s.

Nine buttonholes and a LOT of rick-rack later, here I am, all ready to start a scrap metal drive for Victory:

As you can see, the tops of those cunning diamond-shaped pockets flop over all the time. I knew they would. Before I wear it again, I’m going to put a vertical buttonhole near the top of each diamond and then the pockets will button closed. They sure are handy – I keep my cell phone in one pocket and my MP3 player in the other, which I am sure is what Simplicity’s designers had in mind back in 1944.

My second project was a dress for my sister’s upcoming wedding. My sister sews vintage dresses at a rate that puts me to shame (and I’ve pestered her many a time to join this site), so the least I could do was make one for her wedding. I actually started with this pattern (undated, but probably early 60s?) and then altered the heck out of it.

I used the short sleeve version (she’s getting married in the desert, in the summer – thanks for nothing, sis!) and moved the zipper from center back to side so I wouldn’t have to worry about matching a GIANT print. I scooped out the neckline, too, only I scooped it out too much and it showed my bra straps six ways to Sunday. So I made little inserts out of the few precious bits of fabric I had left and then sewed bows over them, because duh, bows are fun. I replaced the original skirt, which was pleated in the front and fitted in the back, with a nice full dirndl that used up most of the 4 yards I was able to scare up. Did I mention that I like to fall in love with prints long after they have gone out of production, and I had to hunt every dark corner of the internet to find enough yardage for a dress?

Here it is with the hat, the shoes, and the crinoline petticoat so you get the full effect. I think in the end it looks more Fifties than Sixties. I wish you could all know how unbelievably haughty I feel in this get-up.

  1. BOTH lovely, I am drawn to that first house dress. And…source for sandals in that last fancy photo please!

  2. I really love that house dress. Would interfacing the pockets have helped? Buttons sound like a good idea and will be so cute!

    –C.B.

  3. The housedress is lovely. On the pattern photo, it seems that the high internal side of the pocket is sewn? Then, no button necessary ?

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