Swing Dance – Outfit Inspiration

by LadyD on April 5, 2012 · 7 comments

in 1940s

About February time I started going to swing jive classes….

So I am looking for a good patterns for outfits that would give that 40′s feel but have a swooshy skirt.

I spotted this on a youtube clip of rita hayworth and fred astaire. (Wish I could dance like her) From the film ‘you never were lovelier’. [1942]

Now I’ve got to find a pattern for it….

Could I take a pattern like this (the pink one):

And convert it to a tie up blouse? (who’d have though its from 1979!)

Any recommendations, tips, advice?

Btw. I love the shoes! I do need to get some dance shoes.


This post was written by...

– who has written 33 posts on WeSewRetro.com.

I've always hand sewn but never created garments until recently. I love the retro/vintage style. Its so much more stylish and flattering than modern stuff. For my dancing escapades and folk music http://thelearningtoclogblog.blogspot.co.uk/ For sewing, craft and general blog http://stitchintimeandspace.blogspot.co.uk/

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Annie April 5, 2012 at 2:30 am

have you looked at the sense and sensibility ’1940s’ swing dress pattern, it looks quite similar, and there was a sew along of it awhile back as well.


LadyD April 7, 2012 at 3:26 am

I did look at it…but its not quite what I had in mind. Too halterneck-ish.


Tamara April 5, 2012 at 9:47 am

The Sense & Sensibility swing dress – http://sensibility.com/patterns/1940s-swing-dress-pattern/ – was the first thing that came to my mind too.


LBC April 5, 2012 at 11:53 am

Third the suggestion for the S&S swing dress.

On the blouse, trace the pattern, but extend the lower front horizontally. Check out the shapes of the blouse pieces on the back of this pattern packet . See the long “tail” on the lower bodice?

Here’s another, simpler approach (might be a blousier fit, though).


LadyD April 7, 2012 at 3:27 am

Yep. I can see what you mean.


Jessamyn April 5, 2012 at 6:32 pm

Actually, I think the track you’re on is not bad. The S&S dress is just an approximation of the overall effect, but I gather you’re wanting the tied-blouse-and-skirt combination Rita’s sporting. Here’s a much better picture of Rita in the outfit:


It does appear to be a smooth fit from the shoulder like your pattern, rather than a yoke with gathering like the S&S version. I’d extend the points of the collar slightly downward to make it more 1949 than 1979, and add modest shoulder pads.

The skirt, I think, actually is pleated, with the pleats sewn down to about mid-hip. As you can see by looking at the back of the following 1940s pattern envelope, you just start with a couple of rectangles and pleat them to fit you.

On the other hand, 1940s blouse and skirt patterns are relatively inexpensive, and if you’re anywhere near a 34 bust you could make your life both more authentic and simpler for just $9:

Unfortunately these ’40s “swing” outfits were aimed at teens and 34 bust is about the largest I’m seeing right now.


LadyD April 7, 2012 at 3:35 am

I do have some shoulder pads in my ‘may be useful’ box. In that photo you can see the type of material better too.
In the film itself its not too clear.
I found it by accident looking up how to do a move called the shorty george. lol!


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