New from old…

by mrsbeevintage on June 16, 2012 · 6 comments

in 1940s

Hello all, I have just finished a little 1940s dress for my lovely daughter who has just taken up ‘Swing’ dancing and I must say loving it…she’s like a duck to water :)

the original dress was found in a charity shop in london , the shop originally wanted £25 for it , but it was in such poor condition I persuaded them to sell it to me for £5 and planned to use it as a pattern.

I put it to one side and then came across two pairs of grey polka dot pillow slips in a sale.

I thought these would fit in great with a ‘make do and mend’ theme.

four pillow slips unpicked and washed on a hot wash was just enough and to keep the original dress alive I used part of it for trim.

I adjusted the dress pattern very slightly by putting a centre back zip in (I used a peach invisible one , not vintage this time)

I used both fabrics  to create a tie back belt instead on the covered buckle one on the original which hung too heavy on the fabric.

(opps, sorry forgot to turn piccie)

I also added an underarm gusset for movement while dancing …this I feel is the weakest point on a fitted dress

and some shirring at the front shoulder as my daughter has a good size bust and without (as in the original) it looked bulky.

I turned the hem up to the regulation war time  19″ from the ground :) and used original fabric cut on the bias to finish it of…

I must say my daughter and I am very pleased with the result , especially as a chap she met a a dance weekend said her dress was beautiful and

looked like it was made for her…well it was !! :) )

Maxine all ready for the dance with original 1940s brouges and victory rolls by me…

hope you enjoy my post as much as I enjoy all of yours. Mrs Bee





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– who has written 11 posts on

I teach the technical side of costume for performance at london college of fashion.i collect and sell vintage sewing equipment and i make on of garments for clients using vintage patterns,notions and fabric where possble. I also love an oppertunity to dress up in vintage at any excuse which i have been doing for 40 years...

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Aisha J. June 16, 2012 at 6:06 am

Very nice, Mrs. Bee…Maxine looks like she stepped right out of the 1940s era…makes me want to head to my local charity shop and see what jewels I can find, too…thanks for the inspiration.


Fashion Friends Diary June 16, 2012 at 6:27 am

Amazing transformation!



LadyD June 16, 2012 at 5:05 pm

Its a small world. I met Maxine at the lindy exchange and thought it was a fab dress. I thought it was genuinely vintage.


jax black June 16, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Thats cool …thats a great complement …i hope you enjoyed the weekend :)


LadyD June 18, 2012 at 7:18 am

Yeah. It was really good. I’ve only been going to lessons since february…but felt I got a lot out of a whole weekend of dancing and of course good excuse to dress up.


Anonymous June 21, 2012 at 8:16 am

I need another dress, trousers,short cullottes and to repair the 1940s evening dress I got in Southend….
OK, you finally won me over…i want so many things as the era is SO glamourous…when do we get the sewing machine out??
MUM :) xx


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