1940s | Vintage Sewing

1940s inspired dress

April 8, 2014
1940s inspired vintage dress

I sewed this dress as a muslin for the Hollywood Sewalong challenge. This seasons movie theme is The Notebook.

Hollywood Sewalong: The Notebook | SewsNBows
Butterick 5846

I love the pleats and shirtdress style! It’s actually my first successful women’s clothing garment in a decade. I mostly sew for kids. So I’m proud of it even though there’s plenty of room for improvement.

1940s inspired vintage dress with pleated bodice

I have a few things I need to work on for my final dress, like making my slip stitched collar look nice. The bodice back is very roomy, and it bunches out. I need to figure out a way to eliminate some of the bulk. I know it’s a popular style right now, but it’s not for me! (Photos on the blog, linked below.)

Butterick 5846 by SewsNBows

I’d love any tips you might have for me! Also, I thought the We Sew Retro readers may like to stop by and see all the other 1940’s inspiration! Our final reveal is in May. Read about it here: SewsNBows Hollywood Sewalong : Part II.

  1. I love this dress and I think it will be very flattering on you when the fit is right for you. You have a lovely figure and are so pretty, I believe that this dress will be adorable on you.
    I do have suggestions for the fit. It appears that the skirt portion of the dress fits you well, and I think the A-line silhouette is very pretty, and even a little twirly. The bodice isn’t making the most of its features because it is too big, and so you are getting a little lost in it. You might benefit from the following alterations: The shoulder yoke is too long, and hanging down your arm. Ideally, the yoke will end at the highest point of the curve of your shoulder, and therefore give the sleeve head the most support. It may need to be shorter on each side by 3/4-1″. The length of the bodice is too long and therefore blousing out over the top of the tuck release. The tucks might stand to be shortened by 1/4-1/2″. You don’t want them to come up too high under your bust. You want the released tuck to gradually open to accommodate the bust so it doesn’t look strained. The armscye is too deep for you. That is why it may feel like it is constricting across your upper arm. And the sleeves are too big. The point is that the whole bodice looks too big overall except not so much in the waist. If you were to go down a size, and fold out a bit of length (maybe 1/4-1/2″) in 2 places: one horizontal fold across at about the upper half of the tucks, and one horizontal fold at the armscye above the curve where it goes under the arm. Then the sleeve will need cutting down one or two sizes. When you set the sleeve in, keep any gathers centered at the top as this look does have a perky puff to accentuate the shoulders (which makes the waist look more nipped in). Whew! and then finally the collar will need to be sized down proportionately, perhaps slightly more diminished in length than in width.
    I know I’ve gone and on, but I hope my descriptions make sense to you. Don’t give up, you clearly have the skills to make this dress a huge success. I can’t wait to see how it turns out, ’cause I know it will!

  2. I agree with the above! When you get the fit right, it will be super flattering 🙂 When I made my first dress I did the same thing, chose a size (or two) too big.
    The dress looks well executed, so you obviously have no problem sewing a perfect dress 🙂

  3. I think WendyBee has pretty much covered the fit issues already but I thought I’d go ahead and point out the two things which immediately stood out to me.
    1. The bodice is too long for you which creates bulk in a fold at the chest and this is probably also (at least in part) responsible for the bulk at the back.
    2. The shoulders are too wide. Especially if you attach a pleated sleeve, you don’t want the seam any further than at the tip of the shoulder, on the shoulder joint.

    However, fit issues aside, it’s a very nice dress and I’m sure the end result will be very flattering.

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