1930s | 1940s | Dresses

1939 Vintage Simplicity Dress

August 6, 2014
vintage 1939 dress front

vintage 1939 dress front

There’s something so magical about creating a dress from an original vintage pattern. Especially when it is 75 years old! This is Vintage Simplicity dress pattern number 3302. And when I came to open the envelope the pieces were not only all present but in pristine condition too!.

vintage simplicity sewing pattern 3302

I just fell in love with the sweetheart neckline and the elegant shape of the skirt. I don’t quite shape up to the lovely svelte ladies on the packet but then I guess they had slightly less food on the table in those days!

side view of dress

The sleeves are  quite something. They are gathered and stiffened with silk organza and have an inverted pleat at the hemline. Pressing the seam onto the sleeve is very important. You wouldn’t believe how high they stick up on the shoulder otherwise!

detail of sleeve pleat

I have a feeling the fabric might be vintage too. I scored it at my local charity shop for a fiver! It’s quite soft and far more drapey than I would expect cotton to behave. And it was only 35 inches wide. Possibly rayon?

sleeve detail

More detail and pics over at ooobop!


  1. Great dress! I always think 1939 is kind of a sweet spot for figure-flattering, wearable dresses that have just enough specific style to make them fun vintage but not feel like you’re wearing a costume. The sleeves are great. The fabric does sound like rayon – so please be very careful with washing. Rayon can shrink like the dickens if you don’t wash it in cool water and hang or lay flat to dry!

    As to the svelteness of the 1939 woman – well, you look perfectly lovely, and don’t forget that she had a girdle to rely on …

  2. Just gorgeous! I am quite inspired, I have some very pretty printed rayon fabrics in my stash, and almost always chicken out on a full-floral-dress look….but this looks fabulous!

    Thanks for sharing this project.

  3. Brilliant job. I love the dress and material. Looks great on. I been looking for this pattern for a long time to buy but sadly have not found it. Would you consider coping the dress pattern if I paid you? I appreciate your consideration.

  4. The puff sleeves and neckline- absolute favorite parts of this piece! I especially wish I could rock the sleeves– they’re such statement details!

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