1940s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

1940’s Hollywood dress

February 6, 2015

IMG_5834Hollywood 1413 is the quintessential 1940’s dress in my book. I was over the moon when I bagged a copy on ebay a few months ago. This is my first make with it using pre WWII silk crepe kimono fabric. The pattern as-is is technically 2 sizes too small but by cutting out with larger side seam allowances and counting on the generous ease in the pattern it went from the stated body measurements of 32″/27″/ 35″ to a more comfortable 36″/29″/38″ still with ease.  The only other alteration I made to the pattern was shortening the back bodice length via a 3/4″ horizontal pleat below the armhole  and adding in a second bust dart to make the front side seam match the new shorter back side seam… the same alteration I make on virtually every dress I make for myself since compared to most patterns I have a shorter than average back waist length and a ‘prominent bust’. Anyway the pattern went together perfectly and looked like the picture. The dress is unlined, seams are simply pinked and the neckline is finished with a facing. I did make the drape double. It was suggested as a single layer with rolled edges but the reverse of the fabric didn’t look that good. Zip and hems all hand sewn. It is a very light and fluid dress and I wear it over a slip.

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Will I make this pattern again? I definitely intend to.  This dress was my favorite of the trio of vintage patterns I made up from vintage kimono  written about in a longer blog post.


Cornish pasty shldr pads The shoulder pads for the dress are made from 7″ circles of fabric, cotton quilt batting and stuffed with some slightly shredded poly wadding It’s how the pattern instructions suggested making them. Usually I use modern pads and cut-up/reconstruct them to suit but I though I’d try this method out and liked the results. They did make me think of making Cornish Pasties.

  1. I love your dress. You did an amazing job. I would never have thought of using a vintage kimono, but with the wave of Orientalism that was part of Art Deco this was the perfect choice. I am wondering what software you used for the dress pictures.

    1. hi Deborah and thanks. I use Photoshop to remove backgrounds and to composite the separate shoulder pad photos into one.. The dress was on a white mannequin against a light coloured wall to make it quick work.. The pad photos were photographed on white paper to make them easier to combine together.

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