1943

I’ve posted variations of this dress before, along with the gory saga of fitting the pattern.

I actually finished this version of the dress for the Fourth of July, 2013, and wore it on a day trip to Camp Hearne, but I haven’t posted it because I didn’t have the matching bolero done.

The bolero needed a little tweaking, but nothing like the dress pattern did, which is fortunate because I might otherwise be posting this for the Fourth of July, 2027.

Pardon the squinting.  This is on the courthouse square in El Dorado, Arkansas, where the weather was incredibly lovely but sunny.

This photo is also proof that not all introverts are shy.

Almost everything was closed because of the holiday, but we went for breakfast at Jimmy B‘s (I highly recommend the Western omelet) and then wandered around for awhile, just because.  There was one antique shop open.  My brother got some old Ball jars to use as samples at work (he’s an archaeologist, except in Arkansas it’s spelled “archeologist”, because you can do that when you’re the most geographically beautiful state in the Union), and I got a Napco sitting Great Dane and a Frankoma “Good Luck” trivet, which has horseshoes on it, in case I someday achieve the cowboy-themed kitchen of my dreams.

In case anyone is wondering: The buttons are decorative only, but there are two hooks-and-loops on the inside edge of the jacket to keep it closed.  I will very definitely be using the jacket pattern again to go with my sundresses–this was awesome as a coverup for sun/air-conditioning/situation-appropriateness.  Also, because people always ask, the boots are Ariat Heritage r-toes.  I also have them in brown.  They’re super comfortable.

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Rayon is perhaps my favorite fabric to sew with! Love it! And it’s absolutely perfect for 40s dresses!

When I saw this fabulous tropical printed rayon in the garment district in LA, I knew it had to be a 40s tiki dress! And I promptly bought 7 yds. lol.

I used Eva Dress 3863 from 1943. It’s a daring wrap dress and it’s available as a multisize pattern!

 

I did view 2! It turned out so lovely!

I really love this fabric! More photos and construction details over on the blog!

P.S. These photos are from a modeling shoot with a professional so that’s why there’s watermarks.

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I’m sure we’ve all seen those 1970′s patterns that imitate 1930′s and 1940′s lines, right?  Simplicity 6164, Simplicity 5844, Butterick 3174, Marian Martin 9327 . . . you get the picture.  Well, I decided it was time to turn the tables.

Since I spent so much time and bother fitting 4727, I figure I might as well get as much use out of it as possible.  I’ve actually used it as a semi-sloper a couple of times, not to fit precisely but to ballpark the sizing of other patterns before I do detailed alterations on them.  I’m getting a lot of wear out of that orangey-tan gingham sundress, so I figured I should do a few more projects out of that pattern to make it pay for itself.

Back to that turning-of-tables bit.  Alas, I don’t have any pictures of the dress on me yet, but I used the bodice to make a 1970′s-style prairie sundress.  I raised the neckline a bit and rounded it to make it easier to apply bias binding (I wanted a little bit of trim on the neckline and armscyes).  I had four yards of . . . probably 1980′s or early-1990′s black Concord calico with tiny yellow roses.

Four yards sounds like a whole lot unless you want to make a dress with a long skirt and a flounce, because flounces take up an insane amount of fabric.  You can do a 2:1 flounce:skirt ratio, but that’s really minimal–your flounce will be adequate but still kind of skimpy-looking.  I did a 3:2 flounce:skirt ratio and I think that, for this project, it came out just right.  Fluffy but not ridiculous.

I saved calico by making all the interior parts out of solid black scrap fabric.  Here, you see the pockets, inset belt lining, neck facing (I added a neck facing even though I was bias-binding the neck because the calico was pretty thin), and the back button placket:

I also used up five different colors of hem tape.  Ha, ha.  Navy, teal, electric blue, pale yellow, and olive green.

The front is plain.  I did hours of lunchtime Google research on Gunne Sax dresses, trying to choose a pattern for the front of the bodice, but I couldn’t settle on anything.  I knew I needed trim to break up the sea of floral-ity, but I didn’t want it to be that Seventies, and I wanted it to be a kind of neutral look so I could wear it with a belt and denim jacket, and I had just spent the weekend hanging out with metalheads and didn’t want to interfere too much with the . . . blackness?  Yes, I know this is the least metal garment in history that isn’t pastel, but aesthetic influence is weird stuff.

I went with just binding the neckline and armscyes, and adding a trim strip around the skirt above the flounce.

It buttons up the back.  This is completely impractical but it’s hot.  Yes, hot.  As in, I’ve had to block Flickr stalkers who love back-buttoning dresses hot (I wish I were joking about this because it’s actually pretty creepy, but . . . nope.  Not kidding).  I think it’s because it suggests that one needs help getting undressed, but I’m not going to go too far into that because this isn’t that kind of blog.

For the record, I can dress myself.  I button the mid-back buttons, slip the dress over my head, and then button the nape and the waist (reverse the process to undress).  It’s tricky but I’m going to enjoy it while I can before I dislocate something and have to convert it to a side zipper.

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Despite the monumental fitting headache that was Simplicity 4727 (1943), I decided to suck it up and take on its close numerical predecessor, Simplicity 4718.

I’m going to hazard a guess that they were not drafted by the same person.  This pattern took me less than a decade to complete.

To begin with, I know we’ve all seen this pattern.  It’s, like, everywhere.  I don’t think anyone ever actually sews it because it’s so ubiquitous it’s not even interesting.  It’s like the Hanes T-shirt of vintage patterns:

Yawn.

Well, sometimes you need a Hanes T-shirt.  Even if you don’t literally need a Hanes T-shirt.  I needed a straightforward everyday dress pattern that didn’t have a lot of detail, because the fabric I mean to use was kind of loud:

Moda chambray stripe

That is an amazing light-blue and white chambray stripe from Moda.  Yes, it really is that color, and that’s my hand for scale.  I don’t have small hands.  This fabric is fantastic: Yarn-dyed woven stripes in wonderful, sturdy, cotton fabric.  That’s a pattern that stands on its own, though; I didn’t want to cut it all up for shoulder yokes and darts and stuff.  4718 has a classic 1940′s gored skirt but very little else going on.

I also found the perfect buttons:

The chevron buttons were in my stash.  I used them for the sleeve keepers.  I know sleeve keepers are more 1970′s than 1940′s, but I like them, and they seem like an idea that would have caught on like wildfire in the 1940′s had anyone thought to promote them.

Since the fabric is a bit heavy I decided to go with long sleeves.  I made the housecoat pattern but fudged bishop sleeves by grafting the pattern I’d fudged recently for McCall’s M4548 (2004) onto 4718′s original sleeve caps.  When I got to the cuffs, I debated staying in my comfort zone and doing the usual continuous-lap placket.  However, I’ve never really liked continuous-lap plackets because I hate the idea of so little fabric being caught in a seam.  It seams like disintegration waiting to happen.  Besides, the chambray was slightly coarse and given to raveling (not badly; just a bit), which made me doubly paranoid about seams pulling out..  After waffling for a totally unreasonable amount of time, I dove in and learned to do a proper sleeve placket.  The method can be seen here, although I used the instructions and template from David Page Coffin’s Shirtmaking, a book I would recommend to anyone looking for a reference for finishing details on shirts (blouses, dress collars, etc.).

Proper shirt-style plackets are not actually difficult but involve lots of folding and ironing, and seem to be exactly the kind of thing of which I could make a complete and total hash.  It appears that the shirtmaking gremlins were on vacation, though, because everything went off without a hitch.  Ladies, I owned those sleeve plackets!

I also added a small breast pocket.  Other than that, my only alterations were the usual long-torso and big-hip ones.

Next time, I need to rotate the bust darts downward and I think I’ll shave a half inch or so back off of the bodice length, and maybe hem it a bit shorter since it’s 1943 (it doesn’t look bad as it is, it just looks more like 1946).  I would definitely recommend this pattern, though.  It required much less help than 4727, it’s not difficult–the bodice and skirt have gathered sections so you don’t even have to worry about making your darts even), and it’s comfortable.  I’m already planning to make the sundress out of a blue chambray bedsheet I got at Goodwill and some old flat lace trim a friend sent me.

I’m squinting here.  It was sunnier than it looks, and windy.  The seawall is always windy.

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