1960s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

McCall’s 2440 (1962) back-wrap “apron” dresses, again

By on July 27, 2015

I made this one in 2009 in pink cotton-polyester with pink gingham binding.

Version one used this awesome faintly-Japanese Jules and Coco floral print from Joann’s.  I actually made this, discovered that the bodice was too big (it was too big on the pink dress but I’d gotten used to wearing it that way), tried to jerry-rig a fix, and then gave up.  Then I rallied and took the dress apart, cut a new bodice, and put it back together.  It was worth all that seam ripping:

19612440 19 Japanese flowers done

I went to DSW for work shoes on Saturday and found pink loafers on clearance.  I’m not really a novelty shoe kind of girl but something told me I might need them for my early 1960’s stuff:

19612440 20 pink shoes

I finished another version last week of the same dress but in a yellow atomic print I got at Joann’s a few years ago.  I loved it, kind of, but it was way too modern and the wrong scale for all my 1940’s dresses.  This pattern is 1961 so it’s a much better fit.  You can’t really see them, but it has big black buttons on the pockets.  (I borrowed DSW’s mirror.)

19612440 21 yellow atomic done

A word on fitting this pattern: It runs in small-medium-large-etc. sizes, not individual sizes.  This one is a 14-16 (bust 34-36) and I think the shoulders run a bit big.  I fixed it by taking in the shoulders a size on the upper front bodice (not the lower front, just the upper front) and by taking a wedge out of the back bodice.  I basically took an inch out of the center edge of the back, tapering to the lower side-seam corner, to shorten the center edge without shortening the sides.  This pulled it closer to my back and helped the gapping.

The yellow dress and pink dresses both have buttons added to keep them closed.  I’m not sure I need that now and have not added one to the flowered dress yet; I’ll wear it awhile and see.  (The back button catches on my hair, which is annoying.)

Flickr set: YellowFlickr set: Flowered

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1960s | Vintage Sewing

McCall’s 2440 (1961): Polly Esther

By on August 22, 2009

Okay, don’t laugh–this is one of my “modern” patterns.

I’m not kidding. Apart from a handful of genuinely modern patterns, that this is copyright 1961 makes it the most recent pattern I have. It was nicknamed “Polly Esther” because it’s made from–drum roll, please–a pink cotton-polyester bedsheet and cotton-polyester gingham trim. I normally use 100% cotton. I think I’ll stick with that policy from now on, too, since the cotton-poly was rather slippery and fussy to work with.

I really am unreasonably enamored of the pink-with-gingham-trim idea, though.

The appallingly-bad mirror shot below shows the results:

The shoulders are a bit big and I think I’ll probably trace the pattern piece and adjust them accordingly (bring the neckline in toward the center, mostly), but otherwise it seems to fit well. It think it will also fit better when I’m not wearing it over a bunchy tank-top.

The project Flickr set is here.

I shrank the pockets up a bit since they were in the running for the biggest pockets I’d ever encountered; bigger, possibly, even than those on Simplicity 4015 (1952), which were pretty darned big. The smaller pockets–I only trimmed off 1/2 inch all the way around–are still as big as any I’ll ever need.

I was irritated, however, to discover that I didn’t need anywhere near as much bias binding as the pattern said I would. I spent a lot of time custom-making that pink gingham bias because nobody in my area carries it pre-made. I guess I’ll have to use the rest for something else.

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Addendum: Now that I’ve worn it for a day, I think I will also be adding a button and loop on the back to help keep things from gapping. I love the idea of back-wrap dresses but they seem to be tricky to pull off in practice.

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