1940s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

First post resolutions

January 4, 2012

Good evening, everyone! I’m Pimpinett, which is an old-fashioned adjective in the Swedish language, meaning vain, coquettish, careful of one’s apperance in a somewhat fussy manner. It’s rather fitting.

I make 30’s- to 50’s-inspired clothes for myself, and occasionally other people as well. I haven’t done as much as I’d like to lately, though, and I don’t get around to having decent photographs taken of the things I make enough. I hope that having this space to share and draw inspiration from will help on both counts.

Meanwhile, here are a few photographs of a late 40’s or possibly early 50’s evening gown I made some rather vulgar changes and additions to, and wore on New Year’s Eve.

Dress and vintage brocade fabric.

I really wanted to make an evening gown for New Year’s, but there wasn’t enough time, and I’ve been doing a bit too much frenzied last-minute sewing this fall. As a matter of fact, my significant other kind of forbade me. I bought this lovely late 40’s or early 50’s dress instead, in a champagne jacquard satin, which fit me very well but had a few fixable issues; it had been rather shoddily altered with the back darts taken out entirely, the bodice seams were coming apart here and there, the wide, square neckline was rather unflattering on my large bust – too low to work as an elegant, squared-off sort of boat neck, but high enough to look a little clumsy and matronly. It’s also sleeveless, which I’m not really comfortable with, and I tend to get cold.

I should make a petticoat, too.

The excellent vintage store where I got it had the solution in the form of a 1,5 m piece of  pale gold vintage brocade. I took the bodice and skirt apart, copied part of the front of the bodice and cut it out in the brocade, undid the seams around the neckline and armholes and sewed it back in with the brocade on top of the lining fabric, and undid part of the center front seam, so I could turn it down to expose the brocade and create a sort of sweetheart neckline instead of the square. This is the vulgar part; surprising amounts of cleavage. Oh, well. I shortened the shoulder straps, redid the back darts and side seams, hemmed the skirt properly (it was tacked up) and attached the bodice again.

Also, I made a simple, short bolero jacket from the brocade. Big 40’s shoulders with high, darted sleeves, because I love that and wanted to take the dress back in style a few years, and turned-back front panels, to echo the bodice. I should make a pair of huge shoulder pads for it, but for this time I made do with a measly little pair of modern ones and a lot of wool stuffing in the sleeve heads. I also wish I’d underlined the front with something heavy and treated it more like a lapel, but I may do that at some later date, too. It works, for now.

The bolero. Yeah, it was New Year's Eve.


  1. First off, meg- babe. Secondly, that dress is to die for. Love the length, colour, style. Also love the fact that everyone in the background appears to be in vintage too…. Seems like a fun party!

  2. Thank you, everyone! Yes, I’m lucky enough to have plenty of friends who share that interest. We had a seven-course dinner in full vintage evening dress, and opened the doors for some more people afterwards. It was glorious.

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