1940s | Vintage Sewing

Decisions, decisions

April 4, 2013

I have a question for all of you. I have 4.5 yard of this lovely floral print challis (it’s 54″ wide) and am having a devil of a time figuring out exactly what I want to do with it. I bought it knowing I wanted to do something late 30s-early 40s, with gathering details and so forth, but am limited not only by my pattern stash when it comes to this sort of thing, but also by the fact that I need it to unbutton in front (needs to be relatively nursing friendly).

I have a couple of patterns that may be in the running, but am not sure that fabric-wise they will be the best choice, as this challis doesn’t have a whole lot of body. I can fix that to a certain extent with interfacing, but would like some other opinions.

Here’s the fabric….

And here are the two patterns I’m toying with at the moment…

Marian Martin 9241

And Anne Adams 4811…

I’m totally comfortable with combining components of patterns, or drafting new pieces (although I would rather not take the time right now), but I’m having a really hard time deciding A. if either of these will work, or B. if this is really the style I want to go for at all. These are very different from most of what I have in my closet now (although I am a fan of this era), but most of what I have is also not nursing friendly and I’d love to have something practical but cute.

Any opinions on these two patterns, or suggestions of other patterns to look at would be much appreciated!




  1. I absolutely love that print– so cute and feminine without being twee. Dress B is also completely adorable! Wish I had both your yardage and pattern!

  2. Go with pattern B and use a solid color for the “yoke”- or at least that’s what I would do. Beautiful stuff though 🙂 Good luck!

  3. I’d use the second option since you’re working w/ challis. The first pattern is cute, but the peplum and sleeve details would end up looking droopy in challis. I have to totally admire your fabric because I have about 5 yards of the same print, but in a pink colorway (and I’m also in the middle of trying to decide what to do with it)

  4. My vote is for option B, and I like the idea of pairing the floral print with a solid yoke.

    I actually have this same fabric, and used it for an early 40s button-front wrap dress (Anne Adams 4698). It worked very well with this pattern; I adore the print and feel of the fabric–it’s so very 40s!

  5. I think you shouldn’t make either dress, and instead send the fabric to me. (Is it available online anywhere?)

  6. Cute fabric. Cute dress. I love the idea of a solid yoke. However, do spot test your fabric. Learn from my mistake … It’s embarrassing to have two wet spots on a gorgeous dress. The print should hide it, but solids are less forgiving.

    Last time I nursed, my supervisor for my part-time job sent me to the file room because she couldn’t have clients seeing the spots on my very conservative dress. That was 17 years ago so people may be more enlightened now.

  7. My vote is for the first pattern – I think the bow would look better in the drapey fabric – I think you’d have to interface the heck out of that fabric to keep the collar crisp…..

  8. Did you ever think of beach pyjamas? Folkwear #252 is absolutely gorgeous and looks like a dress. Very 30’s. Even 40’s trousers and bra top would be cute in that fabric.

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