It has been too long since I sewed a dress! My patchwork Sally dress for Halloween took an enormous amount of effort, and then the holidays happened, so recently I decided to remedy this by making a simple pattern with a fun print!
I have an armoire full of fabrics, but most of them are either insanely fancy (dupioni silks, and the like), or inappropriate for the season. So, in an effort to ease back into sewing clothing, I knew I would need a straightforward pattern, but not one I’d sewn before (there’s no adventure in that!), and fabric that’s not difficult to work with. This, to me, usually means cotton, because it tends to be inexpensive and/or on sale, plus the prints are fun and the fabric is super cooperative/non-stretchy.
As a general petite-person rule, I shortened the hemline by (an insane) 8 inches! Since this is a 1940s pattern, fashions dictated longer hemlines, however, as you can tell, it still comes to my knees. If you are on any kind of budget, make sure you have a working idea of where you prefer your hemline. (You’ll save enormous amounts of time, money and fabric this way!) If I hadn’t removed the extra length before cutting out my pattern pieces, I would have needed an additional yard of fabric! As it was, I managed to make this dress using only three yards (sans the suggested shoulder pads), and it is completely appropriate for work, or as a vintage-style cocktail dress!
This pattern was definitely simple to sew, and although I did need to make some adjustments, they were all completely doable with a minimal amount of seam ripping! For my figure, that included taking larger darts (front and back), amending the curved front seam, as well as taking in the side seams between the sleeves and hips. All of these changes were made due to my “hourglass” shape, which requires making a larger size to accommodate my bust/hips and then making the necessary changes through the waist and shoulders.
Not only did I manage to create this dress with slightly less than the suggested yardage, but I have enough left over to make a matching hat! (When I do, no worries, I will absolutely post the final results/fab ensemble!) During one of my estate sale excursions I found, and immediately purchased, an un-covered hat form. It just so happens to be a lovely 40s-style, wide brim just aching to be covered in scissor fabric, with a contrasting black under-brim and ribbon! Also, I’m officially on the lookout for antique and/or vintage tiny scissors to help create the feathered accent piece! (It will double as a brooch for those rare occasions that aren’t hat-propriate.) If you see some, let me know!
For those rare occasions not requiring a hat, a fabulous 1940s inspired hairdo will definitely be an acceptable substitute! I know there are lots of tutorials, inspiration, and celebrity throwback styles to choose from! Some of these styles are easy to reproduce at home with some hot rollers and bobby pins, but obviously there are others that require finesse, four arms and extra eyes, so maybe go to a stylist. Here’s some vintage hair inspiration to help you decide!
See?? You could absolutely do that! If I can pull together a couple of victory rolls before 9:00AM with my unwashed, super fine hair, you too can recreate a glamorous vintage-inspired look! Besides, once you invest in a set of hot rollers (I bought these several years ago for $15 at Walgreens!), you can create almost any 40s-60s hairstyles. It all comes down to effort, brushing, and maybe some teasing. It’ll all be worth it when you look amazing and feel super confident! So, if you’ve got fun plans this weekend, try out a retro outfit and/or hairstyle and enjoy the compliments!
Do you wear vintage and/or vintage-style clothes from the 40s? What about hairstyles? Would you pair a vintage hairstyle with a modern/trendy look? Why or why not?