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1930s Sailor Dress

Added Sep 20, 2011

by wearinghistory

San Diego Area, ...






I made this dress for the Art Deco Festival on the Queen Mary.

The pattern I used was vintage from 1935, McCall 8139. I love the unexpected low back on this dress.

I was originally going to make this in a solid but changed my mind, inspired by the plaid used on one of the illustrations on the pattern cover. The body of the dress is a vintage cotton fabric which is printed with a bias plaid design (the dress is cut on straight of grain). It was a bit of a pain to match the plaid for the seams, but I had been holding onto the fabric forever waiting for the right project to come along and I’m glad I put in the extra effort when making this dress. The collar is a new white cotton pique. The collar is trimmed in a red braid, and the pocket flaps are decorated with vintage red plastic buttons. The belt was purchased from a thrift store.

More photos from the event are on my blog here

Material Notes

For the body of the dress: a vintage cotton print
For the collar: a new white cotton pique




Summer, Spring
Garment Type
Beach, Vintage


McCall 8139 on Vintage Pattern Wiki
My blog

28 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • Test_large

    Apr 11, 2014, 05.39 AMby ginaminton

    Lovely dress.

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    Aug 26, 2013, 04.01 PMby pictureit17

    Great dress!

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    Oct 4, 2011, 08.37 PMby SweetC

    LOVED this dress!!!! <3

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    Sep 28, 2011, 07.16 PMby tirrs

    this is one of the nicest dress I’ve ever seen! so lovely…

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    Sep 27, 2011, 07.02 PMby lullith74

    This is adorable. One day I’ll make it to the Queen Mary Art Deco Fest.

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    Sep 25, 2011, 08.16 PMby patti-r

    Adorable, great job!!!!!!!!

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    Sep 25, 2011, 03.20 PMby sophielophie

    Such a cute dress! Love it.

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    Sep 23, 2011, 03.18 AMby gabcorb

    That is a gorgeous dress, and perfect on you! Looks like a fun photo location too :-)

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    Sep 23, 2011, 12.14 AMby minimimi

    I love love love it!

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    Sep 22, 2011, 09.38 PMby Bella Gertrude


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    Sep 22, 2011, 08.33 PMby nouvellegamine

    omg- this is amazing. i love the v in the back!

  • Missing

    Sep 22, 2011, 01.51 PMby picklelilly


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    Sep 22, 2011, 02.47 AMby Ruffles Gazebo

    oh wow this dress is truely gorgeous! you look a stunner! and agreed, unexpected low back is really quite fantastic!

  • Missing

    Sep 21, 2011, 07.37 PMby anneecharri


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    Sep 21, 2011, 06.45 PMby gemmafloyd

    This is so beautiful!!!

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    Sep 21, 2011, 06.39 PMby bhs

    wow wow wowwish! It is awesome!

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    Sep 21, 2011, 03.17 PMby carottesauvage

    huu! love it!

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    Sep 21, 2011, 11.00 AMby almasa


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    Sep 21, 2011, 10.39 AMby janene

    Just stunning. What a perfect fit. Is the fabric cut on the cross or it that how the fabric is? I love the low back and a sailor collar is always darling! Amazing photos too!

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    Sep 21, 2011, 01.01 AMby mollykatherine

    Amazing, amazing, amazing!! I’m entirely envious, it turned out just like the picture on the cover, which almost never happens, i’m very impressed!

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    Sep 20, 2011, 11.11 PMby elegantmusings

    You are seriously the most inspiring seamstress, Lauren!!!! :)

  • Dec-avatar_large

    Sep 20, 2011, 11.11 PMby elegantmusings

    You are seriously the most inspiring seamstress, Lauren!!!! :)

  • Holy_large

    Sep 20, 2011, 11.05 PMby tungufoss

    This is to die for. La-la-LOVE it!

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    Sep 20, 2011, 10.32 PMby tinapickles

    Love this. Want this.

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    Sep 20, 2011, 10.14 PMby cmetzel

    Great work! Love the plaid.

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    Sep 20, 2011, 09.32 PMby ichigogirl

    I have to second MientjiB: fabulous! I’ve actually got a slightly similar 30’s pattern that I’ve intended to use forever, I hope seeing your can make it happen :-) Great styling, and I love your shoes…

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    Sep 20, 2011, 08.40 PMby MientjiB


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    Sep 20, 2011, 08.28 PMby missjackieo

    wow , I love the silhouette , its quite a different kind of sailor dress , quite refreshing , and the shoes are just splendid

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