Added Jul 21, 2011
Vogue 2636, Original 1940 Design: The lined dress, below-mid-knee, has close-fitting bodice, midriff, A-line skirt, side snap or zipper closing and above-elbow sleeves. The fitted, lined, above hip jacket has fold-back lapels, shoulder pads, seam detail and below-elbow or long sleeves.
Do not let the “plus difficile” rating fool you on this one – I believe the rating refers more to the jacket portion of the pattern. (And I made the jacket up years and years ago without any major problems, so it could not have been massively difficult.) However, the pattern does assume a bit of sewing knowledge, so I would not recommend it to a true beginner.
I love how little fabric this dress uses! It seems like most blouses take more than 2 yards to complete, yet this entire dress can be complete with less than 1 yards of 60” fabric! So definitely keep this pattern in mind for all those small yardage pieces in your stash.
I love the midriff, which is darted to pull in the waist. This construction works brilliantly, and I cannot believe more patterns do not use this technique.
There is no gathering in the center, but rather to each side, which is a very flattering look and makes the skirt look a bit more elegant.
I did not make any real alterations to this pattern. I decided that a bit of a high-waisted look would work for this dress so I decided to forego my usual 3/4" lengthening of the torso (and let’s be honest – I was feeling lazy). What originally kept me from using this pattern was that I did not like the sleeve length, so I shortened them by 2 inches. If/when I make this up again, I will probably shorten them even more, or substitute a different sleeve altogether.
As usual, I finished my raw edges with seam binding.
Because I used the suggested lapped zipper, I waited to finish the left side edge with my binding until after the zipper was put in using a prick-stitch. The seam binding enclosed both the rayon as well as the zipper tape. And to continue with a clean finish at the armhole, I waited to set in the left sleeve until after the zipper seam was completely finished.
Instead of the suggested 10" zipper, I used a 14" zipper – I find that side zippers can make getting in and out of a garment more difficult, and I like to have a large enough opening. Speaking of which, make sure to get your head through the opening before you do your hair!
And I used my seam binding as a hem binding to finish the skirt and sleeve hems.
I am sure I will be making another version of this dress eventually – just not in the immediate future. And I would highly recommend it to everyone with a love of 1940s fashion. Actually, if you style it right, the dress can look quite current.
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