Added Nov 23, 2010
Pattern Description: Vintage Vogue Model, Original 1948 Design, Close-fitting dress, evening-length, has shoulder pads, front extending into single-layered drape (wrong side shows), inset, front pleats/gathers, dropped-waist back bodice, side-snap or zipper closing, back-neck slit, button/loop and cap sleeves.
Lately I have been drawn to the 1940s more and more – the simple classic lines are just beautiful, and they often have such wonderful details. So, here is my version of 1940s glamour!
The drape has a hand-rolled hem with blind stitching. I adore hand sewing and there is a lot of it involved with this dress. For those of you who avoid hand sewing like the plague, you may want to skip this pattern; however, if you are up to the challenge, the finished product really is wonderful!
The flower in my hair was made using poly organza and a lighter to melt and curl the edges. The petals were then sewn together on a netting base with a couple of hair clips attached. I glammed up the hair accessory with an old beaded flower piece that has been in my bead box for years – there were portions that were missing lots of beads and these had to be removed, but the coppery color worked so well with my ensemble that I made do with the bits that were salvageable.
The pattern suggests making thread loops for the buttons on the back neck as one of the last steps. I was concerned about finding a thread that matched, etc., so I used bias tubes of self-fabric to create loops and hand basted these to the back bodice as one of the first steps so they were finished off under the back facing.
I bound all of my edges with rayon seam binding. I love this finished look, and I think it also looks more vintage than a serged edge (not that I have the option of a serger – I don’t own one yet!).
I also prick-stitched my invisible zipper by hand – this was my first time using silk thread, and there is no going back! The pattern directions give you the option of installing a facing with snaps, or a zipper. I have tried the snaps technique before, but find that the garment may open with any small movement. Perhaps this construction technique worked a bit better with the heavy-duty undergarments that were worn in the 40s? I love being able to sew a zipper by hand so my seams match up perfectly and the slippery fabric and the stiff zipper tape do not shift (this usually happens when I insert a zipper with my machine).
At first I was planning on making a pouch bag to match my dress, but after doing a little research I found an elongated silhouette was popular and decided to go with that. I started with Vogue 8347 as a pattern reference and made quite a few changes. I love the gathered look and the fact that there is a gusset piece to give a little extra room to the clutch.
I used a luscious 60% viscose/40% acetate jacquard fabric in amethyst from Bella Notte. I am lucky to live near Bella Notte’s warehouse. Each December they have a sale where they sell their bed linens, but they also have stacks and stacks of yardage for sale! They have silk velvets, rayon jaquards, embroidered cottons, and quilted velveteen, just to name a few – some examples may be seen in my inspiration collage.
I have had this fabric saved for this specific pattern for quite a few years. I knew it would drape beautifully, and the wrong side of the fabric was almost as beautiful as the front.
Make something special and practical for your friends and family this holiday season!
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