Added Apr 20, 2010
Earlier this year, I finally found the perfect 1940s pinafore pattern (last image), after scouring Ebay and Etsy for months. I have admired the sweet style for years, but per usual for me, it’s taken me awhile to build up to this project. It’s one of those dresses, in my mind, that needs not only the right pattern, but I also had some pretty specific ideas about fabric choices! First, it had to be cotton (keeping with the largely “wash friendly” materials used for dresses like this in the 40s), I wanted a print that was evocative of the period (but didn’t have to be 100% perfect), and I didn’t want the final dress to be so costumey that I couldn’t wear it out and about.
I started with this darling, vintage mail order pattern (thanks to Etsy), and several yards of a pretty cotton print I picked up at Sew Mama Sew! (on sale, no less. Hurrah for sales!). The pattern itself was pretty quick and easy, despite the instructions being vague (not unusual for a mail order pattern). I also got to try out my “new” (really vintage) Dritz bound buttonhole tool on this project. Golly–how did I ever muddle through traditional bound buttonholes before?! lol. This miracle tool cut down on my time by at least half–if not more–working on perfectly formed buttonholes. No basting, no complicated marking, and less frustration! Another first is that I added rick rack to this dress (along the sleeves and pockets; which I also added–the pattern didn’t have any pockets!). I’ve never used rick rack on a dress before, despite it being one of my favorite vintage trim options.
This dress turned out t be just the sort of style that is comfortable for wearing while I’m doing housework or sprawled across the floor working on a sewing project. The sleeveless style is a plus now that it’s getting warm, although the ruffles make wearing a cardigan (in the evenings) awkward. The only thing I would change if I made this again is to raise the top edge along the side front and side back pieces. Surprisingly, they are cut lower than I would have expected on a vintage pattern, and keeping the bra hidden along the side is a bit of a pain. I’d probably also swap out all the bias binding along the neckline for a simpler facing (something I normally do, but didn’t on this project; unusual for me!).
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