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1940s Floral Frock

Added Jul 21, 2011

by lauramae

Novato, Californ...






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.

Material Notes

  • Rayon Challis * Zipper * Hug Snug seam binding




Summer, Fall
Garment Type
Classic, Vintage

6 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • Missing

    Jul 22, 2011, 03.51 PMby Christianne DeHart

    1 yard?! I have this pattern. I am sure I have one yard somewhere! Nice seams you have there.

    1 Reply
    • Burda_style_pic_large

      Jul 22, 2011, 08.58 PMby lauramae

      Oops, did I say 1 yard – I meant under 2 yards (which is still a very lean amount for yardage, in my opinion!).

  • Missing

    Jul 22, 2011, 12.54 AMby Lesleys

    Really great. What a lovely style

  • Machines_and_me_large

    Jul 21, 2011, 11.03 PMby MarthaO

    I like this dress. Since it’s seamed in the back, I would probably just put the zipper back there without ever having to worry about mussing my hair. But I suppose that means I forego a certain finished look at the back as well. So many life compromises…

  • Chloebluebonnets_large

    Jul 21, 2011, 06.55 PMby MissHickory

    the fit and color is great on you…. prefect!!!!!

  • 036_large

    Jul 21, 2011, 06.31 PMby Debby H

    Gorgeous – all your garments are so well made.

  • Dscn0844_large

    Jul 21, 2011, 04.35 AMby applesofavalon

    Love it! You make such classy dresses!

    • This is a question
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