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40s drape dress

Added Dec 6, 2010

by olystyrene

Sydney, Australia






I’ll give you one guess where I found the fabric for this dress ;) It’s quite a lovely burnt orange colour, a very lightweight cotton (blend?) with an embroidered paisley-esque design. Lovely lovely lovely!

The fabric was the perfect weight for a draped dress I have been dying to make since I found the pattern. It’s a lovely classic 1940’s style, with lots of delicious features – the demure sweetheart neckline, soft neckline pleats, short shirt sleeves, and of course, the very dramatic draped skirt. I gently emphasized the neckline with a single vintage button.

This was a time consuming project, but one that I put a lot of love into. Loads of careful pressing was required, especially around the bodice. The fabric is very prone to wrinkles and creases, so this dress is fairly high maintenance in terms of everyday wear.

I love how well the orange goes with light blue and turquoise so I always find myself gravitating to these colours to accessorise this piece. One thing I haven’t gotten round to making yet is a duck egg blue satin cummerbund. I think it was go perfectly!

Material Notes

embroidered cotton, vintage button




Spring, Fall
Garment Type
Classic, Evening Wear, Vintage

15 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • Missing

    Dec 12, 2010, 08.59 AMby sofasewgood

    My gosh! You look just stunning, darling. So proud of you!

    1 Reply
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      Dec 14, 2010, 12.14 AMby olystyrene

      Aaw thank you :) When are you going to show off YOUR creations??

  • Burda_avatar_004_large

    Dec 9, 2010, 09.02 PMby mamamodista

    I am really impressed with the workmanship and styling! The colors are great and you’ve encouraged me to use your color combo since orange is my favorite color! Well done on all levels!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Dec 11, 2010, 03.30 AMby olystyrene

      Thank you so much!

  • Me_pecks_large

    Dec 7, 2010, 11.06 PMby nessys

    Wow – you have done an incredible job of this Honey – so lovely! That fabric is incredible! I don’t know how you manage to find all these treasures but you certainly make the most of them!! You and the dress look amazingly beautiful! And wow – I would have never thought that that colour combo of orange and blue could look so great together!!! Just wonderful.

    I read the comment below re your hair – you always do an amazing job of it. I too have trawled the net for vintage hair tips – do you have thick hair? I think it looks like you do – with my small amount of “baby silk” these looks can be difficult – but yours always looks superb! xxx

    3 Replies
    • 3044175_l_large

      Dec 7, 2010, 11.13 PMby olystyrene

      Thank you, Nessy! I think the process of looking for fabric is all about patience and high hopes. I never know what to expect, so it’s hard to be disappointed when I find something new.

      Anyway anyway anyway, the hair.. My hair is actually ridiculously fine!!!!!!!!! To my great bitterness and frustration!!!! The trick is to prep it with teasing, especially at the top to get the curls and rings into shape. Not hardcore teasing like required for a solid beehive, but enough so the hair stays in place and has a bit of volume. Then add product of choice to make it behave! xoxoxox

    • Me_pecks_large

      Dec 7, 2010, 11.19 PMby nessys

      Wow! For fine hair you do a fantastic job! You have given me hope to continue the quest for fine, yet glamorous hair!

    • 3044175_l_large

      Dec 7, 2010, 11.28 PMby olystyrene

      Aah good luck, my sweet friend! I know the woes, I share them with you!

  • Img_5396_large

    Dec 7, 2010, 08.13 PMby pampula

    gorgeous fabric and clever skirt! very pretty:)

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Dec 7, 2010, 11.04 PMby olystyrene

      Thank you so much! :)

  • Raw_0468_large

    Dec 7, 2010, 01.48 AMby aluckmann

    This is quite lovely. The neckline and the sleeves are my favorite part.

    1 Reply
  • Vintage_lady_resize_large

    Dec 6, 2010, 03.45 PMby vintagegal

    Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! (can you tell I am swooning over this dress?) Can you share the pattern #? I would love to make this dress. Also, I am looking for a good tutorial on doing the 40’s hairstyling-yours always looks beautiful. Any recommendations? Anyway, congrats on an amazing sewing project, and beautiful styling as well.

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Dec 6, 2010, 11.08 PMby olystyrene

      Thank you soooo much! You know I looove your projects, so that’s a real compliment! I’ll look up the pattern that I used, it’s a vintage 40’s one. Stay tuned! Re: hair, there are loads of tutorials on the interwebs. I trawled through lots of these before I started experimenting. Now I just sort of invent my own :)

  • Firstroll-3_large

    Dec 6, 2010, 02.45 PMby integerclub

    OMG! So gorgeous, Ol!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Dec 6, 2010, 11.02 PMby olystyrene

      Thanks, Doyceling!!

  • Priscilla_03_large

    Dec 6, 2010, 12.31 PMby be-bops1

    That is One.Cool.Dress. Love it. What’s the pattern?

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Dec 6, 2010, 11.02 PMby olystyrene

      Thank you! It’s a vintage 1940’s pattern. I’ll look up the pattern number for you :)

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    Dec 6, 2010, 10.15 AMby nikkishell


    1 Reply
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    Dec 6, 2010, 08.44 AMby loyl8

    Seriously OMG!!! I am in love with this whole ensemble!!!! The dress is fantastic but the way you styled it with the turquoise wonderful!! Where did you find such an awesome tippet(stole)?

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Dec 6, 2010, 11.01 PMby olystyrene

      This colour combination is really one of my favourites. Actually, what appears to be a stole in the photos is in fact a 3/4 sleeve cropped cardigan with a very dramatic faux fur collar! And it was one of those rare $1 purchases on ebay!

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    Dec 6, 2010, 07.43 AMby zaarissima

    an absolutly beautiful fabric for a wonderful dress! Great work!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Dec 6, 2010, 11.00 PMby olystyrene

      Thank you so much!

  • Cara_kiss_large

    Dec 6, 2010, 04.59 AMby caramia-made

    Brilliant! My cousin is planning a 1940s-themed wedding next summer, I will have to show her your dress as a possible style for the bridesmaids. Well done!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Dec 6, 2010, 11.00 PMby olystyrene

      What a great theme, I wholeheartedly approve ;)

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    Dec 6, 2010, 03.19 AMby missymellie

    absolutely stunning!! so many brilliant details and the fabric is gorgeous!!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Dec 6, 2010, 10.59 PMby olystyrene

      Thanks! Concentrating on all the details was a really wonderful prospect, because I was curious to find out whether they would look as good in real life as they did on the sketch!

  • Valentine1_large

    Dec 6, 2010, 02.30 AMby lili123

    I also admire the fact that you use all recycled materials….one day i would like to say that i do the same :o)

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Dec 6, 2010, 03.06 AMby olystyrene

      Thanks :) It’s never too late to start!!

  • Valentine1_large

    Dec 6, 2010, 01.15 AMby lili123

    gorgeous!!!love the drape and the combination of colors.

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Dec 6, 2010, 01.53 AMby olystyrene

      Thank you so much! :D

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