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40s houndstooth dress

Added Oct 10, 2010

by olystyrene

Sydney, Australia






My stories always have the same beginning: trudging through op-shops for fabric fabric fabric! On one occasion, I found a mini houndstooth treasure, in lightweight wool. A lovely browny-grey colour too. There was only thing for it: a delicious 1940’s dress…

I used an old Anne Adams pattern for this dress, altering the skirt length and the waist and bust widths. The woollen fabric turned out to be tricky to use, shifting around quite a bit, especially for the bodice, where pieces were cut on the bias. Luckily, the print wasn’t too large, or we may have had some issues with matching lines perfectly.. phew!

The bodice of the dress has several 40’s features which are hard to go past: rouched waist, peplum, bow on the back. One thing that threw me a little bit was the unexpected circumference of the finished neckline – it was rather tight! I ended up lowering my button placement, which gave the back neck opening a delightful little keyhole effect.

To finish the ensemble, I put on my 1940’s beaded pearl collar (this is a removable collar, which closes with a hook and eye), and a thin black belt.

Material Notes

lightweight wool




Spring, Fall, Winter
Garment Type
Business, Classic, Vintage

46 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • Img1401055272558_large

    Sep 24, 2014, 11.33 AMby SassyT

    Featured on Sassy Sewing Bees https://facebook.com/sassysewingbees

  • 886702_10151708875316538_464570504_o_large

    Jul 2, 2013, 08.39 PMby Les Bonnes Vivantes Paris

    Your body of work is fantastic, not to mention this dress-wow! And kudos for your eco-friendly fashion commitent!

    1 Reply
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      Jul 30, 2013, 12.38 AMby olystyrene

      Thank you, missvalentine! I must say, it’s not a difficult thing to commit to. Once you start, it’s very easy to keep going!

  • Enlarged_hilarity-copy_edited_large

    Jan 11, 2011, 10.15 PMby Testosterone

    Had to join the on-line commotion your dress is causing.

    Take a bow! It’s flirty, seductive, professional, and fun!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Jan 21, 2011, 09.25 AMby olystyrene

      thank you so very much! online commotion, eh? i like it!

  • Sathish_2_large

    Jan 11, 2011, 04.40 PMby Sathishkumar Damodaran

    It is very nice……so nice……….

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Jan 21, 2011, 09.24 AMby olystyrene

      thank you very much!

  • Portrait_large

    Dec 14, 2010, 02.40 PMby carlekoe

    wow, don`t know what to say. What a dress, what a body!!!! what a style…wowowowow. i am comletely jealous!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Jan 21, 2011, 09.24 AMby olystyrene

      aah jealous shmealous ;P thank you for your comment!

  • 121bcd6a71a_avatar_large

    Oct 25, 2010, 09.40 PMby harrietbazley

    Now that’s what I call sharp dressing….

    Is that a hint of lace-trimmed petticoat peeping out there? ;)

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Nov 2, 2010, 03.59 AMby olystyrene

      Thank you! And yes yes, it just might be… ;)

  • Shirley_cover_large

    Oct 17, 2010, 11.59 AMby anniekmcn

    I’m joining the petition for you to post up a version of htis pattern – it is so beautiful! Flattering and gorgeous!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Nov 2, 2010, 03.59 AMby olystyrene

      Sorry, it’s still under copyright as far as I know.. :( I’m glad you likely the dress – I would try looking online for another Anne Adams pattern. You can’t go wrong!

  • Model_shot_4_edit_large

    Oct 16, 2010, 09.32 PMby smartalex999

    This is amazing! I must have one! Is there any way you can upload a pattern! I would do anything for it!!! <3

    3 Replies
    • 3044175_l_large

      Nov 2, 2010, 03.58 AMby olystyrene

      The original is still under copyright, as far as I am aware… but have a look online for other Anne Adams patterns – they’re all really iconic!

    • Model_shot_4_edit_large

      Nov 3, 2010, 06.03 AMby smartalex999

      Thanks for the tip!

    • 3044175_l_large

      Nov 10, 2010, 12.06 AMby olystyrene

      No probs :)

  • Venus_warhol_large

    Oct 16, 2010, 08.48 PMby Liz Orlandini

    Oh my god, I love this! Can you upload a pattern? Pretty please?

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Nov 2, 2010, 03.57 AMby olystyrene

      Sorry, the pattern is still under copyright, but there are plenty of Anne Adams patterns still available for sale online. Many of them are very similar in style too, so even if you don’t find the exact same one, it’s very likely to be pretty close ;)

  • Img_4061_large

    Oct 16, 2010, 07.48 PMby Jenny Wren

    Some little white gloves would go really well with it, too. Thanks for sharing!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Nov 2, 2010, 03.56 AMby olystyrene

      I wholeheartedly agree!

  • Headshot_large

    Oct 16, 2010, 11.31 AMby tinybows

    i want a dress like this in red. thanks for the inspiration, beautiful job!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Nov 2, 2010, 03.55 AMby olystyrene

      You’re welcome! I hope you make one – I’d love to see it!

  • Eb882cf3947765ff90adf9d40522a23e56385a98_large

    Oct 16, 2010, 08.57 AMby gray

    This is such a super classy paterrn and it looks fab!! Well done!!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Nov 2, 2010, 03.55 AMby olystyrene

      Thanks so much! PS. what a cute avatar photo!!!

  • E669646f2090464e0b8b1cb496ad744fbec605cc_large

    Oct 16, 2010, 04.05 AMby lilritefoot

    Just beautiful. Classy & chic!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Oct 16, 2010, 08.44 AMby olystyrene

      Thank you very much!

  • Dsc04030_large

    Oct 15, 2010, 08.24 PMby kristykat

    Oh my gosh I can’t tell you how much I love this. Genius.

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Oct 16, 2010, 08.43 AMby olystyrene

      Hahaha! Thanks :)

  • Firstroll-3_large

    Oct 15, 2010, 02.08 PMby integerclub

    Well done, Oly! And on the front page too, woo!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Oct 16, 2010, 08.41 AMby olystyrene

      Thanks Doycey! That was so unexpected!!!

  • Missing

    Oct 15, 2010, 03.56 AMby sofasewgood

    Absolutely Gorgeous! Love everything about the project. The dress, the styling, the model herself, the photos – awesome!

    1 Reply
  • Missing

    Oct 14, 2010, 12.26 PMby BeYou TiFul

    Very well done, it looks great on you!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Oct 16, 2010, 08.40 AMby olystyrene

      Thanks alot!

  • 4bec6d03f566ef32e602036dc123453f07973bac_large

    Oct 14, 2010, 12.01 PMby sallyleigh

    Amaaaaazzzing. You look so divine in this! It is perfection.

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Oct 16, 2010, 08.40 AMby olystyrene


  • Borsa_gatto_large

    Oct 14, 2010, 10.02 AMby robygiup

    So lovely!!! It looks great and it fits you perfectly! WELL DONE! :D

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Oct 16, 2010, 08.39 AMby olystyrene

      Thank you! I’m really happy with the fit, it’s really comfortable :)

  • Hpim0377_large

    Oct 14, 2010, 07.59 AMby Susan Donnelly

    This dress is adorable and I’m now temped to create one of my own.

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Oct 16, 2010, 08.39 AMby olystyrene

      Please do! You won’t be disappointed

  • Missing

    Oct 14, 2010, 07.39 AMby colometa25lina


    1 Reply
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    Oct 14, 2010, 03.29 AMby fifuzz

    A-Dorable! You look fab, great to see an Aussie girl on the front page. I too have been dreaming of peplums. That’s it – I must make one now!

    Well done dear!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Oct 16, 2010, 08.38 AMby olystyrene

      Yay! You must, and I’d love to see the finished product!

  • Dsci0410_large

    Oct 14, 2010, 03.10 AMby momsgotanewhobby

    Incredible dress, your photos are really professionally done and that collar is icing on the cake. Superb!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Oct 16, 2010, 08.38 AMby olystyrene

      Thank you! The collar was a pretty awesome find :)

  • Dyes_large

    Oct 14, 2010, 02.43 AMby nicaban

    absolutely beautiful! well done!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Oct 16, 2010, 08.37 AMby olystyrene

      Aaw thanks ;)

  • 4b0baf013b18d4c34c8f097033869a5329edfb8b_large

    Oct 14, 2010, 12.15 AMby corinneski

    Wow! This is an absolutely fabulous dress. I’m sitting blown away by this fab dress and then I discover olystyrene is a Sydney girl like me! YAY!!

    You mention op shops and discount fabric shops – can you give me a clue to which suburbs I should be looking in?

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Oct 16, 2010, 08.37 AMby olystyrene

      Hi, thanks for your comment! To be honest, there’s not really one particular op shop to try. They’re often fairly random finds. But I do look through the manchester sections – there’s always something good you can find there. Old bedsheets are always safe – I’ve made alot of different things from bedhsheets and pillowcases, the prints are great and there lots of fabric types to play with.. Good luck!

  • Strawberry_large

    Oct 13, 2010, 11.20 PMby strawberrypancakesbykim

    SO gorgeous!!

    1 Reply
  • Avatar_large

    Oct 13, 2010, 09.22 PMby annbazona

    hi i like it soooo much would u plz send me the pattren for it. plz

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Oct 16, 2010, 08.46 AMby olystyrene

      Hi, it’s Anne Adam 4881 – you should be able to find it or something very similar on ebay or etsy. Many of the Anne Adams patterns from that era had very similar design features. Good luck!

  • Missing

    Oct 13, 2010, 07.21 PMby sweetskye

    I will be repetitive…it’s beautiful and you look great. Congratulations!!!
    1 Reply
  • C360_2013-07-09-19-57-47-392-1_large

    Oct 13, 2010, 06.09 PMby popbabe7

    Amazing dress- it lloks fantastic.

    1 Reply
  • Beach_baby_ii_large

    Oct 13, 2010, 05.47 PMby seasidelaundry

    So worth your efforts! That is a Vogue cover quality photo!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Oct 16, 2010, 08.31 AMby olystyrene

      Hahahah! That’s very nice if you to say!

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