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Party like it's 1939

Added Apr 20, 2010

by candyjoyce

Southampton, Uni...






I found this 1939 dress pattern on Etsy. Once again I got frustrated looking for a vintage pattern that exactly matched my measurements so I just grabbed one that was close enough, this one is a bit smaller than my measurements.

This pattern has a lot of nice details that make it utterly impossible to do a tissue fitting so I purchased some super-cheap fabric and decided to try out the top section of the dress, the idea being that if it worked then I would add a peplum and wear it as a blouse.

The recommended finishing techniques for this pattern are bias facings and bias bindings, which mean’t I got to try out my bias tape maker for the first time. Unfortunatley using bias facings as finishings looks messy and they don’t sit well, I have prick-stitched them down on this version but I will draft an all-in-one neck facing if I remake this as a dress.

Usually when I am pinning and cutting my fabric I use an idiots version of tailors tacks which is to stick pins through the markings on the pattern and then stick a pin through from the other side to mark the other section of fabric and then after unpinning the pattern I pull the two pieces of fabric apart and hope that my marker pins stay in……For this pattern I decided to use proper non-idiot tailors tacks for the first time. Why-oh-why have I not done this before??

This pattern has the MOTHER of all sleeve heads, they are huge AND they have a taffeta circle of stiffening (folded in half and basted inside the sleeve head). The bulk of the 3 layers of fabric made it impossible to pull the gather stitches which kept snapping so I used my ruffle foot for the first time and it worked like a dream.

All in all this fabric was a bit of struggle and a bit of a mess as an end product but a nice pattern and with a few tweaks and a nice plain fabirc this could be a nice dress.

Carrying on with my vintage theme and thanks to Burda Blog I have found a great line of vintage reproduction patterns in multiple and plus sizes. Hoorah. I have just bought a nice vintage reproduction blouse pattern from http://www.evadress.com/index.html

Material Notes

2.2 Metres Crepe Microprint fabric for £2.99 from Ebay seller nadeem1001
If this fabric were a lady I would call it the B word, it’s hard to pin, hard to cut straight, hard to sew, hard to press…..Love the print though and can’t complain about the price.




Garment Type


Lulliths Vintage Dress Patterns on Etsy
Gerties New Blog for Better Sewing
Burda Blog

10 Comments Sign in to add a post

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    Jun 13, 2012, 03.43 PMby cathysews

    really gorgeous

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    Apr 28, 2010, 02.28 AMby ustreetmove


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    Apr 26, 2010, 10.12 PMby amibambini

    Those sleeves are for serious! Great job, it sounds like it was a mission but well worth it.

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    Apr 26, 2010, 10.01 PMby stephiaffi

    Fabulous! Absolutely love the fabric and pattern and all!

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    Apr 26, 2010, 11.16 AMby thecuriouskiwi

    I think the finished product is great despite all your problems, they were well worth working through. I love that you made a dress into a top and your fabric is a great choice

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    Apr 25, 2010, 04.53 PMby mahaila

    Every pattern brings new learning experiences. Sounds like your learnt heaps from this one! Love it!

    2 Replies
    • 1253ef6da08f9a1c901d80b9de58822a5056c690_large

      Apr 25, 2010, 05.34 PMby candyjoyce

      That is so true, I feel I have especially learn’t a lot with the last two patterns I have used as they have both been vintage patterns, I have gained a lot of what I need to know from tutorials here on BurdaStyle.

      I noticed from your profile that you are currently living in Berlin, I am coming there for a couple of days in May so if you could point me in the direction of any fabric shops that would be great.

      oh and by the way, I love your green dress with the black silk straps.


    • 2008-04-24_093_large

      Apr 25, 2010, 08.43 PMby mahaila

      In Berlin, much like the rest of Germany… this is my experience anyway….. sewing is a VERY expensive hobby. It is much more accessible in Australia. So I tend to shop cheap. The one place to go is the Turkish markets in Kreuzberg, Tuesdays and Fridays, open noon til 6. Just hold out the roll of fabric and yell ‘zwei metern bitte’.

      Have fun in Berlin

  • Jagg_large

    Apr 25, 2010, 04.36 PMby lizah

    really nice, good job!!

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    Apr 25, 2010, 04.34 PMby Natalia *

    I love those shoulders and sleeves. Fantastic.

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    Apr 25, 2010, 03.30 PMby chichil

    That’s too gorgeous! You did a great job, you should try the dress version too!

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    Apr 25, 2010, 03.23 PMby mlssfshn

    Waist seems to sit higher in the finished garment than the images on the pattern. I love the fabric, you did a good job despite the problems you had.

    1 Reply
    • 1253ef6da08f9a1c901d80b9de58822a5056c690_large

      Apr 25, 2010, 05.37 PMby candyjoyce

      Thanks for your comment,

      You are right, I need to lengthen the waist section a bit so that the waistband sits properly under the bust, at the moment it does pull a bit and is probably because the pattern is a bit small.


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