I hope you’re doing well and keeping warm (or cool!) wherever you are in the world. I’m happy to share my latest retro creation — the 1940’s New England Dress from Decades of Style.
As the weather here in Northern California is returning to “normal” and we’re experiencing a cold and wet winter thus far, I’ve been in need of more warm winter dresses. Enter this long-sleeved beauty with it’s billowing sleeves combined with this lovely and warm teal worsted wool crepe from my stash (purchased from Fabric Mart a while back).
This pattern is fun to make and before you know it, you have a dress! The instructions are easy to follow and the pattern pieces go together nicely. It gives you the opportunity to use some cool buttons and who doesn’t love pockets?
I’m going to be honest, I looked at this pattern for months before I decided that I wanted to make it. I was a bit afraid the bodice would end up resembling a child’s bib and that perhaps the collar might be too high for my liking. I was happy to see that neither was true and I didn’t have to adapt it for my comfort.
I graded this pattern up to about a size 48″ bust and didn’t do any modifications to the pattern or design. I usually do a swayback adjustment on my back bodice piece, and when I had the bodice completed and draped on my dress form, I considered doing that. However, looking at the pattern’s drawing and photos online, the bodice is supposed to have a blouson effect, so I left the back piece alone. When I make this again, I’d probably make the sleeve cuff a little longer, as it was a tight fit around my wrists.
I was able to use some of my vintage 1940’s bakelite buttons for this dress. I had both the larger ones for the collar and pockets, plus smaller ones for the sleeve cuffs. I don’t know about you, but being able to use my treasured buttons from my collection makes me incredibly happy. I know some people don’t like to use vintage pieces and instead keep them to look at, but I figure these are meant to be used and I look forward to using more of them when the right patterns and fabrics come along.
I made this dress in about a day and a half to 2 days and rushed through some things that I would normally take a little more time with. But I suppose when I want to wear something, I do rush myself instead of my normal slow sewing speed. I normally would have finished the seams with rayon seam binding, but I didn’t have time to. I did do a lot of hand sewing on the hem and around the facings. I wish my “invisible” stitches on the front facings were more invisible, so I may go back and fix that. After all, I plan to wear this dress for years to come!
My favorite thing about this dress is that it’s very warm and the wool crepe is comfy without being scratchy. The sleeves make me feel like I’m Katherine Hepburn and of course I adore the 40’s design. I look forward to making a short-sleeved version in the future. It would be awesome to use some different colors/prints and take advantage of the pattern pieces to play with color blocking.
- Dress: Decades of Style 1940’s New England Dress in teal worsted wool crepe, made by me
- Shoes: BC Footwear