May 31, 2016


And here it is: My dress from the magazine Beyer's Mode from the summer of 1943! The fifth item for this year's Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge (I didn't pledge a specific number of projects this year, but in the past two years five was the target number. So, I am doing pretty well when it comes to vintage sewing).

I have talked about the magazine, the pattern and my alterations in earlier posts. I didn't mention before that this dress is supposed to have thin shoulder pads which you can make using the pattern piece from another dress pattern from the same magazine. I didn't make the shoulder pad. The shoulders don't look too high or too wide (and I know my shoulders are just a little bit on the square side for some patterns) so I only found out about the pads when the dress was almost finished and I read the four, very short, lines of instructions printed on the pattern sheet. 
Of course, small shoulder pads might give the dress a more full-on 1940's silhouette but to me, it is much more wearable without.

And even without that added shoulder shaping, I was actually surprised at how closely the end result resembles that little drawing. Fashion drawings are notorious for giving an idealized image which may have nothing to do with the real item of clothing. Illustration ladies tend to be so tall, thin and curved that no real person can hope to live up to their example. It is one of the great issues for anyone who is starting to sew: You pick your pattern based on those nice pictures and get disappointed by the results again and again (I am among those who would recommend beginners to start with patterns illustrated with photographs but for vintage patterns, that is often not an option).

I've never worn a dress with such a bloused bodice before so I didn't really know what to expect. I was afraid it would make me look to bulky up top (even with my small bust size!) but the toile already told me this one doesn't. And if you belt the dress (like you're supposed to do) that wide top really helps to give the impression of a tiny waist. To allow the blousing to work well, I made a complicated side closure for this dress: There is an invisible zipper in skirt part and a snap placket in the top. 
Oh, and the original design has pockets. I love pockets as much as the next girl but I decided against adding them in this dress. Double welt pockets in a fairly slim fitting skirt in linen seemed rather risky AND I didn't think their position, pretty much directly over the wearer's groin, would be very flattering. 

The fabrics I chose both came from my stash: the yoke (which is cut in one with the sleeves, even though the illustration suggests an inserted sleeve) and collar are made from the mystery blend I bought for my 1929 dress and for the rest of the dress I used a blue/purple linen which I think I bought in the summer of 2014. Being linen, it does crease easily but it is also very comfortable in warm weather. 

Oh, and of course, like we all do, I tried the dress on as soon as I possibly could during construction. And doing I wasn't so sure about the style... 
There is something I always slightly worry about with color-blocked designs. Star Trek uniform. I loved Star Trek as teenager, still do when I happen to watch it again. However, that doesn't mean I want to look like I am on my way to a fan convention on any random day. It is one of the reasons why I've always stayed away from black clothes with colourful yokes.
In this case, I hadn't really thought about it when sewing or when picking fabric. And there it was... Without the belt, this dress really reminds me of the uniform worn in the first four seasons of Deep Space Nine (and in Star Trek Voyager). The command colours...
When the dress was finished and I tried it with a belt, the similarity was a lot less. I don't think I have a problem with it at all. This would only remind a proper "trekkie" of a Star Trek uniform and I'm fine with that ;)


  1. You have no need of the shoulder pads (which I sadly do now) to make that line sing.
    That really is a sharp dress, well executed. And as a cosplay costumer I get no whiff of Trek at all.
    Well done!

  2. Very nice! You look like you could be co starring with Cary Grant.

  3. Hi! Another great sew from you! Wow! This pattern reminds me really of the 1940's when the government instituted the "Make do and Mend" program for home sewers so that they would use less fabric as fabric was rationed here as well as in Great Britain and other countries who participated in the war. It looks beautiful on you and you could go either way - with or without the shoulder pads. Thanks for posting! Kathy from Arizona