Monday, January 26, 2015

• 1940s Winter Wool Dress •


As I mentioned in my last post, I have a terrible tendency to make nothing but cotton dresses year round. Lightweight, pastel, summery cotton dresses. And that just isn't always practical when it's freeeezing cold outside! Thankfully, I managed to be in the mood for sewing a couple of warmer garments in the last few weeks. It was actually quite fun!!
I purchased this wool, 3 yards in total, last summer at our local fabric shop on clearance. I can't say that I actually loved it, because I didn't, but I really didn't care. Pendleton wool, 60" wide, on sale, USA made.
Irresistible, right?

I tucked it away in the "winter" section of the stash, figuring that I would make a jacket out of it eventually. Fast-forward to a couple of weeks ago, I pulled it out to see what, if anything, I felt like making it into. We recently bought the new Vogue pattern 9052, which only calls for 2 7/8 yards for the dress. Heehee. Perfect, right? Except, who wants short sleeves on a winter wool dress? Not I. An eighth of a yard is not enough to get longer sleeves, but I decided to just start cutting out skirt pieces anyway in hopes that I could squeeze longer sleeves in later.
Thankfully, I was able to get three skirt pieces cut out of the width of the fabric, so that left me with plenty of leftover fabric to make my desired sleeves. I used the pattern's sleeve cap, but made the rest of the sleeve from Simplicity 1777. Now I have elbow darts. Happiness. :)

For being my first plaid-matching project ever, I'm definitely happy with how it came out! The fabric was really nice to work with, unlike the flannel on my pleated skirt.

I am glad to say that our lovely fur piece goes with the dress nicely! :)

Since the neckline of the dress pattern was quite low, I decided to do away with the front slit and replace it with a back keyhole opening. It worked out great, and I really like the slight V-neck effect that the final dress has. I used a plain cotton for the facings and topstitched to keep everything in place. I just love that little candy red button!

After I had the dress assembled, I tried it on and was shocked after looking at it. P-l-a-i-n. SO plain. Terribly, shockingly plain. The depths of despair were nearby, but I warded them off and started thinking about what I could do to make it interesting.
What would redeem it? Buttons? Pockets? Sashes?

I finally decided on pockets, and they ended up being just the thing. It's really nice to have them on a dress at long last! I used to be adamantly against them, but I'm starting to discover their uses. :)

It was so cold out that we decided to try an indoor photo shoot for once. But when you combine bad lighting and a bright red dress with a horrible photo editor (me), the photos end up being a little...interesting in color. I think I need to study up on Photoshop. A lot. Or become realllly good friends with a photographer. Hmmm.
All that aside, I am very happy with my dress! Now I will not be cold!!

• Photography by my mom •
Follow Me on Pinterest


  1. LOVE IT!
    It looks so snuggly warm.
    {Not to mention ever so chic.} ^_^
    I am the same way with cute cotton frocks. I usually try to get away with just adding tights & a wooly sweater. But, that doesn't always cut it.
    I need to make more wintery things. I am nearly finished with a suspender skirt made of corduroy.
    Once again you've inspired me to bust out my woolen fabric. :D

    1. Thanks, Miss Michelle!! :)
      It IS snuggly warm!!
      I know...cotton frocks are my middle name. They're actually worth freezing to death over.
      Now I'm itching to see your woolen fabric project!! ;)

  2. That is such a warm looking, beautiful dress Esther! And Pendleton wool?! What local fabric store carries that? Please do tell me, because if there is anything I have a hard time finding it is good wool fabric.


    the Middle Sister and Singer

    1. Oh, thank you, Brigid!! I was very ecstatic to find Pendleton wool! It is from just a locally owned quilt/sewing machine store. I think they have had the wool for absolute ages - who knows, maybe ever since 1956 when they first opened!! ;)
      The fabric was on clearance, so apparently they're not getting more in ever. The only wool that's left is some bright, bright orange. :( I wish they had more!!
      I can definitely relate about finding good wool fabric! If you are interested in lightweight wool, JoAnn has several scrumptious plaids that are only $10 (or $5 when on sale). I have one that is a light green, and my mom just made a 1950s dress out of one that's caramel colored with blue and slate gray mixed in. They are good quality, and made in Japan I believe.
      I'll let you know if I come across any more good wool!! :)

  3. This is so lovely and suits you really well! The pockets are a really nice touch. :)

    1. Thank you, Milky Usagi!! I rather like it too!! ;)


Your comments always make my day!! I will reply here on the blog, so be sure to check the "Notify Me" box or check back soon! Thank you :)