Tuesday, November 1, 2016

• 1940s Utility Dress •



The warmer weather we've had off and on over the last few days has been nice for photographing a few summer dresses!  Maybe for once I won't be modeling summer frocks in the snowbanks, like I did last year.  ;)

I made this dress a few months ago for a vacation, and it turned out to be quite perfect for travel!  It is made of poly-cotton fabric (from Hancock Fabrics, just before they closed.....), and therefore doesn't wrinkle one little bit.  What could be better for cramming into a suitcase?  ;)





I always *loved* the pattern illustration from Butterick 6282, and when I found a solid-colored gray fabric, I knew exactly what I would use it for.  

Overall, this was a very easy pattern to sew; I did a few things differently than the pattern instructed, and altered the fit a bit here and there (lengthening the skirt 7 inches...that has to be the record for me), but that is all pretty standard.





The back bodice extends over the shoulder to form a small yoke in front.  The front bodice is gathered onto that yoke, and also gathered onto the skirt below the bust on each side.  A band extends from the front around the neck for added interest, and features a double row of topstitching, true to '40s fashion.

For the buttons, I wanted something that wouldn't distract from the overall design, so I opted for simple dark grey ones.




As is typical with a lot of vintage repro patterns, the finished waist measurement allowed for way too much ease, so I took in the skirt quite a bit at the side seams, and the bodice a bit as well.  I don't remember if I took the bust in at all, but I think I did, as the fit was just too roomy as it was.




I couldn't believe my eyes when I came across red, white and blue striped ribbon at the fabric store, just exactly like I needed to match the pattern illustration!!!  I couldn't find a gold buckle like the picture showed, so I settled for tying the belt. 

A couple of things I did differently than the pattern instructed had to do with the front pleat and the pockets.  The pattern says to simply iron over the pleats, bring them to the center line, and topstitch them 1/4" away from the edge on each side.  Obviously, that would not hold the pleats down in the center, and the edges of the fabric sticking up would look terrible.  Instead, I sewed the pleat from the inside, pressed it, and then topstitched, making a nice, flat seam.

The other variation (somewhat unintentional, but it ended up being much better this way!) is that I sewed my pockets on flat with the skirt fabric, rather than leaving them to gape on the top, as the pattern directed.  While doing that would make them more useable, I don't picture it looking very nice, and it would have to catch on everything rather badly.  I also moved the pockets down on the skirt over an inch, as the pattern wanted them to be awfully close to the waistline.





The sleeves are hemmed in the niftiest fashion; first you press under the bottom edge 2-1/4" and baste it to hold it in place, then you turn it under again, this time 2-3/8".  Next you stitch 1/4" away from the bottom (folded over) edge, all the way around, forming a tuck.  Turn the tuck toward the sleeve cap (causing the hem of the sleeve to fold down), and press.  The raw edge is encased in that tuck from inside, so the sleeve looks flawless, inside and out.  It was so fun to sew, and especially to see that it actually came out right!!  ;)




The sleeve cap has 5 darts, and a long, slender, crescent-shaped sleeve head that supports it.  The directions want you to stitch the head on by hand, but it works quite well to machine-stitch it on, and saves time as well.  The sleeve heads are just the right size, so you can not even detect them while wearing the dress.




Another of my favorite features from this pattern is the deep hem!  Perfect for a slightly lighter-weight fabric, no snagging the thread on everything you walk past, as well as being more vintage-appropriate.

All in all, this was a fun dress to make, and it has turned out to be quite fun to wear as well.  Do let me know if you make this pattern - I would love to see your rendition of it!

Thanks for stopping by!  :)


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20 comments:

  1. This is lovely, Esther! It looks so sharp and snazzy. I have to admit I'm generally afraid to do repro patterns, even though a lot of them look really nice, because the single one I've tried had all sorts of bizarre issues and required more modification than any actual vintage pattern I've tried.

    And what?? Wrinkle-free? Magical! ;)

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    1. Thank you so much, Kira!! Oh boy, I'm sorry to hear about your pattern troubles. There are a few out there that are nothing but heartaches, but a lot of them are so good too! Which one in particular did you have trouble with?

      Yep, wrinkle-free is the best. ;) Thanks for commenting!!

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  2. That's a gorgeous dress! So practical, but so pretty as well. And you've copied the illustration perfectly. I must say that the pattern had sort of passed me by, but I'm tempted to try it now.

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    1. Thank you so much, Black Tulip!! I hope you are able to try this pattern soon - I'm sure you'll love it!

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  3. Another beautiful creation, dear Esther, and the fabric looks lovely!

    Have a blessed day. Hugs!

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    1. Thank you so much, Stephanie!! :)

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  4. Lovely job on this!! Sometimes basic projects are the best! Love the striped ribbon for the belt too. :)
    -Emily

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    1. Thank you, Emily!! I agree, basic makes are really fun at times!! :)

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  5. Ooh I made one of those back in the spring. Mine was grey too! There was a ridiculous amount of ease in the pattern, I will definitely cut it down when I make it again. Good tip about the pleat, it does gap a little and overall look strange. I was confused as to what I was doing with the sleeve cuffs, but I ended up loving it too! Great make, and very faithful to the original. :)

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    1. I loved your dress!! Thanks for commenting!! :)

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  6. beautiful! I always look forward to your next post to see what you made.love this dress as well.

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    1. Aww, thank you so much, Naomi!! :)

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  7. Absolutely stunning job! You did such a wonderful job on your dress, and it looks so perfect for you. Thank you for giving such a good run down of the pattern and how you made it - that's so helpful. I think I have what is probably the original for Butterick's "reprint" (it's #1192) and there are significant changes in the new B#6282, so I've been dubious about considering sewing up the reprint. Now your version is making me change my mind...

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    1. Thank you so much, seamracer!! I'm so glad the post was helpful, and I would love to see your makes from both the original and repro patterns! That is so neat that you have the original!
      Thanks for commenting!!

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  8. Lovely! I think I have this pattern. You did a great job.

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  9. I love this dress...the gathers on the shoulders and bodice, the pleated sleeves, and that nifty front button/collar piece. Will take your tips into consideration when making my version! Your hair, once again, is PERFECTION. Looks like you had a wonderful day for taking these pictures! Love you!

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    1. Thank you so much, Sarah A.!!!! :) I can't wait to see your version!! I had forgotten that you bought this one. Oooh!
      You are sooo sweet. Love you too!!! <3

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