Sunday, April 15, 2012

Vintage Sewing Contest Entry ~ 1940 Mail Order Dress Pattern

Ready for a blast from the past?  This is the finished dress for the vintage sewing pattern contest I entered.  I created it using an original 1940 mail order sewing pattern, and my new Babylock Evolution Serger. It's hard to imagine that the very pattern I used is 72 years old, and still so classic.  My Sister, Holly, thinks it looks like a "Nancy Drew" dress.  It reminded my husband of Lois Lane -- of course I guess that would make him Superman....




Here's the process...
This is the original mailing envelope for the pattern in 1940...


and the pattern looks like this...

In 1940, mail order sewing patterns were quite common, and they came in these cellophane jackets.  Aside from the sizing being different today, the other really big difference is that back then sewing pattern were unprinted.  Groupings of perforations were used to indicate where to place pieces, and which pieces were which.  The pattern directions back then were a lot less explanatory.  I guess perhaps it's because so many more people knew how o sew?  For these reasons, I think vintage patterns are more challenging to sew.  You can see part of my layout below.  Notice the unprinted, perforated, pattern tissue pieces.

Pattern direction sheet...


Unprinted pattern tissue pieces laid out...I prefer to use pattern weights to pins -- so much easier!





Here are some pictures of the project as I was working on it...

  I just love the unique style of the contrasting side panels on the bodice!  I think in black, they are very flattering to the waist area.

These are pin tucks I created by hand on either side of the top shoulder/yoke area...very tricky to do on dotted swiss due to trying to sew over the raised dots...


Below is a picture of the bodice before the skirt was attached.




Then I created the skirt.  Here are the two pieces, on my cutting table, before assembly.










Thanks for looking!  Wish me luck in the contest!

Kuby said...
This looks adorable on you. I love the sleeves.
4/15/12 3:37 PM
zoe said...
Beautiful! I hope to try a vintage pattern one day soon myself.
4/15/12 3:57 PM
Mary Stiefer said...
This looks wonderful on your and I, like you, think black and white is classic.
4/15/12 5:45 PM
RadarRadiance said...
You did a fantastic job on this dress, very pretty and classy.
4/15/12 7:55 PM
velosewer said...
Very vintage.
4/15/12 8:16 PM
magpie57 said...
A wonderful dress. Very informative review and blog. I guess most women sewed than so there was not the need for every little detail on the instruction sheet. Your dress looks very flattering on you. and your shoes are to die for!!!
4/15/12 8:33 PM
Hilary said...
What a pretty dress, and it looks so cute on you!
4/15/12 9:24 PM
jenleeC said...
Great dress! Those waisted 1940's styles are so flattering for those of us with waists and hips!
4/15/12 9:35 PM
petro said...
So elegant§ It looks great on you.
4/16/12 1:49 AM
lyndle said...
Gorgeous dress! I like your version even more than the pattern one.
4/16/12 5:09 AM
LDT2011 said...
What a lovely dress. I like the monochrome look...gives it a stylish twist.
4/16/12 6:44 AM
Jill Giard said...
Beautiful!
4/16/12 10:21 AM
JEF said...
Wonderful
4/16/12 1:31 PM
Sewiing Sue said...
The flattering black panels that nip in the waist, the collars, the shoes and picture framing, the belt...everything so well thought out in this outfit and presentation... those pin tucks are truly awesome.
4/16/12 10:31 PM
momsurfing said...
stunning
4/16/12 11:13 PM


ChantillyDreams said...
Thanks for all of your kind words. I had so much fun making it, and your encouragement makes it all the better!
4/17/12 9:22 AM Click here if you wish to edit your comment
Aroura said...
Very classy!! love it.
4/17/12 6:24 PM
facesunderwater said...
Beautiful vintage dress.
4/18/12 10:46 AM
StudioCherie said...
Wonderful review. Fabulous dress! I know just the bag to go with it. I hope you enjoy the vintage style frame bag pattern I am sending you. Congratulations.
4/20/12 3:13 PM
Margaret said...
Looks great on you -- wonderful fabric combo!
4/22/12 7:14 PM


Betty Stitchup said...
What a stunning dress - you've done a fabulous job, I love the choice of fabric, and all the little details. Good luck with the competition - you've got my vote!
4/24/12 11:58 PM


10 comments:

Peter Lappin said...

Beautiful job! I have never made a mail order pattern but maybe it's time to try.

Chantilly Dreams said...

Thanks Pete. Your comment means a lot coming from such a talented person!

Adrienne said...

Very nice! =)

Chantilly Dreams said...

Thanks for your feedback Adrienne!

Lynneb said...

What an amazing dress! Reading your review sealed the deal for me...You get my vote! It's absolutely my favorite.

Chantilly Dreams said...

Thanks Lynne! You made my day ;) Thanks so much for your vote!

honeybee said...

I love everything about this dress, excellent work! And with those shoes?! You're killin' me!

Chantilly Dreams said...

Thanks Honeybee...I confess I have a bit of a shoe fetish ;)

Bonnie D. said...

Congratulations on creating a fantastic dress!! And for being a winner in the contest!

Story Tellers Vintage said...

Wow, very beautiful! I love your fabric choices!