Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Almost Gordon 1940s Simplicity dress

Pattern: Vintage Simplicity 3417, bust 34”
Fabric: I had 3 metres; didn’t cut very economically because I pattern matched =)
Haberdasheries: Three buttons, a 30 cm zipper, a belt clasp and waist band

A few years ago I made a 1940s dress using this pattern and I wanted to use it again, but with some alterations. With hindsight, I find the bodice of that dress too long and baggy; even though it’s an authentic look for the 1940s, I just don’t like to look like I’ve got a roll of fat that I don’t! And since I don’t exactly follow today’s fashion, I hardly think I would have been without personal taste at the time ;).
I took 10 centimetres (!!!) out of the bodice width, despite this pattern being for a 34” bust, which should be slightly small for me. Simplicity patterns just had sooo much wearing ease! Because of the additional length in the bodice of my first dress, I expected that I’d have to take some length out as well, but I came to the conclusion that I must have added the additional length myself, which obviously I shouldn’t have done! So I only shortened the skirt, as I did for my first dress as well.

It took me a while to find a suitable fabric; most fabrics I saw in stores didn’t really have a ‘40s vibe for me. Until I read something about plaid (or tartan, as I prefer to call it ;)) fabrics being quite usual at the time, and I remembered this fabric that I’d seen at my local fabric store ages ago, but knowing their turnover rate, I suspected they’d still have. I like it because it’s almost Gordon dress tartan. The thin white lines should just have been yellow! And I already had a matching self-knitted cardigan.
According to the label the fabric was 80% cotton and 20% poly, but as I was working with it I thought: “yeah right!” Sadly, it doesn’t feel like cotton at all, although it can be ironed well without melting.

I pattern matched everything as well as I could, lining up the lines on the different pattern pieces by pinning them in place.

And of course, I had lots of feline sewing help! Thankfully she didn’t attack the fabric and make loops in it.

Because of the colour scheme of this fabric, for once I didn’t have difficulty finding a matchting zipper, buttons and belt fabric!
The buttons are vintage, from about the 1960s, and have a nice story to them. My grandfather was director of a button factory at the time, and my mother was sewing herself a green skirtsuit. So my grandfather had buttons made to match her fabric! I guess these were the surplus buttons; in any case, I liked using them on my dress.

I first wore this dress to an event in remembrance of Market Garden 1944. The re-enactment group War Department did a stunning and impressive portrayal of a field hospital, and I even got to depict a Dutch civilian helping there!

Photo by Menno Bausch

1 comment:

  1. Looks great and what a charming story with the buttons. I really like your sweater and overall color combo.

    Jennie from