Monday, August 23, 2010

1930s Dress in Red Polka Dots

This is the first dress that I made from actual vintage pattern . It was also the first unprinted pattern I used, and my introduction to the joy of minimal instructions in vintage patterns.

This dress has pintucks along the front bodice and gathering along the yoke. It also has a pleat on the bodice back and pleats on the front and back skirt. The dress has patch pockets on the front with pin tucks which match the bodice. I sewed this up in cotton that is red with white polka dots. I wanted a dress that would be cool and comfortable.

The dress pattern is a reproduction of a 1930s dress pattern. The repro was created and sold by New Vintage Lady on etsy. Happily, the pattern came in a bust size that already fit, so I didn't have to do any futzing with the sizing.

Over all the dress fit together well. My biggest problem was the collar. The directions basically say "sew collar onto bodice" and I needed a little more direction than that. I ripped out the stitching 3 or 4 times (while cursing madly). I'm not sure that the collar is sewn in correctly, but it at least looks OK which is fine with me.

I was nervous about sewing button holes so I faked it. I figured out where the buttons should be on the front placket. Then I sewed snaps to the underside of the fabric, and buttons to the top. I also sewed a matching button to the top of each skirt pocket. I think I need to shift the buttons slightly to center them between the panels of tucking.

It's a great dress that I've got a lot of compliments on. I need to experiment with the styling. I think adding a belt would really improve the look. Also, I cut the dress too short for the proper 30s style. Letting them hem down at least another inch would add to the retro vibe


  1. This is a really nice dress and you look great in it! I love the name of your blog, by the way, and found you via Sew Retro. I'm looking forward to seeing what else you come up with.

  2. What a great dress! It's beautiful and you do look very nice! I love the way it hangs. Thanks for the tip about the patterns! I have so much trouble trying to find patterns that fit through the bust!

  3. Thanks to both of you.
    @Saintpudalia a friend suggested the blog name and it fills me with glee.

    @fannie630 What I'm also realize with grading vintage patterns, is that different periods in fashion and different companies expected your breasts to be in different places. So adjustment of bust points can be necessary. I'm also noticing for my body that once it fits in bust, I need to make tiny tucks along the muslin to make the bodice lie close to my body.