This pattern is a 1940s house dress, Simplicity 4660. You can see my copy is in really rough shape, but I couldn't resist it when I was searching for inspiration on Etsy a couple of weeks ago.
No one really wears house dresses anymore, so who cares if I wear a house dress pattern as a sundress, right? Right.
I used what I would describe as a not-really-great-quality cotton lawn from Denver Fabrics. It was kind of bizarre to work with and required every single seam to be enclosed because it frays if you look at it cross-eyed. This dress felt like it had miles of slip-stitching and French seams. But I love the print, it gave it a very farm dress feel to it.
(By the way, this hairstyle is faux all the way and doesn't use an actual bun or an actual roll in the front. Just bobby pins and a scarf. My hair has been giving me fits so I whipped this up recently for a messy, cute and vaguely retro shorter hair updo, inspired by lots of long-haired high bun tutorials. I might do a quick tutorial if there's any interest, it seriously takes no effort or time. Nope it's not vintage, but kind of fun and great for hot weather.)
Now while you can't tell because of the bow at the back, the dress buttons all the way up from the skirt to the top of the bodice. I used a skirt fastened at the waist so I didn't have to waste a button you would never see. Aren't these great?
Did I mention I sewed this dress with stash fabric and only had 2 yards, and I managed to squeak this out with about two inches of fabric leftover?? I shortened the length quite a bit (then turned up the hem about an inch too short for my taste so I may later lower it, whoops) and somehow managed to get it all to fit. It was a nail-biter for sure.
This was my first time doing a sweetheart neckline. I used bias tape as a facing for the neckline, following Lauren's from Wearing History's great tutorial on how to miter inside corners with bias tape. It worked like a charm.
I pretty much followed the pattern as written with a couple of tweaks: I make the waistband ties like a tube and top-stitched all sides instead of just folding in the seam allowances and sewing, and I stabilized the outer waistband piece after picking Liz from zilredloh.com's brain on the subject. And it worked great—thanks again, Liz!
My darts are a bit too high, but the print is so busy you'd never know. Ha!
Due to the completely gathered skirt, the pockets hang open a bit. Fortunately I lined them and finished them neatly. The gap bothered me slightly at first but after looking at some other 1940s patterns with gathered skirts and patch pockets I noticed a lot of them look like this, even in drawings.
I'm really pleased with how this dress came out! It's very comfortable, I think it's a fairly flattering style on me and I like the ruffled sleeves and tie at the back. They're cute without being too cutesy, if you know what I mean. It's a tad too tight at the waist but that would be so easily remedied in future versions by cutting the waistband pieces about 1" longer and just gathering it a little less. And I do see other versions in my future for sure!
There are a few more photos on Flickr starting here if you're interested, including the inside of my bias tape sweetheart neckline.
I'm so happy to be over my sewing slump!!