I now present to you my 1940’s dress for Sew for Victory. It’s from Hollywood Patterns (No. 855), from May 1942, endorsed by Betty Grable of 20th Century Fox. Honestly, I’m not that enamored with this dress. I was talked into the fabric, a quilting cotton, by a woman at the fabric store but I really should have stuck to my guns and gone to another store to find a nice rayon. When I first envisioned this dress, I wanted it to be something I could wear to seduce Sam Spade. I feel like it ends up making me look like I should be out back mucking out a chicken coop. I settled on working for the war effort as a compromise.
This was the first time that I have used an original 1940’s pattern (not a reproduction). I thought it was so fun to pull it out of the envelope and find that the original owner had written the name on each piece and left in pins where she shortened the dress.
I thought that the gathers on the upper bust were an interesting construction. The dress uses a “slash facing” that is sewn right side together, slashed, turned inside out and pressed (shown above), and then the lower facing is gathered and sewn to the upper facing.
I had to grade the pattern up quite a bit to fit me as it is sized 30 bust, but it was fairly simple to grade. I made the mistake of not lengthening the back enough so it rides just above my natural waist, but it’s hidden by a belt, so it’s not too much of a problem. I added the rick-rack after finishing the dress because I felt that I was drowning in a sea of seafoam and it added some definition to the dress. I think I left the top a bit too blousy in the front for it to flatter my figure, but I think the back looks quite nice.