Finished project: No-more-sewing-slump dress

I mentioned it in my giveaway post (one last day to enter!), but I finished the dress I was working on that finally kicked the sewing slump out of me. Yee haw!

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 greatthanks 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!!

Filed: Sewing, Vintage Wardrobe

Tagged: , , ,

Golly, 47 Comments!

  • This dress is just perfect! I really love the pattern, I have quite the same dress a vintage 50’s dress from Fruits of the Loom!

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  • What a sweet dress, and it really suits you.

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  • That fabric print is very nice and you look lovely in the dress, very summery :o)

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  • Oh goodness, it’s so smart-looking! Nice job. I love the green vintage buttons. Very flattering and looks comfortable. I have a couple of patterns that call for the pockets to pop-off the skirt like that too. I’ll sometimes face the insides of the pockets with a coordinating solid to add a little pizazz. And I’d love to see a tutorial on the hairdo. I’m still dealing with some hair ennui and am always looking for a new way to deal with my hair.

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    • Ooh, that’s a good idea for the pockets! In this case I picked white since the fabric is slightly sheer, but I could definitely see it with a contrast solid, especially if maybe the same color was used for the bias tape!

      My hair has been making me insane lately. This cut just hasn’t worked out for a variety of reasons. I’ll definitely write up this style, it’s been kind of a fun lazy break. :)

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  • Ahhh, it’s soo adorable! You did such a great job. I love the fabric, and you just look too cute in it.

    xo,
    Em

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  • Such a lovely dress for spring and summer! Great job :)

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  • Yay for defeating your sewing slump! I love the dress that came of it – it’s cute, but not super cutesy! It looks great on you, and I love that fabric! I also think the sticky-out pockets are really cute. If the gap bothers you too much (it would bother me, just because I find myself looking down all the time & freaking out over gaps, and forgetting that people don’t see the same thing straight-on, haha), you could always put a button on them… or even a little buttonhole with a ribbon tie or something. But I do like the way it looks with the stick-out, I actually think it suits the skirt.

    Also, I’m completely mystified how you were able to manage a fake bun with short hair. Do share!

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    • I’m getting over the sticky out pockets. lol But the button idea is super cute, I may do that on a future version!

      Okay, I’m definitely going to whip up a short tute soon for the hair. :)

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  • I love this!! The print is lovely and the cut is very flattering on you.

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  • This is so lovely, I want one too :)

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  • Oh wow, lovely! I love big pockets!

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  • You are just adorable in that sweet dress! I made one almost exactly like it a few years ago, and I love mine too. Don’t you just dig pockets on a dress!!!

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  • You look very cute. That is a great everyday dress. I really like the ruffle and sweetheart detail.

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  • It’s fantastic! I have a pattern like this I have been worried might be too ‘young’ for me :) After seeing this, I think I will give it a whirl!
    Love it Tasha! And I even like the gaping pockets- that’s so you can throw things in them you find out of place around the house ;) I have a pinny with huge pockets like that, that I dearly love!

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  • What a wonderful dress- I’m so envious! Congrats on getting out of the sewing slump dolly! xx

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  • ADORABLE. The perfect summer frock, in my opinion!

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  • ~ * ♥ * ~

    Eep! Tasha! What a darling dress! I am seriously drooling… I love every little detail about it from the fabric you used, to the sweetheart neckline and the ruffles! You look fabulous an it’s such a stunning dress!! Honestly, I really want to see if I can get my hands on that pattern. It’s love at first sight for me! :)

    xox,
    bonita of Depict This!
    ~ * ♥ * ~

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    • Thanks! I really do love the pattern, I splurged on it more than I usually would for sewing patterns, but it was definitely worth it in the end. :)

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  • Your dress is lovely! You definitely master your sewing slump, well done! I’m looking forward to your next project :)

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  • Ooh – that’s lovely! Only 2 yards? That’s amazing! And I LOVE your hair-do :D

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  • Love it! I’m just about to start sewing again after a sewing drought!

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  • It’s gorgeous – I love a good house dress and yours is adorable. The fabric really works and the buttons are perfect, you look fab! x

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  • Wow this looks gorgeous! I love the print and the shoulders. Cute buttons too! XxxX http://thesecondhandrose.blogspot.co.uk

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  • What a fantastic new frock, dear Tasha! Gorgeous work! That pattern is bursting with cheerful summertime spirit, and I just adore the serene colour palette.

    Big hugs & cheerful Tuesday wishes,
    ♥ Jessica

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  • Yay, i’m glad you got out of your slump, it looks fantastic!

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  • Tasha, I am envious of your new dress! I love this style and have been wanting to maks something like this for a while. The only pattern I own in this style is a maternity pattern – and since I am not in need of that right now, I will have to keep searching for one. No one has to know this is a house dress – it is the perfect summer sundress.

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    • Thanks! It was hard finding one I liked. I used search terms like ‘house dress’ and ‘wrap dress’ and ended up finding this pattern!

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  • That dress is just beautiful, great job!!! Yay for getting out of the slump!!! :)

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  • It turned out so great!!! What a perfect summer dress!

    I just came back from your flickr site and the inside of that neckline with the facing looks so neat and tidy. I just pinned that tutorial for future reference. :)

    I think the pockets are just fine; they don’t look like they gape awkwardly at all, but look very 40’s. And from your first image, it doesn’t look like the hem is too high.

    You should totally make another one right away since it will go twice as fast. Oooor take some really good notes on things you’d change for next time before you forget. I always forget to take notes myself, but I’m trying to be better. :)

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    • I think the image is a little deceptive, it hits RIGHT under the end of my kneecap, which is about an inch shorter than I feel comfortable with (at minimum). My own silly fault, but easy enough to remedy if it bothers me the first time I wear it somewhere other than around the house.

      I really should make myself another one right away! I just got some vintage floral fabric with red flowers, that would be a lovely one too. I think I need to do the other dress I planned first, and then do this one again. I did actually take good notes this time! I’m trying to be better too. :)

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  • Thanks so much, everyone!! ♥ ♥

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  • Very cute! I really like the fabric- pity it was so hard to work with!

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  • Think this dress looks so great! And no more sewing slump, so an added bonus! I’m going to have to check out that wearing history tutorial on bias binding and inside corners – mine always look a bit messy.

    Also, loving the hair do – so yes please to a tutorial!

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  • I always thought sundressing was exactly what housedress patterns were for, these days? I’ve got a good one much like this made out of sorta subtly rooster-print fabric (to the extent that rooster print fabric can be subtle? It’s the ultimate housedress, basically, I feel like I should be leaning out the kitchen window scattering feed to the chickens while the bread rises) that I wear as a sundress all the time, and though one of my good friends makes fun of it, I’m for it all the way. You look lovely, and the neckline shaping and binding came out great!

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  • then dress looks gorgeous, and so do you ! thanks for mentioning the tutorial, I’ll visit it.

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  • I love it in this fabric! And I definitely think it has a sundress vibe :D
    -Andi x

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  • Perfect summer dress!

    I never use the waistband that comes with the pattern anymore – that’s gotten me into trouble too many times! I just cut out the same width as the pattern piece and then the length based on my own waist measurement plus the amount of ease I like (I’m a 1″ of ease at the waistband sort of gal) plus seam allowances. If you are sewing pants or a skirt, don’t forget to add an inch or so on either end for the button overlap. But that’s it. My waistbands fit exactly how I like every time :)

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  • Oh. I love it. I love it, i love it, I LOVE IIIIIIIT!!!

    *i love it.

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  • I love it! I’m going to have a paddy now because I want one too! It’s simply wonderful and suits you a treat.
    Right I’m off to search my pattern stash for a new project!

    Tupney x

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  • I love it! I’m going to have a paddy now because I want one too! It’s simply wonderful and suits you a treat.
    Right I’m off to search my pattern stash for a new project!

    Tupney x

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  • It’s just too cute!! It looks fantastic on you of course. I absolutely love the choice of the green buttons! And yes, PLEASE do a tutorial for your mock bun! I recently cut 10 inches off my hair and kind of miss putting it up.

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  • Lovely dress!!! It’s so cute, and I’m sure it’ll be perfect for summer. Oh, and the pockets look great, they have this carefree “I’m cute and practical and easy to wear”-look, very 40s/50s home/beach style.

    I can’t believe you made it out of only 2 yards, that’s some seriously careful cutting… Great job of getting out of the slump btw, I know how hard it can be. Doesn’t it feel amazing though, when a project is finally ready again? =)

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  • That dress is too cute for words. I’d really like to get a dress like that.

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  • I found this post with the search “40’s pattern using only 2 yards of fabric” Ha! and this is REALLY cute!! I have only 2 yards of the sweetest yellow ground with floral and ribbon swirls…eeek!! you did a great job!
    Kristine~

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