Sewing a holy grail pattern

I found one of my holy grail sewing patterns this year!

You’d think a “holy grail” pattern had to be some fancy couture or Polynesian number that sells for over $100 and is super rare at that, but nope. It’s a simple sundress pattern, from 1945, Simplicity 2465.

Some years back I saw the pattern without the numbers on it in some random image online somewhere, and was never able to put a pattern number to the art. I shelved it in the back of my head as one of those patterns that I’d maybe come across someday. Then through the magical world of Instagram, I happened to be talking to Mena about patterns one day, and in a side quest that related to our conversation, I just accidentally stumbled on the pattern. In my size. And $12. I bought it in a hot second.

I hung onto it for a few months, but I knew I wanted to try it this summer. In all honesty, I had pretty low expectations for the muslin. I’m short-waisted with a D cup and that historically hasn’t always played well with gathered bust styles on me… either they fit poorly (too big or too small), or accentuate the bust in a way that looks… well just looks like something I don’t want to wear. But there was something about the pattern so I was really determined to try to see through several muslins if necessary to make it work.

Lo and behold, it was almost a perfect fit right out of the envelope. I just could not believe it, I was ecstatic! And I decided that it was worth busting out a piece of vintage fabric I’d had in my stash for awhile and always kept pulling out but never felt I’d found a good enough project for it. Finally, I had the match!

I don’t even remember where I got the fabric or when, I’ve had it that long. But it’s an incredible atomic print in navy, chartreuse, and bright orange. (And true to me, so busy I couldn’t get the camera to properly focus on it *groan*.)

The bodice is boned only at the side seams and I more-or-less followed the pattern’s instructions to place it under the side seam allowances which you don’t trim down. The only difference is that instead of just placing it under the seam allowances (pressed towards the back) and topstitching on both sides, I took a cue from bra sewing in a way. I basted the inside of the boning channel just to the seam line first, so that when I topstitched from the right side, there was no chance the boning would slide around!

The construction was really pretty simple, and I love how the drawstrings look! They’re not sewn in place (though they could be), so you can adjust the drawstrings, which is kind of nice if you’re wearing a different bra or want a little more or less coverage. For example the first time I wore this I pushed the gathers in a bit more so that the upper part of the bodice curved a bit more towards the center front, whereas I noticed in these photos it was more straight across (I actually prefer it the other way).

While nothing but the side seams are boned, you can technically wear the ties in a bow and wear the dress strapless (as shown on the pattern envelope). I’d generally prefer a bit more support, but with a good strapless bra it’s actually do-able, surprisingly!

Which also means I don’t have to tie the ties so tight it’s trying to sever my head from my neck to feel comfortable in this bodice, which is obviously great, as that’s the worst part about most halters.

I was so thrilled to sew up this pattern, I launched right into a second version (this time with a sarong skirt) shortly after finishing this version. I hope to share that one soon!

Meanwhile what do you think… would this be good with a circle skirt, too?? I think it might!

outfit details

dress – made by me
vintage earrings – misc.
shoes – Rocket Originals

Filed: Sewing, Vintage Wardrobe

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