Finished project: 1944 Apple picking dress

While my dad is in town, I lined up this post. My apologies if I’m a little scarce while he’s here, I’m not going to be online much this week!

Now, let’s go apple picking! After all, I have the most perfectly applelicious dress for it.


Can you tell I’m a little excited by my overzealous grin up there? (And yikes, what’s with the 5 pounds of luggage under my eyes?) Yes, I’m pleased as punch with this dress. Apple punch.

This was sewn using a vintage pattern from 1944, Simplicity 2074. I think the pattern is just darling, as are both the main versions on the pattern envelope. Don’t you think this would be fabulous with stripes?

View 1 and 2 are essentially the same, except 2 lays out vertically-striped fabric sideways, and 1 has a tie belt and two rows of saddle stitching around the neckline and pockets. I nixed the saddle stitching and the belt, figuring my fabric was too busy. I went with a solid vintage belt to break things up.

This was my first time doing side seam pockets. Can I say how much I love them? I know we all agree on the pocket love. I can slip an iPhone in here and no one’s the wiser. Though I have to say, how the pattern has you sew together the inside seams of the rectangular pocket seemed a little overly complicated. There’s got to be an easier way.

There’s a lapped zipper in there too.

It took me a minute to wrap my head around how to do this, and of course the pattern didn’t specify, but I managed to get it all to work. I wouldn’t say this zipper insertion is my finest work, but I’m still pleased (I did this one before I changed techniques to what I used on my green skirt). By the way, this 9″ zipper was the reason I couldn’t get this on my dress form after I put the bodice and skirt together. Next time, I’m hemming the skirt before assembling, just like Sunni.

I didn’t do a muslin, but I took up about 1″ in the bodice pieces for my short waist and sewed up the bodice side seam an extra 1″ at the armhole edge so my slip didn’t show. That coupled with narrow shoulders means the extended shoulder falls into a nice little cap sleeve. I was going to make shoulder pads to make it stick more straight out like the original pattern, but I decided I like how it looks, and I’d have had to have cut out quite a bit of the shoulder piece to get that shape anyway (like maybe half!). So it’s just as well, because I kind of prefer to have that bit of extra coverage on my shoulders… looks less like I’m wearing a jumper that’s supposed to have a blouse underneath.

Speaking of slips, the only thing I should have changed is the neckline. If I make another version, I’ll raise it 1″ because my slip keeps peaking out at the corners. You can just barely see it on the bottom right corner of the below photo but it’s actually worse when I move around (see the first photo). Of course, I could just wear a skirt slip and call it a day.

There’s not usually wrinkles in the center of my chest, by the way. Not sure what’s happening there. But I’m happy these photos came out decent at all, because it was pouring rain (the first time in weeks).


The below photo reminded me that we still have the “Welcome” sign hanging in our back window left by the previous homeowner, along with the ugly welcome mat which I moved out of the photo (hence the line between clean and dusty on the deck). When we moved in, I said I’d leave the sign in the window until I did… something. I can’t remember what, though! Maybe get a new welcome mat? (We did after these photos were taken.) Put curtains in that window? I don’t know. But since I can’t remember, I haven’t taken it down yet.

Another feature I like about this dress is the center front pleat. Although as you can see above, I’m not really sure if I’m supposed to press it all the way down to the hem, so I didn’t. I don’t think you’re supposed to though, because the fabric splays out when you sit.

I shared a sneak peak of this Friday on Twitter, and Karen of Did You Make That? asked me about the fabric. She read my mind, because I was planning to talk about it. This is a Japanese cotton I purchased last year from Here’s the exact fabric—Kei Japan, Eden Chocolate (though the selvage said Yuwa Live Life Collection). It’s technically a quilting cotton. But while it’s medium-weight, this stuff is awesome. Super soft, a nice drape yet crisp at the same time so perfect for a casual dress, the weave is lovely, and the wrong side looks just like the wrong side of my 40s and 50s cotton dresses, if that makes sense (i.e. not stark white). Seriously, it’s closer to rivaling my coveted vintage cottons than almost any modern cotton I’ve seen. I’m tempted to look for more by this maker and see if it’s equally as wonderful. How fabulous would this stripe of theirs be in the same dress pattern?? I kind of love that idea.

Outfit details

me-made dress
red vintage belt from Etsy
50s West German earrings from Atomicrox
40s mary jane pumps

I just realized this means I sewed 3 garments in June! I think I only sewed 7 all last year, most of which I don’t wear (a few things I do). It’s too early to tell, but I think perhaps the sewing tides have turned for me, and I’m hoping for good! June was a great confidence-building month. I have dedicated sewing space for the first time, I feel positive, my head is full of ideas for my wardrobe and those ideas are just starting to come together. I think I’m finally learning what I want to sew and want to wear, and what I don’t want to sew (and don’t want to wear). Good timing too, because hopefully I’ll be into a routine before it cools down this autumn and I’m splitting way more of my time with knitting.

Here’s hoping July will continue this new sewing trend!

Filed: Sewing, Vintage Wardrobe

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