Monday, September 30, 2013

1940's Cotton Day Dress

Rochelle from Lucky Lucille and Tasha from By Gum By Golly teamed up to host the Fall For Cotton Vintage Sew Along. I found myself with a free weekend and decided to tackle this lovely 1949 Advance dress pattern for my entry.

Advance 5185

I had been checking patterns to be sure they were complete to list in my Cynical Girl shop, and found this flared skirt dress pattern in a great size (though a little big for me), lacking instructions but still in it's original factory folds. This was the one. It was, after all, a vintage sewing challenge sew-along. I doubled up on the challenge part. An unprinted pattern with no instructions. Let the puzzle begin.

7:00 AM. My husband had just left for a writer's conference so I began, keeping the experience as vintage as possible. The fabric I chose was a piece of Cranston cotton I purchased over 30 years ago to make a copy of a vintage dress I really loved but never got to. It was perfect for this day dress. 

By 8:30 I had my pattern pinned, cut out, notched and marked.

I tried to find an 18" metal zipper in navy blue from my vintage stash but had to settle on a 22" navy or an 18" in cloister brown. I went with the blue.

Then the sewing began...... By 2:00 PM I had much of the larger pieces put together. The front facing and front of the bodice joined to make a shawl collar. That is one of my favorite types of collars so I had little difficulty figuring that part out without instructions. My 30+ year old Athena dress form isn't standing so straight any more. She is padded now with Fabulous Fit for that little extra I am carrying around now. It was a lot less expensive than purchasing a new dress form.

I decided not to serge my seams and instead use seam binding tape.

By 5:30 I had everything but the detail work to do. My pockets and buttons are pinned in place.

The buttons are vintage shell buttons upcycled from a vintage jacket that had seen better days. The buckle is shell as well. I will use white crochet cotton for the saddle stitching.

By 9:00 PM my dress was finished except for the marking and hemming.

And so I completed my Fall For Cotton Vintage Sewing Challenge. I entered it into the Flicker Fall For Cotton Group Page. So many lovely and just plain delightful entries into this challenge. I look forward to participating in another.


  1. What a darling dress! I love that fabric. I'd say you aced your double challenge!