The “Floral Forties” dress

The Theme
This week’s Sew Weekly theme is Do Over: “This week we revisit a pattern or theme from the past year that we want to have another go at. Whether a failure or a success the first time around, it’s time for a little sewing déjà vu.”

The Facts

  • Fabric: around 3 metres of blue floral something-or-other synthetic, ~$3 from Fabric-a-brac, and around 3 metres of yellow lining, ~$2, also from Fabric-a-brac
  • Pattern: A re-released version of Butterick B5281
  • Year: 1946
  • Notions: 55cm invisible zipper ($5), vintage hook and eye
  • Time to complete: it’ll be 6 hours once I’ve done the hand finishing
  • Will I wear it? Yes
  • Total cost: ~$10

The Story
I had so many ideas for this challenge! So many things I’ve made this year that I wanted to try again, either because I loved them so much, or because something hadn’t gone quite so well (poor fabric choice, forgetting the small bust adjustment, fitting issues, etc) and I wanted to try again.

Thanks to the lovely ladies who helped me decide what to make this time when I couldn’t decide on my own: Ange, Mon, Liz and Meg. You girls are awesome! :-)

I picked up this fabric from the last Fabric-a-brac event a few weeks ago. I have no idea what it is (while I can usually identify natural fibres, synthetics are beyond me). It looks vintage, it’s lightweight and floaty and drapes well and has quite a lot of movement on the bias, and it’s a little bit sheer. Nope, I’ve got no idea at all. But I know I liked it and at $6 for 4-5 metres, how could I say no? It was rather interesting to sew, though – lots of movement on the bias so I had to anchor it with lots of pins. It made for slow going.

Since it was a bit sheer, I fully lined it in a soft yellow lining. It makes it look happy and warm and sunny inside.

I did my usual adjustment and moved the side zip to the back to turn it into an invisible centre back zip instead. Which also meant I don’t need the shoulder snaps, so I’m going to hand-sew the shoulder side down to the neckline.

Notice that it isn’t quite finished yet? I’ve got to go up to Auckland for work later this week, so thought I’d save all the hand sewing to do on the plane and at the airport. Hey, I’ve stitched up a blind hem on a bus before, may as well add to the sewing travel adventures and do the same thing on a plane.

The Verdict
I like the way this fabric drapes – it works a lot better with the drapes in this pattern than the cotton I used the first time I made it for the Leaves and Hats dress. The fabric pattern is a bit too busy to see all the drape and gather details, but it was the best choice from my fabric stash so too bad.

Sssssh, don’t tell anyone but I made a bit of a boo-boo with the lining on the skirt. Somehow I accidently did the front of the lining around the wrong way and didn’t notice until it was too late. It can just be our little secret though – I figure most people won’t be examining the inside of this dress.

It feels a little odd, having a semi-fitted bodice when I usually go for the rather fitted ones. Guess I’ll just have to wear it a few times and get used to it. Oh, what a hardship. ;-)

Overall, I think this one’s a winner. It’ll be a good summer dress, and best of all, it goes with my foam-green shoes that hardly go with anything in my wardrobe. Yay!



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14 responses to “The “Floral Forties” dress

  1. Ooh, I love this version! It looks great on you, especially paired with those shoes. And I have to say that I really like your hair this color too ;) Good luck finishing up the hem!

    • Thanks Donna! :-)

      (I think I’ve finally decided that purple is my fave hair colour too. I suspect it’ll be staying this shade for a few months at least!)

  2. beautiful dress, I love it.. Love the square neckline.
    Happy sewing.

  3. Loving the new hair colour, girlie! Miss you heaps – I needa catch up with you sometime soon. xx

  4. This is such a lovely dress Kat. I love the shape so much. I’m so impressed that you manage to keep up with those Sew Weekly challenges. I get so frustrated when I can see one I could do and then work gets in the way! I really love your red hair but I think purple is the winner, actually! :-)

  5. Gorgeous dress and so nice to find someone else in NZ that loves vintage.

  6. Kat!! This is fabulous. I love your fabric choice, and I agree – it has a great drape for this style. I like the semi fitted bodice – it definitely says summer and lounging under a parasol having a picnic. Overall, it looks lovely and I hope you get lots of wear out of it!!

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