1940s Failure

I decided that I would tackle this dress from the November 1948 Home Journal as I found some fabric that I thought would suit the design well.  Well I really should have done a muslin and for any future patterns from the Home Journal I think I will. I am really not a fan of muslins, they seem a little of a waste of time, however for the vintage patterns I think they are a must, at least until I learn the idiosyncrasies of these patterns.

Let’s just say my version of this pattern was close to a disaster – it is so frumpy and the fit is terrible. 

I like the frill detail, but when it comes to construction, how am I supposed to set in a sleeve when the frill goes right to the edge of the shoulder?  It made it very tricky if near impossible.  Then the front of the dress is really wide and once gathered sticks out in unflattering places – do I want my boobs to look any bigger?   The shoulders are very sloping but broad.  So many issues that a muslin would have picked up…*sigh*
So the top of the dress after about an hour of unpicking, tucking, regathering and resewing actually sits ok, but with the skirt on is terrible.  I think the waist is slightly too high and too big but if I pull it in the skirt poofs out.  It is so unflattering I am not even going to show you a picture of me in it.  I showed my husband and he just said “oh” and then after a huge pause “it fits kind of weird” – I think this was his way of being diplomatic.

Here are some of the pattern pieces – unmarked but this is normal for the time.  Check out the shoulder slope on the back piece! 

It is too wide in the shoulders and bust (and I thought I would be busty enough!).  I am not happy with it and think I will re-cut it into something else. Maybe a skirt or I’ll buy some more, keep the skirt and make a new top, perhaps similar but that fits correctly.  I am so frustrated I have thrown it into the corner.  Does anyone get these issues?

On the plus side – I did learn that if I was around back then I could have purchased literature that would make me taller – being 5’2″ I think that would have been great.  Wonder what the literature said?  It was even offered with a guarantee.  I love ads from back then – amusing stuff!

9 thoughts on “1940s Failure

  1. it's not much fun when things don't work out! I must admit I rarely make a toile, but I have started using my patterns more than once so that almost counts! Better luck next time.

  2. I am impressed that you even made something that looked like a dress! When I open a pattern, my brain melts! But yes Ive had those moments when your making something and get all frustrated and create a pile of stuff on the floor! Youve reminded me to go tackle that pile! But I agree, the fabric you found is just lovely and would have suited the dress well!

  3. Thanks, I normally use patterns more than once too, I will start counting them as toiles/muslins 😉 I will try this one again but perhaps in a different fabric and after I have forgotten the pain of this attempt!

  4. Thanks for your positive comments. Sometimes it is nice to hear others have similar issues. Onto the next project now (onwards and upwards).

  5. So sorry for your frustrations. I so understand too. I too have had such problems with vintage patterns and fitting issues..I think the ladies of that day..were shaped alot different than now a day girls.lol I agree with you.. put it up for awhile..go to something else.. and sometimes, when you pull it out… it seems a little better. ps..Have to tell you this one….Your husband was VERY diplomatic. One time, I was working on a muslin of a vintage dress pattern, I was trying to get him to help me fit it .I walked in the room [with this 1/2 fininshed,horrible dress] on. He looked at me , broke into the biggest laugh and said,"what in the world is that?". We both laughed so hard, we could not pin the thing together.. BTY…It never became a real dress. ha

  6. I feel your pain – my latest wadder is unceremoniously scrumpled up in the corner of the sewing room to serve as a warning to the next garment.Didn't that bodice have darts? Looking at the picture I would have expected it to have huge darts.

  7. nope, no darts, it is gathered at the top of the yoke which just makes it stick out in all the wrong places. Maybe if I had a 46" bust it would have worked, although my waist would still have to be 30" for it to fit. Hmmm…interesting proportions

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