Tuesday, July 20, 2010

vintage yellow dress.

That description doesn't nearly say it all. How about an absolutely, perfectly, WONDERFUL vintage yellow dress (that I found on ebay!) This post is full of big pictures. They're worth the wait to "download" though! I left them larger than I normally do because the color and print was hard to photograph; I don't think you'll be able to really see details until you click them to make larger.

This adorable 1940s-era dress isn't my first vintage garment purchase, but it IS the first "real dress" that is in good condition and actually very wearable. It fits me like a glove, literally like it was made for me. As it is a handmade dress (i have lots of inside detail shots!), I think its kind of awesome to think of a 1940s girl who loved this dress style, this color, and was exactly my size.

Isn't it flattering?? I'll go through the dress so you can see the specifics. Here's a full shot of the dress on a hanger.

The bodice has a round applied yoke that extends across the shoulders. The bodice gathers both to the shoulder portion and to the 6-gore skirt. Yoke:


Bodice gathered to waist (just where a dart would be, not across the entire waistline):

The cut-on cap sleeve is turned up and stitched for a hem:

I'm not sure if this next picture is a design detail or a fitting adjustment. There are gussets under the arm, but they're finished in such a way that it seems to be purposefully done this way, not as an adjustment for a too-small dress. The gussets are made of 2 pieces, including a separate "hem/facing" piece at the top of the gusset.

The back yoke attaches to the front yoke/shoulder piece:

Then there are these FABULOUS pockets on the front skirt!

The dress is made by hand, with pinked seams and only straight stitching by machine or handstitching. This is the shoulder gathers attached the yoke piece from the inside of the dress:

And here is the back yoke/facing/lower bodice. You can see the pinked bodice seams, and the handstitching around the yoke. I have to say, even though I dislike facings in garments as a rule, I like this more narrow one. It lies very flat. I may have to inspect it a little closer!

Now I have a dilemma...I love this dress. I would wear this dress all the time if I could! While the dress itself is in excellent condition (no rips, holes, rotting fabric, stains, nothing!) The threads are fragile. I'm thinking about re-stitching every seam with new thread so I can wear it!

But first, I'm trying to decide how best to copy the pattern. If I'm going to restitch it anyway, should I take apart all the seams and completely remake it? (Thus, giving me pattern pieces to trace.) Or, should I just use a different method of creating pattern pieces?

Any suggestions??

Seriously though, how perfectly made for me is this dress?? Even the length is perfect!

Happy Tuesday everyone!


  1. It is perfect- amazing fit. I would take most of it apart and make a pattern. But I wouldn't take apart pockets since you could draw those with out taking apart. Really cute dress.

  2. Adorable! I can see why you'd be terrified to pull it apart. Can't you just experiment with muslin?

    Then again, you're both better at this and braver than I am!

  3. What a great find: perfect fit and the shaping and style details are incredible. Taking it apart is probably the only way to get a pattern from it, but if you need to resew the seams anyway... De/re-construction may also reveal key seam-sequence issues. If it were my dress it would be a year before I had the courage to reach for the seam-ripper, but it will be worth doing.

  4. Very pretty! I love the yellow and the wonderful front pockets. Great buy!

  5. This IS a great dress on so many levels!! I, personally, would be scared to take it apart but you have mad skillz and could easily do it. Maybe you could wear it a few times to see how much you like it and then decide if you want to copy it?

  6. Great dress, what an awesome find!

  7. Anonymous3:32 PM

    I love it! It is perfect for you. I was snooping around vintage patterns yesterday and I swear that I saw this pattern! It was a mail order and I specifically thinking that the extended yoke almost looked like a 60/70's dress. I will have to go back and look. It was either ebay or etsy! I will let you know.

  8. Oh it's lovely! Great catch. Can't wait to see what you decide to do. g

  9. Great dress! The fabric is wonderful. What about making a copy of the pattern using painter's tape? I have done that with pants. Just cover the entire area that is equivalent to a pattern piece with painters tape, peel it off, and put it onto tracing paper and add your seam allowances. Super simple!

  10. I usually take things apart to make a pattern. Given that you need to strengthen the seams, this is going to work for you. Agree with BConky about not unpicking the pockets. PS its gorgeous - but does look much shorter than frocks from the period.

  11. This was a great find!

  12. What a fabulous find. The dress is so pretty and does fit you perfectly!

  13. You are pretty as a daffodil in that yellow dress! You could try other methods for copying the pattern, rather than taking it apart, as a last result. Kenneth King, I believe, had an online class about copying patterns on PR. There's also a marvy little book called "Copy It".

  14. It is so perfect it is a little scary/freaky! What a find!

  15. it looks gorgeous on you. and the craftmanship on the dress must have been so exciting to check out. it gives me chills sometimes seeing the brilliant neatness of handmade vintage dresses.

  16. Beautiful dress, it looks great on you. Enjoy wearing it!


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