Today’s dress is mash-up of two 1940s reproductions : Simplicity 1587 and 3688


I had some batik rayon in my stash from my birthday. While I normally like 50s styled patterns rayon just screamed 40s. I used the bodice from 1587. If you look at the drawing of the red dress on that envelop you can see that the skirt has a drop waist yolk detail. I tend to not like a dropped waists so instead I used the six panel skirt pattern from Simplicity 3688. I figured since both were 1940s it wouldn’t be too much of an anachronism.

This pattern has a lot of little interesting details that make it fun to sew. The sleeves have a stretched piece of elastic that create a soft gather.


It has a side zip but a little key hole opening in the back with a button and rouleau loop closure.

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The front has a gathered yolk with a floppy little bow. In this picture you can see one of the other changes I made. I did an inverted pleat at the waist instead of the gathers and lined them up with the seams on the skirt.

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True to 40s style this dress is unlined. Just a small facing around the back and the rest of the insides are just finished with a serger.

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I think that it needs some shoulder pads to really sell the silhouette. Tony says it looks like i’m going to church.

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Anchors Away

Tony gave me Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book for my Birthday a few  months ago.


The concept of the book is that it has several different skirt, bodice, sleeve, and collar patterns that can be used interchangeable to make  a slew of different dresses. I read the book cover to cover and decided to make a dress based on one of the drawings. An A-Line skirt with a basic bodice, cap sleeves, and a peter pan collar.


When I started construction it was just a mess. Clearly these patterns are not drafted to the same shape as mainstream pattern. I found the bust was 4 inches too low and extremely large. The darts size and placement was just all wrong. So I tried to find a pattern that I had used before to get an idea of how the darts should be placed. I unpicked the whole thing and trimmed the pieces to try and achieve the new shape. I was really irked. I know that most people have to do these types of alterations all the time but it made me really mad that someone would just totally disregard the standard body shape of a dress form and go rogue. I never never never have to make these sort of adjustments with standard patterns. Once that was all sorted out I moved on to the sleeves. Which once attached were a wee bit small and pulled the fabric in bizarre ways. I just gave up. This dress wasn’t to be. I decided to scrap the top and start over with something else and still use the A-line skirt. I think I like the result even better then the first dress so I cant be too upset.

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I used the bodice from my trusty Butterick 6094 (Coincidentally also a Gertie pattern). I thought the little flap detail in the back reminded me of a sailors uniform which worked well with the nautical theme fabric. Instead of using a contrasting fabric for the flap I added some satin ribbon trim. I am so pleased with the result.


I used a zipper from Kitty’s stash. I haven’t seen a metal invisible zip at the store. Unfortunately the metal teeth didn’t fit into my invisible zipper foot so I had to insert it using a regular zipper foot so its not quite as “invisible” as it should be.


I lined the bodice and use the fashion fabric for facings.

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I was short on fabric so I had to put a seam in the bodice midriff and I certainly didn’t have enough fabric left over to pattern match. I added some piping so the lack of pattern matching wouldn’t matter as much.

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I did a blind hem but when I put the dress on I felt it could use something more so I repeated the ribbon detail on the hem as well.

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I like the A-line skirt. I think with so many costumy details on this dress having not such a full skirt makes it a little more wearable.

Refashioning the bust shelf

I was really disappointed in how this dress ended up looking.  I had just over 1/2 of yard of the fabric leftover so I made the dramatic decision to make a completely new bodice using the Anna dress made by By Hand London. I am very pleased with the results. I think this will get a lot more wear.

This dress has an interesting way of shaping that involves 4 pleats that open out to the bust.



It has some delicate kimono sleeves that are super easy to make but still look nice.


With such a limited amount of fabric I was still able to cut a completely new bodice. The only thing I didn’t have enough yardage for was the facing. I used some scraps from my 1930 dress to make up the difference. Its inside, no one will know, and the colors are still the same-ish pallet.


Overall this refashion was a sucess!