Dreaming of the Forties

I was searching for a good sewing project that  I could accomplish without a sewing machine and minimal tools. I didn’t particularly care if it took me forever but it had to be do-able. Now you’d think I would pick something eighteenth century, the height of handsewn awesomeness, but no, that would require layers which I don’t have in this country. I didn’t want to invest that much in a project that was just supposed to keep me entertained for the few months that I’m here.

I’d been following the Swing Dress Sew Along despite not being able to participate at the time, and I decided to revisit it. I read through the posts, deemed the project do-able, and here I am embarking on my first 1940’s dress.

Most of the fabric I wrote about in my last post is destined for this project.

From left to right: cotton organdy, silk/cotton blend, cotton voile, silk something (pretty!!)


I totally fell in love with this Japanese-style silk as soon as I saw it. I can’t wait to see it turned into a dress! You can also see the partially constructed pattern as well. I had a lot of issues with this pattern. The instructions state that it is sized to print out properly on A4 size paper but I’m not sure that’s the case. I’m unable to double check this of course but I found that a few millimetres was cut off on the long sides sometimes. I also found that it was not necessarily printed straight on the paper which prevented me from using the straight sides as a guide. The lines of the pattern are quite thick when properly sized, 0.5cm or more in some places. I was trying to take this project slowly and carefully and the lack of precision was a little annoying.  Despite this, I found places with very subtle curves that I hope will result in a nice shape.

I’m going to use the black and white plaid as a mockup fabric. I’ve since started the mockup and I am regretting not getting a straight check instead of what has turned out to be a non-symmetrical plaid as I want to use the lines as guideline while working with the mockup. Too late now! I did want to use up whatever was left of the plaid for a lightweight summer shirt as well. We’ll see if there’s enough.

I also think I’m going to make some very subtle shoulder pads. I have pretty straight shoulders as it is so commercial pads would be waaaay to much for this dress. Again, I didn’t want to buy a bag of cotton batting so I grabbed a bag of cotton wadding from the parmacy. I was introduced to this product overseas and I’m not sure whether is actually available in North America or if I just never noticed it! I’m probably going to pad-stitch thin layer of this stuff to get the shape I want. I’m also definitely planning on cannibalizing a small piece of my bedsheet for this. I don’t need the whole thing right! Honestly though, I’m really trying to avoid buying an excess amount of stuff for this project and my sheets are a size to large for my mattress and the perfect colour for this!

I’ll hopefully find the time for further updates as I go!


2 thoughts on “Dreaming of the Forties

  1. I love that silk! It’s so pretty!!!!

    I’ve been practicing sewing, making gerbil toys lol. Any patterns for that? I’d like to work my way up to a dress at some point!

  2. Sorry I can’t think of any gerbil-specific sewing projects but I’m sure they’re great practice for future larger projects! I truly believe that anyone can learn to sew and there’s a ton of resources available online. Beware! Sewing is definitely a life-long learning process. You can check out http://www.burdastyle.com for some free sewing patterns if you’re thinking of moving on to a larger project!

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