A far cry from the original

August 27, 2012 · 8 comments

vintage sewing pattern

This was a strange sewing project! It was made from a vintage McCalls pattern from 1946. I really loved the shape of this vintage dress on the pattern picture but once I had sewn up a toile and tried it on I suddenly felt the urge to butcher the poor thing to oblivion. I looked in the mirror and although there was plenty to be said for the dress I just saw a much cuter one hiding within the silhouette of the pattern.

I changed the neckline to a v-neck and gave it very small little puffy sleeves and a (very) short hemline. I have come to the conclusion that what I was actually seeing hiding in my toile was a 1940s style playsuit- I just didn’t realise it until I had made up the dress in my fashion fabric with a playsuit length skirt. This was a bit of a shame really as a playsuit would have been super cute. I think I will do that with this pattern next.

vintage dress

I really love the waistline of this dress- I’m not sure what to call it really? A zig zag waist? It reminds me a little of a waistcoat. The skirt is really interesting too with its central inverted pleat and little gathers to either side. I also really liked the side darts in the bodice as they are in quite an original position and are actually more like tucks as they are not sewn to the tip like regular darts.

These are the kind of details that I think vintage patterns are so fantastic for – I never would have thought to have a pleat and gathers together on the front of a skirt, but it’s so cute in practice.

vintage dress 1940

This project gave me a strange amount of satisfaction! I liked that something fun and flirty was born from this very conservative vintage pattern. I am now of the opinion that taking a big pair of scissors to your toile occasionally is good for the soul. So, next time you make up a pattern and just aren’t inspired by it get hacking- maybe you’ll end up with something fun too!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Bridesire November 23, 2012 at 10:21 am

My mom has kept quite a hefty amount of pretty dresses in her youth days and I don’t want them just to rot in the closet forever. I always wanted to wear them. However, i dunno how to make them look trendy and chic for the modern. This post just gave me an idea on what to do with the other dresses. Thank you!


Ami December 4, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Thanks so much for your comment- I am really happy to have given you some inspiration! Such a shame if pretty things don’t get worn. Happy sewing :o)


Erin February 14, 2013 at 4:06 am

This is super cute your such a stunning little thing, I think you could probably make anything look gorgeous but what you did with this pattern is amazing! It makes me want to get my hand on some vintage patterns and do them up but I don’t think I’m as clever as you. Hehe!!


Shayne Jelavic February 23, 2013 at 2:41 am

I agree with Erin, you’re adorable and ANYthing you wore would look adorable. Your dress came out brilliantly! I’d call it a ‘faux weskit’ one piece dress – don’t you think it has the look of a 40s-50s weskit and skirt?
Shayne Jelavic recently posted…Vintage Mid Century Rose Print Scalloped Neckline Circle Skirt Dress with Sash Custom Made all sizes by MaisyBrownReproRetroMy Profile


Ami February 25, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Ah thanks so much! And yep- that is what is what it looks like! Must be the v neck and the waistcoat-y kind of shaped waist seam! Xx
Ami recently posted…Tutorial: French SeamsMy Profile


Michelle March 14, 2013 at 5:13 pm

I really like your change to a V neckline; it makes it so much more wearable and still allows you to use those lovely vintage details!
Michelle recently posted…Sewing with SarisMy Profile


Foryoudresses May 3, 2013 at 8:01 am

Your sewing work is more beautiful than the vintage style. The neckline and the fabric makes the differences. Beautiful dress!


Chelsea May 5, 2015 at 9:36 pm

Not only do I think this is the cutest dress ever… but I’m totally jealous of your tan!
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