"Resign yourself, Catherine! Shops must be visited! Money must be spent! Do you think you could bear it?" - Northanger Abbey

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A 1940's outfit (for sew for victory sewalong)


As part of the above sewalong I decided to make a complete 1940's ensemble.

Starting with butterick 5209 for the dress. I chose view 'b'. Its a 1947 pattern so after the war but still in rationing (in the UK) so it was cut with a mind not to waste fabric. It left me with a nice long strip of fabric to make bias binding and some accessories from. I plan to make a bag/hat and fabric 'flower' for my hair.

The Dress

As you can see I added an inch to the bottom of the front halterneck peice. This allowed for a bit more ease or else it would have come up a little high. I also cut the waistband peices on the fold to illuminate the seam. I did not cut out any lining.

I found the bodice was quite quick to sew.  About 12hours by hand just for the general construction.
here is dress with hat pinned to it.

The Accessories
Inspired by the newsreels and this image from a 1947 pattern.

The Bag
The bag with be based on the instructions given in a 1940's newsreel. But with a few modifications.

The Hat
The hat will be based on the instructions in a 1940's newsreel. I'm using felt as the base fabric with cotton bias binding for the hat band.

Because I used felt I didn't need 'stiffening' added to the hat. It was a very simple process sewn in one evening.

For my hair.

Now the complete ensemble in the mode of the moment that moment being 1947....


  1. Great job- I love that you also sewed your own accessories!

  2. Amazing, and Lovely.

  3. Oh, you version is just lovely! Beautiful fabric.

  4. Lovely! How many sewing challenges have you joined?! You must be sewing every day!! :)

    Do you sew all your items by hand, without a sewing machine? So so talented and patient!

    1. Lol! Well historical fortnightly sew a long is the main one I joined. The 1940's one I knew I could do in the time (I was unemployed for short time so could focus on sewing every day).
      Yes. Everything is done by hand. Me and sewing machines don't get along. Every one I have tried (I'll admit they were cheap or 2nd hand) have resulted in tension troubles, winding the bobbin troubles chewing up material and well lots of mistakes I spend ages unpicking. I don't have half that trouble handsewing. The time I spend unpicking stitches/setting up the machine/perfecting the tension I could have hand sewn half the garment. lol!