Thursday, June 20, 2013

Decades of Style 1944 House Dress

Dear readers,

Since having minor foot surgery and staying home for two weeks - this second week I have been sewing my head off - I've completed this reproduction dress, a pair of knitted fingerless mitts, and a quick shirt.

First, my completed Decades of Style 1944 House Dress.  I bought the fabric online from Gorgeous Fabrics last year .  (Note to self:  I am going to start attaching tags to my fabric with date and source).  The colors of this dress were inspired by a Rose Bowl game here in Pasadena - actually the BCS Championship in Pasadena (Univ. of Alabama v. Univ. of Texas).  I thought I am going to make a dress to wear with my brother to the next Alabama championship - it's only taken me over three years.

Please note I couldn't get the color quite right . I tried to lighten then darken it.   I also chose not to attach black pockets - J. thought it would drive the dress into costume territory (not that this is necessarily a bad thing).
I used this transparent print that I underlined with batiste (rather than voile) - it was the only fabric I could find in black locally (without driving to Mood).  The batiste seemed heavier than I originally desired  - I could barely fell-stitch the lining or attach the snaps.  

A fashion savvy friend of mine suggested avoiding the fabric, below - my original choice - so I need to send him a picture - he was right - this had the wrong hand for the pattern.  
As usual, I kept getting photo-bombed by my Kerry Blue Terrier, Pixie.   I also wanted to make this pattern since I bought it at Sew LA.   I made a toile, first, and made the adjustments.  Then I underlined all the pieces and serged the edges.  I changed my serger thread to maxi-lock - and guess what?  Perfect serging!  Just as I was about to purchase a Babylock evolution.  Blast!
 Oh Pixie!! You little sweetie!
I made several style decisions in sewing this the dress - I made a border for the collar from Gertie's Tutorial - using rickrack edging - and used the same technique on the sleeve.  I am very happy with how it came out.   

I also used the square collar directions that came in the package - I probably would NOT do that again.   Especially with the thin fabric I was using - it was very wonky.  Next time I am rethinking construction of the collar.  I also made my own sleeves after reading reviews of the pattern.  I also chose to hem the pattern right below the knee.  

The back is a perfect fit - and super comfy.
 This collar looks a lot better in pictures than in reality, below:
 The dress on my PGM dressform, below:
My final thought is that this pattern is drafted ridiculously well.  I made only minor changes overall.  Apparently, it has been redrafted from the original pattern in today's sizes by Decades of Styles - which I love.  It took me a week to make this dress after the toile.  True, I was post-surgery, but I have read that other bloggers have sewn it up in less than four hours.  I don't see that - even without underlining - but I do tend to dawdle with my sewing.   This dress I really focused on construction techniques - and I still wasn't 100 percent happy with the execution.  Yes, I would definitely make this again, most likely with vintage-insprired fabric.
P.S.  I missed my opportunity posing like the original with a broom - I must do a derivative post now:)


  1. Loving the fabric you chose for this, and Pixie is such a pretty dog! I've never seen one of her type, but she's lovely!

    1. Thanks Debs! It tooks a while to decide which fabric out of my stash to use. I love Kerry Blue Terriers - very spirited with lots of energy (like me) - we love them - non-shedding and fun, lively personalities!

  2. Awesome dress - and so University of Alabama! (I'm sure you'll get another chance to wear it to a National Championship.) That collar looks very complicated, and the rickrack is such a nice touch. Hey, you are totally invited to my girl's sewing weekend, since you're a former Gulf Coast resident. Maybe I could get some sewing celebrities to participate someday so it would really be worth flying out here....

    1. Thanks for the invite! I'll have to get back to you on the timing of the weekend. I have to be in Seattle area the week of August 19th, and then going to ASG last August in DC - although I would LOVE to come if I can make the timing work out. I have tons of time off I haven't taken. Thanks for the nice words on the dress (although I did graduate from Auburn so I'm a little guilty).

  3. So cute!! I love this style and your fabric is perfect.

    1. Thanks - this really was a labor of love!

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