Sewing: 1940s Summer Dress

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Summer is over but I was still able to wear this dress out on  a warm afternoon last month. Made with a 1940's vintage sewing pattern, this has always been one of my favourite dress styles and I hope to make another one for next spring/summer!

Photos: Mum

Outfit Details

Dress - Made by me with an original 1940's McCall Pattern
May Gibbs Wattle Babies Brooch (Sold out but back in stock soon) - c/o Erstwilder
Hat - Rivers
Shoes - c/o Charlie Stone Shoes

I bought this sewing pattern four or five years ago on eBay after falling in love with the dress style and the beautiful illustrations. I had wanted to make it for ages as I'd see it every time I'd flick through my patterns deciding what to make next. I'm not sure why I waited so long because this has to be my favourite thing that I have ever sewn. 

This fabric was on special and really cheap at Spotlight for $2.89 p/m when I purchased it, I bought 4m of fabric and used most of it for this project. I also bought the zip for a couple of dollars and the belt buckle was something that had been floating around in my sewing box for ages. 

When I bought this pattern all those years ago I knew that I had to make it similar to the illustration, the light green fabric always caught my attention as I would flick through my patterns and so it was awesome to come across this fabric. I usually like to buy cheaper fabric when trying a pattern for the first time, I just couldn't handle it if a project didn't work out and I lost out on expensive fabric. Saying that, this fabric is actually really nice to wear and quite good quality for the price!

The instructions for this pattern were very limited but I found it was a pretty simple dress to construct. My main issue was just attaching that bottom gather just right and just adjusting the bodice a few times to make the fit just right, that took a bit of extra time but I think the fit in the end was a really great result. 

I feel like this dress is very me, I just really love this style and silhouette. A more a line skirt like this with gathering is always a favourite and it is just one of those styles that is easy to chuck on and feels a little more low key which is nice for a walk in the park or for anything in that matter. 

Next time I make this I might add two cute little front pockets and maybe even make the straps into a tie up style so I can have cut little bows. I really loved making this dress and can't wait to wear it again next spring and summer! 

My next sewing post will hopefully be soon, I have been working on a 20's day dress by Decades of Style patterns... I mentioned in a previous blog post that I love the pattern but am unsure about my fabric choices now. Regardless of that I will still blog about it as I will be making the dress again next summer!

Kayla - GracefullyVintage xo


  1. What a beauty of a frock! The fabric is a particularly nice choice too. You did a wonderful job. Good luck with the 1920s dress, I'm sure it will turn out just as well x


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  2. Ooh, what an elegant little sundress. It looks splendid on you! I wonder did you add elastic to the top of the shoulder ruffle or just leave it with the the nonstretch binding? I often see this style with elastic used.

  3. Very cute! I like the color and the delicate floral pattern. It's always so funny to see a vintage dress (or pattern, in this case) that's so modern looking! The off the shoulder silhouette looks very trendy.

  4. Love this have done a wonderful job on it! I love the style and the fabric, such a cute summer dress for sure! :)

  5. Like Jessica said, that 'cold shoulder' (as everyone insists on calling it) silhouette is really in vogue right now, so it's both a lovely classic and modern style! It's the kind of thing I'd feel really comfortable wearing out and about, when 50s skirt shapes sometimes feel a bit OTT for the day-to-day. Really good work, this is really pretty and looks lovely on you x

  6. Wow! You did an amazing job!

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