My 1930s Day Dress
Posted on Tuesday the 15th September 2020 by Pretty Handsome Everyday
I sew a lot of fancy vintage style dresses but not so many ‘everyday’ styles. I decided to make an easy-to-wear low-key vintage dress, so I was happy to find this lovely Vintage Vogue pattern, V9294, which I decided to sew for my next project. The dress is a 1939 design and has a couple of different options on the envelope. The main dress has a flared, bias cut skirt, shaped bodice with some very poufy sleeves and options of pockets, lace trim, and peter pan collar or bias binding neck edge. I spent a fair while deciding between the peter pan collar and the bound neck edge with little tie, but eventually decided to go with the tie neck because I already have a lot of peter pan collars and thought it might be nice to have something slightly different in my wardrobe.
The fabric I chose to use was a delightful pale pink cotton lawn with a delicate floral pattern, which had a very vintage feel to it. The fabric is so soft and drapey and really comfortable to wear, and not see through at all!
I decided not to include the lace trim down the bodice on my version just because I loved the fabric so much and I didn’t want to make it too busy with additional details. I did use some lace on the pockets though, which I’ll go into further detail about further down.
The bodice construction was fairly straightforward and the neat binding around the neckline was very satisfying. I really like the tie neck with the little key hole opening because it’s a very simple and classy detail which suits the everyday style I was after.
The sleeves are really quite poufy which I imagine may not be to everyone’s taste but I like the extra pizzazz they bring. The only alteration I needed to make to the bodice was to make the shoulders narrower. When I first attached the sleeves they stuck well out from where my shoulders ended so I knew they needed to come in by around 1.5inches. Once I had adjusted them they sat just on my shoulder edge and looked much more in proportion.
I debated whether to add the shoulder pads and decided that the dress looked better with them in because they added some light structure to the shape of the bodice, which is quite boxy as is and benefited from the stronger shape the shoulder pads added. I’ve actually still managed to avoid sewing my own shoulder pads because I’ve got a little collection already, of ones that I’ve saved from old blazers or salvaged from charity shop buys. So I added my ready made shoulder pads and adjusted their positioning until they looked just right. To secure them I stitched them to the shoulder seam and sleeve edge.
I definitely wanted to add the pockets to my version of this dress. One, because I love pockets in everything and two because the design of these pockets are so fun! I really like their circular shape and gathered top edge. They sit away from the skirt and to be honest, I don’t think they’re going to be very practical but I’ll forgive them because they’re so darn cute. Just to add even more wow factor to my pockets I attached a lace trim in a co ordinating pale pink colour. I cut the length of lace twice the length of the pocket top edge and gathered it to the length of the pocket. I basted it in place with the top edges even and then made some bias binding in the same way as for the neckline and stitched this in place over the top edge of the pocket and the lace together, encasing the raw edges. I then attached the pockets to the skirt as per the pattern instructions. I love the extra detail and also think that it reflects and balances out the strong shoulders.
For the hem length I finished it just below the knee and I blind stitched the hem in place because certain garments demand the couture touch!
For styling my dress I took inspiration from the pattern envelope and tried a Gibson roll on my short hair and some victory rolls at the top along with my flowery headpiece from my wedding no less!
I love how this dress has turned out, it feels like the sort of day dress you can just put on quickly but makes you look very chic and put together!
Thanks for reading and happy sewing!