dressmaking · Vintage style

The 1940s Dream Dress

Hello there!


Thank you so much for visiting my blog. This year, I have two main goals; to make casual clothes that I will get a lot of wear out of, and to improve my sewing skills by experimenting with new fabrics and techniques.

So in true Lizzie style, on a cold January day, I set about making a floral summer dress. Hmmmm. In my defence I made the dress out of a beautiful viscose, which is a fabric  I have never used before. At least it ticks one of the boxes.


To be quite honest I have no regrets about making a seasonally inappropriate dress. Not only do I love how it turned out but I thoroughly enjoyed making it. Simplicity 1587 is an absolute joy to make, full of wonderful little techniques that are so satisfying. Pleats, gathers, ruffles, bows, button loops – it was so much fun and very rewarding. It is a lovely 1940s reproduction pattern and is very flattering.

When I compared my measurements to the pattern guidelines I came out as a size 14. I tend to vary in sizes quite a lot so I decided to be a good seamstress and make a toile. It is usually a good idea to make a toile from a fabric with similar qualities to your chosen fabric but unfortunately I did not have anything suitable so I used an old duvet. I thought this would be near enough but it ended up being a bit of a nightmare. I am not sure if it had been starched or something but I found it really hard to get my pins to pierce the fabric. However, like a trooper I battled on, and although the toile has nowhere near as much drape as my viscose, it still gave me an idea of the sizing.


I was actually pretty happy with the fit and did not make any alterations. Yay! I love it when that happens.

Like I said earlier, this dress is wonderful for sewists who want to improve their skills and learn new techniques. Most of the dresses I have made in the past have been shaped using darts or seams so it was really nice to use more pleats and gathers to create the silhouette.

Processes I especially enjoyed were adding elastic into the sleeves to create ruching, and inserting the back facing and button loop. The latter produced such a neat finish and if you love pressing like I do it was particularly satisfying.


I also enjoyed attaching the yoke and bow, which is an optional extra. I’m all about bows and ruffles so added one to my dress but I think it looks nice without one too.


There were some parts of the dress I struggled with. It was my first time working with viscose and I did not enjoy inserting the invisible zip. Let’s just say, it took a couple of attempts. I also found attatching the front skirt to the front skirt yoke a little fiddly because you are gathering along a curve. I had two attempts at this section. I think it turned out okay but it could be a bit neater. I should say at the point that I bought my fabric at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate but I cannot remember the name of the stall. I’m really sorry 😦 I’m a bad blogger!


I was also a little unsure how to neaten my inside seams, as my material frays a lot. Normally I use my overlocker or do French seams but because there were so many curved seams I did not think these would be appropriate. I ended up using a zigzag stitch on my sewing machine so the inside is not as neat as I would like. Hopefully the zigzags will be okay though and my dress will not unravel when I’m wearing it.

I am a big fan one Simplicity patterns and 1587 is one of a number to feature in my Make Nine 2018 shortlist. The instructions were clear and I am very happy with the sizing. I did not even have to lengthen it, which is unusual for me.

I am over the moon with my finished dress. Roll on summer!


Pattern Pointers

I would recommend making a toile for this garment, although the sizing was great for me. It is not a quick make and it would be a shame to put in all that effort for it not to fit. The instructions are very good.


I used three metres of viscose, although I had a bit left over. I also used some lightweight interfacing, 6mm elastic, sewing thread and a 12mm cover button.


I made the size 14 and did not make any alterations.



4 thoughts on “The 1940s Dream Dress

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