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It is woman

Princess line dress

Saffron coming to inspect my new creation

Today I finished sewing this princess line dress. (Although it looks black here, it’s really brown).

I had originally bought this fabric intending to use it for a vintage pattern. The experience with the ‘slippery’ black floral I used with a 1940 pattern convinced me otherwise. I couldn’t let the fabric go to waste so I turned it into a princess line dress.

My poor princess line pattern: it has holes it in. It has multiple length marks; it has bits and pieces to change the shape of the neck – round, V-neck, sweetheart; square back, higher back, lower scoop back. In places it’s held together with sticky tape. It’s the legacy of using the one pattern to make… um… let me see… 6 dresses.

I know that some people may ask – ‘don’t you get tired of the same style?’ Absolutely not! To start with it looks so different depending on the fabric and the length.

More importantly, it is one of the most feminine and flattering styles I know. As a very experienced dressmaker said to me – in her Ukrainian accent – ‘it is woman.’

I only have photos of 5 of the dresses – these have all been made using the one princess line pattern. I think I got my money’s worth out of that pattern purchase! (For the sewing aficionados it’s a McCall’s Laura Ashley pattern. I’d get the exact number if Licorice wasn’t sitting on top of the pattern box.)

Princess Line dress in Organza 2008

Leonardo Fabric - back of dress

Princess Line Dress in Sheer Crinkle with Leonardo Da Vinci print

The black one was so versatile – I made two the same! I wear them all year ’round.

Sleeveless princess line dress with top underneath

Sleeveless dress with top underneath for winter wearing

Princess Line Dress Foundation Pattern

This photo really shows off how beautiful the line of that seam is... oh and that I have cat hair on the dress.

Lysh and pickle

Made to mid-calf length - super comfortable!

Lastly, the most spectacular incarnation of the dress. As two dresses in fact (so I’ve sewn it 8 times in all!) The ‘lining’ is wearable on its own; not that I ever would. The colour without the olive lace on top makes me look ill. The outer layer was joined at the seams using rolled hem setting on the overlocker and serafil to make them as fine as possible. The bias was hand-stitched around the collar. I have my wonderful dressmaking teacher to thank for this version of the princess line dress. Without her, it wouldn’t have been. I had a vision for what I wanted. She used her wealth of experience to help me adjust the pattern and make it a reality.

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Princess Line dress pattern made into evening dress

You can see in the second photo that it is floor length. It swishes beautifully as you walk. As Olga said:
It is woman.
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1940s pattern hunting!

Woohoo! I found some 1940s patterns today. I actually searched through over 2000 items on etsy to select these 3 patterns. There are more patterns out there than I thought however many are very similar or could be made from an adjusted modern pattern. These 3 were a little different and I couldn’t pass them up. My day got even better when one of the sellers I bought 2 patterns from emailed me a pic of a third pattern which was also a gem. My new purchases, all yet to arrive, are all below. To my delight, I could date all 4 of them to a year by using the pattern dating guide in “BluePrints of Fashion: Home Sewing Patterns of the 1940s” by Wade Laboissoniere. A book which has been drooled on whilst in my possession!

Blouse pattern Butterick 1939

1939 blouse pattern

Blouse pattern Butterick 1940

1940 Blouse Pattern

Simplicity Dress Pattern 1940

1940s Dress Pattern (Simplicity 1940)

McCall’s Dress Pattern 1944

1940s Dress Pattern (McCall's 1944)