Here is my 1940s dress which I sewed for a WWII themed dance that my husband and I attended! I sewed it from an extremely rare vintage Butterick Pattern 9218 using a lipstick red rayon print.
The bodice has very intricate shirring at the sleeves.
As you can see, the original pattern was floor length. But since this was a swing dance we were attending, I shortened it to below-the-knee to make for easier dancing. I also shortened the bodice a bit so that it wouldn’t look out of proportion for the altered dress length.
The bodice back has a hook and eye opening at the neckline and a slight slit for the back closure, plus a side zipper which was very common for the pre-1950s (and even many post-1950s) dresses. I finished this back opening by hand using tiny invisible stitches.
Here we are at the WWII dance! My husband’s jacket is an original WWII U.S. Army technician’s jacket which I found in mint condition online. It worked perfectly! Most everyone came in period correct attire that evening, but I personally think that his outfit was the most authentic. I wore pearls, vintage tights with the seam down the back, 1940s style dance shoes which look straight out of the era, and I put my hair in victory rolls. So much fun!
And I was so thankful that someone got a video of the dancing that evening! The live swing band was superb, and the event was held in a historic aiplane hangar.
The dress came together so easily when I sewed it, and I loved dancing in it, as well! The skirt has quite a few gathers – it was published in pre-ration 1940, so wartime fabric restrictions wouldn’t have applied to this design.
I thought the dress was a bit plain on its own, so I added rosettes to the neckline, a chiffon ruffle down the bodice center front, and a cinch belt to keep the bodice nicely fitted.
And I’d like to thank my husband for taking me to another airplane museum today so we could take more photos! The original location was a bit dark the day of the dance so we had to reshoot some of them.
I hope you all have had a wonderful Memorial Day, and may we not take for granted all the sacrifices of the men and women who have served our country!
P.S. For more behind the scenes photos you can visit my Instagram
I’m so happy to share my wedding dance video with you! From the time I was fourteen years old, I knew I just had to dance “The Laendler” (from The Sound of Music) at my wedding. After I became an adult, I figured that it might be a girlish dream and that I may have to abandon the idea… But fast forward several years, and I met my future husband at a BALL! A historical costume ball. 😀 So needless to say, I had met the absolute perfect man for that girlhood idea! Lars and I began practicing this dance together shortly before our engagement, and we had it down pat by the time our wedding rolled around. Talk about happiness! 😉
Well, I designed my entire wedding dress around this dance: Since there is so much twirling, I knew I couldn’t have a gigantic Victorian bustle and thus stuck to a standard ballgown style. The vast amount of time during this dance wherein the lady’s arms are raised above her shoulders meant that the sleeves *had* to be flexible – so I made the sleeves ruched, and bound the edges with elasticized trim so that the sleeves would move with me when I danced. And finally, I accepted the fact that a boned hoopskirt would make the Laendler a nearly impossible feat to pull off, so I settled on a narrower net petticoat which still added a fair amount of “pouff”, even if it wasn’t quite as full as I would have liked…
While I took all the necessary precautions to ensure the dress would be danceable, I hadn’t actually worn it for a dress rehearsal! I didn’t want the groom to see my wedding gown until our wedding day, so I was completely unaware of exactly how it would work. But it behaved beautifully throughout the entire dance! The only time when I had a little difficulty was during that sequence of five rapid spins – I had to throw my weight into turning to keep the layers of skirt and petticoat from restricting my legs as the skirt was not turning at the same rate I was. It might sound silly, but it could have been a very serious problem had the skirt gotten all tangled up around me, especially with the long train bustled up!
We replicated the original dance from the Von Trapp film almost exactly, and we had it professionally filmed to remember forever!
So there’s my commentary for our wedding dance video! I am so grateful to my sweet husband for being such a good and enthusiastic sport about dancing this in front of our 200 hundred + people reception, and to the Lord for bringing us together!
If for some reason you can’t see the video on this web page or in your email browser please click this link ( https://youtu.be/nTElpaOvBRI ) to watch it on Youtube.
Until next time, so long, farewell, auf weidersehen, goodbye! 😉
Happy belated Easter! I want to share my latest sewing creation with you all, which is made from one of my favorite fabric prints I’ve used to date. (Fresh Lilacs by Maywood Studio.) This 1950s dress, made from a vintage mail order pattern, has a Victorian air to it, thanks to the lace insertion panel I added and the satin ribbon trim. I love projects that combine my two favorite eras!
Marian Martin Pattern # 9389
The Marian Martin pattern I used is very unique in that it has no shaping in the bodice at all – the pattern is a loose, shift like garment that must be cinched in by a belt or sash in order to resemble the standard 1950s shirtwaist style. It has a bit too much fabric in the bodice width, for a rather balloony fit, but I still love how it turned out.
As you can see, the style has a rounded yoke, bodice gathers, and stiff winged collar. I left off the sleeves as I prefer sleeveless dresses in spring and summer. And I must say that the skirt is not really as full in real life as it looks in the pattern illustration! 😉
I added dark purple piping in the yoke seam on the back and front of the dress. In the photo above you can see how the collar overlaps in the back, and that is due to a highly unusual (and slightly tricky) collar piece! Below is a picture of the overlapped collar, with the square portion which was stitched into the neckline. Like I said, just a little tricky! 😉
But my favorite element of the dress by far is the lace insertion. I simply LOVE the color lavender, so I knew I needed to do something really special with this material.
In the photo above, you can see that the bottom edge of the lace had scallops which I attached on the outside of the fabric. The top edge of lace was hidden like normal insertion, though. I did sew the lace over the fabric – (there was no gap like this photo shows). The picture above was just from my “trial run” when I was trying to determine how the finished product would look.
Once the lace was stitched in place, I cut away the fabric underneath, folded it away from the lace, and stitched it neatly in place. I was so happy with how it turned out!! It’s quite sheer on its own, but with a white petticoat underneath it is totally fine to wear.
I love the almost old-world feel to it! While I adore the polka dots and retro prints from the 50s, there’s something so refreshing about a crisp floral print frock!
Here’s a closeup of the fabric while I was sewing the self-made bias binding onto the sleeves.
My husband took me vintage hat shopping a few weeks back and we found this lovely antique number that I wore on Easter Sunday. Sometimes I wish there were more occasions to wear hats…
So that’s my Easter dress for this year! I’d love to see pictures if any of you made your Easter dresses, as well!