Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Simplicity 1777 1940's WW2 Era Gathered Dress



This pattern is a reproduction of a 1940's pattern by Simplicity. 

I had seen this pattern in the shops and online before, and over and over again I seemed to have the same 'meh' reaction. I'm not sure why. Then one day I just had this urge to make it. It was so bizarre. So I made a special trip to spotlight just to purchase it. 

As I am a History Teacher my love for all things WW2 is pretty obvious, and thus it's follow on effect for fashion. Not just the effect of rationing on hem length and circumference but how this is when American designers really became pronounced as once Paris was under Nazi occupation, there was no more relying on the fashion capital for the latest styling. A further note about Vichy France was how the designers, in attempts to mock the Germans and their Vichy supporters, made obnoxious and extreme fashions which were both garish and excessive. 

But whilst my fascination with 1940's and the fashion of the era is abundant, I am yet to create anything of the era as I found much of the military-inspired skirt suits with padded shoulders were simply not my style and would, on me, perhaps be more reminiscent of the 1980's than the 1940's. 1777 however was a simple dress, without hard shoulders, and some lovely gathers.

I cut a straight 14 for this design. I chose to use a deep red crepe de chine with contrasting black crepe de chine a la the pattern envelope. (what happened to my originality here?!!?) I lined the bodice and skirt of the dress using bemsilk lining and made a self-facing for the contrast yoke. The patterns calls for a faced yoke but the rest of the dress remains unlined. I don't care for unlined garments. 

The lining presented a challenge (I love making things difficult for myself apparently) as if I were to create as a standard lining (inverting of regular pattern pieces) the bulk of the gathers sitting against each other would have been extreme and I was already concerned about the effect of all those gathers around the tummy and waist. So I inserted the lining as you would an interlining around the bodice yoke (treating the shell fabric and lining as one piece) then attached to the rest of the bodice in the usual lining way as an inverted copy of the dress. Whilst it took a lot of fiddling and forethought, it worked out well, reduced the bulk and ensured a beautiful finished inside. 
I doubt I will sew this design again as it is quite unique, although if I were to I would add more ease to the bust area as the gathers seem to pucker as they are pushed underneath. Overall I think this dress looks quite classy and I'm happy with how it turned out.

I considered doing victory rolls for my hair in the photos but it was late and I didn't have the energy so I just pinned my hair up in a way that looked vaguely 1940'sesque. I tried a couple of classic pin-up poses as well as the salute, yet I feel I look rather stupid in both. I certainly felt stupid doing it. 

See pics below

















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