Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sewing Retro Sun Dresses: 1930s and 1940s Vintage Styles

retro sewing

It is easy to sew a retro style sun dress. Vintage styles are sometimes hidden in modern patterns. Using contemporary commercial patterns has a few advantages: availability, fit, cost. For anyone who loves the 1930's and 1940's look, true vintage from that era can be fragile, valuable and difficult to fit. With some cute reproduction cotton prints, it's now possible to re-create similar styles to those sewn up and worn during the 30's and 40's.

These sundress patterns have a 40's vibe, with the simple cut and soft skirt. At first glance, these may seem to be alot like dresses from the 1950's. Probably the biggest difference between 1940's and 1950's sundress patterns are the softer skirts and shorter lengths in the 40's. The knee length skirts look better with the wedgie sandals worn then.

In revising these current patterns it's possible to get a cute retro look. The first style is ready to go, just shorten it to knee length. The center view could be made more retro looking with a simple white collar or adding bow where the little 'V' notch is in front. The third view has a 1930's vibe, with the higher waistline and flared skirt. By choosing a hem length appropriate to the time, you will have a sweet sun dress so like the ones you see in vintage movies.

Fabric selection is a breeze with the great reproduction cotton prints for sale. Although produced for quilts, these fabrics are very similar to the affordable cottons women used in that earlier era. Quilting cottons are also a great fabric for new sewists because they don't slip, stretch or act funny. Pre-wash any cotton fabric a few times to be sure it has shrunk before you cut out your pattern.

Trims such as contrast bias tape, bigger sized buttons and patch pockets are design features that can be added to really make these simple dresses unique and very retro. Try these trims and you will notice how vintage your dress can look.

Sun Dresses:
Simplicity 2174 - Princess seamline dress with pockets
Simplicity 3827 - Raised waistline with 'V' neckline
Vogue 8725 - Sweetheart neckline with halter neck tie

Nearly all of these vintage style cotton prints are from WINDHAM FABRICS 1930's and 1940's collection of cottons.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am looking to buy the S3827 Pattern. Can you help me please. My email is

Thank you, Regards Jodie