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August 7

A Perfect 1940’s Dress

Perfect – as in the perfect design.  Not that my dress is perfect… not yet anyways.

Recently, I bought Hollywood Pattern 1103.

Hollywood 1103

It’s everything I want in an easy, breasy summer dress: cut on sleeves, tie waist, swingy skirt, shoulder gathers (no darts) & a matching bolero to boot!  What’s not to love?!

I just happened to be at the fabric store one day when I found a silk crepe I’d had my eye on for over a year that was marked down.  You bet I snagged that puppy up.  I bought a whopping 4 yards since at the time I wasn’t sure what I’d make with it.  Then I bought Hollywood 1103 and it was a match made in heaven.

But… that fabric is for the next post.  Not wanting to use my lovely silk for a first-time dress, I went and made it up with another lovely fabric, a pinky red linen-rayon blend.

Hollywood 1103 Dress

These pictures turned out really bright.  The fabric is indeed bright, but not quite neon & glowing like it appears.

Linen-rayon blends are now in my top 5 favorite fabrics of all time.  The rayon content helps the linen stay a bit wrinkle free & gives such lovely drape & movement to any garment.  (If you’re in Chicago, you can find this red at Vogue on Roosevelt Rd. in the Summer Specials section.)  I should know… I made a skirt with it first.  Then went back for more of it for this dress.  (I may even still have a bit more in my stash… it’s that good!  How I wish they had more colors.)

Hollywood 1103 Dress

While I like this dress, it’s not 100% perfect yet.  There is much to much ease in the bodice at the waist.  I thought the belt (or tie belt) would be sufficient but it borderlines on the frumpy to me.

Hollywood 1103 Dress

I think this design/and my narrow shoulders would be much benefited by some small shoulder pads also.  I really don’t care for shoulder pads, but with the cut on sleeves – I feel like my shoulders look really rounded.  (Either that or I shorten up the sleeves a bit more.)

All this doesn’t stop me from wearing this dress, as I’ve worn it 3 times in the last 2 weeks.

Hollywood 1103 Dress

I just feels so lovely on.  Unfortunately, its now in the hamper and I can’t wear it till it’s clean again.

After much consideration, after I wash it up (pending shrinkage), I think I’m going to take it in at the side seams.  The top is a bit too billowy and I’ve been adjusting my belt like crazy every time I wear this.

Hollywood 1103 Dress

I paired my dress with my new bunny belt and my flea-market necklace find.  It was only $1 – doesn’t get better than that for a vintage glass beaded necklaces.

Normally I’d be pairing this dress with white instead of black accessories – but it’s what I had on hand.  My wardrobe & accessories are quite limited at the moment since most of my items are still packed up in boxes.  It’s a good exercise in making do.  :D

Guess what?  I think this may be the first sewing project I’ve posted all year!  Can you believe it?!  While this isn’t the first sewing project I’ve completed this year – it’s just the first one  I managed to get photographed.

I’ve been doing a ton of knitting since it’s much easier (and less dusty) than me working in my sewing room.  But I’ve been sewing much more lately and have even written up myself a fall/late summer sewing plan.  I’m stoked to get started on it.

Stay tuned for the wonderfulness that will be version #2 in silk crepe.  (It just needs it hem and photographs now.)  Woot!

Who else has worked with linen-rayon blends?  Love them too, yes???  :D

  1. Sarah / Aug 7 2014

    I ADORE linen/rayon blends! I have made two pairs of wide leg trousers from them and I have a circle skirt in the queue. It’s such a great fabric – breathable, lovely drape, and easy to wear. Your dress is stunning and I particularly like the bunny belt :)

    • Liz / Aug 7 2014

      Oh! Trousers would be wonderful, Sarah. You may have just set in motion another fabric store trip for me to get *more* of this wonderful fabric. heh

  2. Jenny / Aug 7 2014

    OMG! Where did you get that belt? It’s adorable! :)
    Love the dress. I haven’t worked with linen-rayon blends yet. I guess I’ll have to give it a try!

    • Liz / Aug 7 2014

      I got the belt at anthropologie. Sadly it seems it’s no longer available online.

      I’m always on the hunt for cute bunny accessories & my hubby got this for me, for my birthday this year.

  3. Annabelle / Aug 7 2014

    I wouldn’t say this dress looks frumpy on you, I think the bright color and lovely neckline really work for you. However, I do see some extra fabric in the bodice that could be taken out. Once that is corrected (which I assume you have done with version 2) it is going to be a perfect 1940’s dress.

    I have never come across a linen rayon blend, but I think I must hunt it down now. I love rayon (aside from cutting it out), and wish I could find more rayon blends.

    • Liz / Aug 7 2014

      Well… I can’t say I reduced the bodice on #2. heh It’s already cut and assembled. I did take out about 1″ of ease at the waist and it feels much better.

      It’s a fine line for me between ‘blousey’ and ‘frumpy’ – I found it quite the challenge not to take this a fitted bodice in the muslin stage. (Overdid it with the pink.) Hopefully the silk one looks as good as it feels, while on.

      • Annabelle / Aug 7 2014

        You are an expert sewist who always makes beautiful things. I’m sure whatever adjustments you made are the right ones.

  4. M-C / Aug 7 2014

    I have the same shoulders. Shortening the sleeves a bit, so they form a line that’s diagonal rather than horizontal, will make a very satisfying difference :-).

    • Liz / Aug 8 2014

      Thanks for the tip M-C. I’ll give that a go.

  5. SimpleFibreLife / Aug 7 2014

    Ooo. Such a fabulous dress. I like it with the black accessories. That belt is too fantastic!

  6. Lisette / Aug 9 2014

    OMG, linen-rayon is a godsend. It is possibly my favorite fabric ever. So next time I come visit we can wear matching 40s neon-pink dresses haha!

  7. Lisa / Aug 11 2014

    The perfect 40s dress actually needs the perfect 40s bra – we were built differently back then!! I’ve seen a couple of blogs with “build your own” versions so take a look out there… The rayon mix looks great and if you see some of the colours in the old movies you’d say we were far more conservative in our colour schemes today! Let us know how newer/next versions go. I did a blouse from a 40s genuine pattern and found exactly the same issues as you have on this dress – chest and waist just don’t fit us right today…

  8. Akram Taghavi-Burris / Dec 4 2015

    I actually have this pattern and am excited to see how it looks as a completed project. I love the look and while it might need some fitting fixes I think it looks really good on you.

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