Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

·1940s Polka Dot Dress·

The Yen girls got together with Gretel and me 2 years ago to dress up for a photoshoot all decked out in 1950s hair, clothes, and makeup. (Well, and to go out for ice cream, too...)  We all agreed that the experience begged to be repeated, and that we should dub it the "Decade Project"- each year we'd get together and dress up from the preceding decade!  Alas, I foiled all of our grand plans for 1940s in the summer of 2012 by being out of state from the beginning of June through the end of October.  When the spring of 2013 rolled around, my schedule got packed up quickly, but this time I was determined to make it happen, no matter what!! 

Personally, I've never been a fan of 1940s fashion.  The shoulders are so boxy, the skirts so short and un-twirly, the necklines so high, the bodices so uninteresting, the forced rationing so evident.  In short, I don't like it.  Honestly, one of the motivating factors to have the 40s photoshoot a success was the thought of doing 1930s next year. ;-)  Since I had 2 years to get my plan of action in place, I worked hard to convince myself that I liked the 40s.  After all, there had to be ONE dress in 10 whole years that I liked- right??  Over the past year, I've started falling in love with 40s hairstyles, so that helped matters.  Eventually, I decided to use a vintage polka-dotted cotton that I was given from the stash of an elderly woman a few years ago.  It had been saved carefully and lovingly for a darling project, but I never had the perfect idea for it.  There was the exact amount for a 40s dress, and I figured that since a polka-dotted dress is impossible to despise, it made the ideal choice. ;-) 

This project is a testament to how much I'll do for my friends.  So Tara- I hope you realize how much I went through for you. ;-)

I used Butterick 5281 since I despise jewel necklines, and this was sufficiently non-jewel-y and yet "40s".  I ran into some really odd fitting issues with the shoulders and sleeves and ended up taking the shoulders up 2 inches.  Part of the problem could be that I didn't use shoulder pads (although the pattern never called for them), but 2 inches is really excessive for even that!

The pattern had enough unique detailing for me to be satisfied, and it helped me to be slightly more reconciled to the 40s.  Who knows- I could end up even liking the decade eventually! ;-)

Great use for this vintage belt buckle from the stash!

I love the details like the triple elbow darts and the vintage button accent!

My super-exciting thrift store find in TX- 40s style shoes for $1.25!! :-)

My latest obsession- vintage luggage.  So glad we had the perfect opportunity to take advantage of my growing collection! :-)
Decorative seaming on the skirt, and pleats on the right shoulder.

All things considered, it was a great challenge!  I now have a deeper appreciation for the 40s and I'm MUCH more likely to make another 40s dress. :-)

Keep an eye on Kathryn's blog for pictures of the 4 of us! :-)


  1. Ah, wonderful! And those gloves... I love them! :)

  2. Heeeee! These pictures make me happy! And I'm happy that you are half way to loving the 40s.... because I love the 40s.... and I feel it is important that we should agree on this important issue. Or something like that. :-P
    As to the dress, it's adorable. And I really would not have expected an adorable dress out of that pattern - I never liked it on the pattern cover! This seems to be a trend with dresses in your house... :-)

  3. I really dislike the war years in the 40s for the reasons you listed but I really like 1948 and 1949. It's right after the New Look began but before it had completely filtered down into everday fashions. The skirts are longer and fuller and just more attractive to me! You might try these years for your next 40s project.

  4. You look like you walked right out of the '40s! And I'm so jealous of your hair - HOW in the world did you get it to look like that???

    The photos are beautifully staged - what a talented photographer.

  5. You pulled the whole look off beautifully, Lily :) Nicely done!

  6. "...a polka-dotted dress is impossible to despise..." Too true! :D I just love it! Though I am fond of the 40s, personally.

  7. I both realize and appreciate everything you went through for me. :) You're the best!!

    And no matter if you dislike the '40's era, you still look stinkin' cute in it!!

    And now it's *my* turn to return the favor, as I dislike 1930's.... ;)

    P.S. My hat sure looks cute on you...

  8. Stephanie, I've been looking through our Sears' Everyday Fashions book, and the '48-'49 designs really are inspiring! I think I'll have to do some for fall/winter wear. :-)

    Rebecca, Haha! I'm glad you like the hair! My hair and I have an uneasy truce at the best of times, so I'm a little too emotionally involved to like it that well. ;-) The front is done in victory rolls- one on each side. It's become my new go-to style, just with the back rolled up instead of left down. The back is hot-rollered and then hairsprayed within an inch of its life. ;-) And yes, I do have an extraordinarily talented photographer. :-)

    Tara, your hat really does "make" the whole outfit! I truly need to make my replica soon!



Copyright © 2013 Mode de Lis . All rights reserved. | Designed by