1944 Cocktail Dress

1944 Cocktail Dress

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Part Number:F1449
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Sized to fit a 36 Inch Bust, 39 Inch Hip - This 1940s reproduction sewing pattern features a dress with tight gathering at the neckline, and short cap sleeves, or bracelet sleeve options.  Skirt may be made plain, with center front jabot, or with gathered peplum.

SUGGESTED MATERIALS:    Crepe, Silk, Rayon, Voile, Heavy Cottons

42 Inch Wide Material                                              2 Yards
39 Inch Wide Contrast Material For Bow             1/4 Yard


42 Inch Wide Material                                         2-3/4 Yards


54 Inch Wide Material                                         2-1/2 Yards


9 inch zipper
Shoulder pads

5 Stars
1940s Cocktail Dress--Perfect for Dancing!
The final piece looks amazing! With the darts fitting the back and the shoulder pads, the silhouette is really authentic—which you’d expect from a reproduction! If you're not too confident about vintage sewing, this is a great place to start--between the step-by-step instructions and the clearly marked pattern, it was very hard to go wrong. First off, the pattern and instructions came in a heavy-duty ziploc, printed on high-quality paper. Very clear markings and easy to read. Given that I paid the same for this pattern as I would have for, say, a Vintage Vogue pattern bought at the local JoAnn's, the quality is astounding. I chose to make the short-sleeved version, with the side-bow using an eggplant-colored polyester crepe. I finished this project in several sessions, but it could easily be done in one day's worth of sewing. The one major change I made: The original calls for the gathers at the front neckline to be pulled into a circle--so you'll have a little dot of skin peeking through both sides. I wasn't too fond of that, for some reason, so made the gathered circle slightly smaller, pulled it closed, and added vintage-esque post earrings (a bit of hot glue daubed on the inside ensures they won't fall off). I had hardly any issues with the dress. The only thing that went majorly wrong was that, inexplicably, the self-belt was about two inches too short. The dress waist fit fine, even a touch loose, but the belt was way shorter than the dress waist--either I cut wrong, sewed something goofy, or the pattern is just a touch off. No biggie--I just added an extension that goes under the bow-floof so it's not even visible. Also, with the thin fabric, I wish I'd added some interfacing to the front and back facings. They have a tendency to flip a bit more than they should, probably because the fabric is very thin and flimsy. Highly, highly recommended!
Did you find this helpful?  7 of 8 Found Helpful
Reviewed by:  from Indiana. on 2/14/2011
5 Stars
1940 Cocktail Dress
If you fear the unmarked vintage pattern, this is a great opportunity to work with a "vintage" pattern that has everything marked out for you. The instructions are easy to follow for anyone with a little vintage pattern sewing experience. Keep track of your seam allowances! This pattern uses ½” seam allowances for most of the seams, but there are a few exceptions. Just keep referring back to your pattern (VPLL gives you a nice dotted line to follow on all edges as well as written seam allowances) and you will be fine. Also, be aware that the fabric layout is for a no-nap fabric. I was worried that my sueded rayon had a bit of color change when turned upside-down, so I used a single direction layout, and I used my entire 3 yards of fabric (the suggested amount is 2.75 yards for this view). I also had to cut my belt in two pieces instead of one as the pattern pieces suggest. In other words, I would purchase more fabric than recommended! I especially like that this pattern includes three different views that can create three very different looks. I also love the gathered cut-outs that pull in the neckline. However, they are a bit tricky to accomplish - make sure you are using strong thread! The gathers would be especially difficult if you use a heavier weight fabric (this is making me re-think my idea to make a short sleeve version in velvet). Also, the sleeve is cut very long. The elbow dart is about an inch below my elbows, so look out for that dart. There are quite a few special vintage touches in this pattern. Topstitching is suggested for sewing the shoulder seams, and I have never seen a gathered neckline like this in any contemporary pattern. The cascade addition to the skirt front is lovely, but be aware that the wrong side of your fabric may show. I would recommend a hand rolled hem. I will definitely be sewing this one again - with short sleeves, in a patterned fabric, with the added peplum - the possibilities are endless.
Did you find this helpful?  7 of 8 Found Helpful
Reviewed by:  from Novato, CA. on 12/15/2010

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