Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Sew What?: My 1940's repro dress for under £2!

Now in recent weeks I have managed to buy myself a new sewing machine after MONTHS without a fully working, fully functioning last decided to give up on me during this project. I have since been squirrelling away with hand sewing for crafty projects and minor mends, but my pile of big vintage mends and makes had been growing and growing!

But on arrival of my new machine (thanks to Tesco who have been offering a voucher exchange on domestic electrical items, I managed to swap my £40 of clubcard points for £80 of vouchers off a sewing machine...hurrah!) I decided to undertake a project I've wanted to do for ages. I decided to remake a navy blue rayon 1940's dress I bought from ebay which was badly sun bleached and had damaged seams.

Here is a photo of the original dress. You can't actually see in this photo, but sadly the sun damage on the shoulders was beyond saving.

So, I set about remaking it in a fabric from my stash. The fabric I opted for is a beautiful navy blue moleskin type fabric with a bit of stretch, which I used for my graduate show menswear collection and had plenty of surplus. I managed to pick it up from a fabric stall on Dalston market for a ridiculously bargainous £1 per metre. And considering the price, it's very surprisingly NOT a horribly bad quality fabric at all.
The fabric itself was a dream to work with, and my new machine is just a glorious, beautiful beast of a machine.

I didnt want the buttons and zip to go to waste but luckily the fact that I used a navy blue fabric to remake it meant that I could reuse the original zip and decorative fabric-covered buttons on my remake.I like that my new dress has a couple of the original parts to it.This gives a coy little nod to it's direct descendant, the original dress,

Want to see the fruits of my labour?
No? Well, look away now because here I am, looking rather pleased with myself!


The dress has a pleated shoulder detail, and small pockets on the skirt which feature 3 little decorative buttons on each.

So what do you think? I am enormously pleased to have finally gotten around to remaking this dress, and the fact that I have used a fabric with a degree of stretch to it means that it is enormously comfy and I can hop, skip and jump (or just move around) to my hearts desire without the overriding fear of splitting a seam.
And, as this dress cost me only the fabric I used (which totalled under £2 in all), I'd say that it has been a very cost efficient project.

I think I shall be getting an awful lot of wear out of this 1940's repro beauty!

Pip pip xx


  1. Love it! And using the original buttons and zip is such a nice touch.

  2. Just beautiful! Well done. I'm a bit of a machine newbie (only managed cushion covers thus far!) so am enormously awed and proud of you!xXx

    1. Thank you sweetheart!

      If you are looking for a book to help you with sewing techniques and finishings on your first adventures into dressmaking, then you should have a look at the Singer Photo Guide to Sewing

      I found it very handy when starting out at uni, and still reference it even now!

  3. Flipping heck its just wonderful!!!

  4. Wow this is amazing, very talented x

  5. This is amazing. I am looking at doing some dress making over summer. Hope mine will look as good as yours! xx

  6. You clever lady... that's fantastic!! :) x

  7. SWOON!!!!!!!! Well bloody done you!

  8. hurrah! Well done, your skills saved a lovely dress and you're a super saver with all your clubcard points!

  9. Thank you ladies, I'm so pleased I managed to make use of that poor damaged dress, and that I now have a dress that I can wear lots without worry of damage!


Please leave me a comment, I'd love to hear what you beauties think.