The 1940’s are one of my favorite eras for fashion. I love when details in garments reflect current events. When the men were off at war and women were running factories and workplaces, garments for women began to incorporate masculine details into traditionally feminine shapes. The collar and strong shoulder of Sew Over It’s 1940’s Wrap Dress are lovely examples of this process. This dress pattern is a lovely representation of the 1940’s.
I have had this pattern for over a year and was always intimidated by it. So silly! It came together so well. I learned a couple new techniques along the way. While this crepe was a little challenging to work with, the print and color palette paired perfectly with the pattern for a very 1940’s vibe.
The 1940’s Wrap Dress by Sew Over It is a modern pattern. It’s contemporary take on the popover or hooverette of the 1940’s. It’s a versatile pattern featuring a front-only shawl collar, shoulder pleats, A-line skirt and pointed waistband with two sleeve and hem length options. I chose the longer skirt and short sleeves.
The bodice and skirt are neatly gathered into the waistband at the front and are shaped with darts in the back. The inside waistband and bias bound inner collar create a neat finish. The instructions were clear and concise, though I chose to use other methods at times.
The pattern recommends a medium weight drapey fabric. I had bought two cuts of viscose online hoping one of them would be suitable, but sadly, both options were too thin to hold the pleats, darts and gathers. Luckily the Stoffen Spektakel was in town in May and I got to go stroke so many beautiful fabrics. There I found this lovely, very 1940’s style crepe. (I have seen some other colorways are available at Sew Over It.)
The print and color palette are very 1940’s but not so much so that it’s unwearable. The crepey texture holds the pattern nicely. There’s a little bit of stretch, but it sewed up beautifully thanks to my walking foot! I can’t believe I have sewn so many tricky fabrics without it. Never again!
I can’t lie, I took some shortcuts when sewing this dress – some of I’m really happy about, others not as much. I didn’t finish the insides, which isn’t typical for me. Since I really wanted to take this dress on my trip, I rushed through that step and I’m a bit disappointed about it. I suppose I can still go back and zigzag the raw edges.
A couple shortcuts worked really well for me though. Firstly, I sewed the sleeves in flat instead of setting them in as instructed. It’s much faster and I haven’t noticed a difference in how it wears. Maybe I’m missing something? The other shortcut I took was using purchased bias binding and skipping the hand sewing. Instead of hand stitching the bias binding to the inside, I flipped the collar open and top stitched it down. The stitches are still invisible on the front since the collar hides them. I don’t mind the visible top stitching on the back neck.
My biggest celebration was learning to use the walking foot. I tried it once before without success and quickly gave up. I’m so happy I tried it again! It was a good reminder that I shouldn’t give up on methods and techniques that don’t work out the first time.
Pattern: Sew Over It 1940’s Wrap Dress
Fabric & Notions: 2.9 Meters medium weight drapey fabric
Design Modifications: None
Fit Alterations: Added 2cm to centerback
Future Plans: Probably not. While I really love this dress, it’s a little on the dressier side for me.
I really enjoyed making this dress. I was grateful for how well it came together. After sewing a couple projects where I struggled with fit and technique, it was nice to have a win. I love this dress dressed up, but I’m not really sure how much daily wear I’ll get out it. I’m going to test it out a bit more before I decide or make any changes to the dress. I’m wondering if removing the sleeves would make it feel more casual? Or maybe I’ll keep it for special occasions. Either way, I loved exploring the 1940’s and love this dress!
Thanks for reading! I’m excited to wrap up this vintage inspired series with a 1970’s style wrap dress next month. Stay tuned!