Monday, February 7, 2011

1940s Dress Finished

Today - to celebrate the completion of my 1940s dress for the upcoming dance, I got all fixed up for a photo shoot.

I love my dress! It's from a super comfy, soft rayon challis print in green and white floral.
I love the swingy panel skirt and sash!

The shoes are brown leather mary janes by Candies. Not quite authentic 40s style, but close enough for short notice. :^)

This is the pattern I used. Dated 1940.
Only changes I made were to make the neck a V, leave off the pocket, and to have the skirt sewn together instead of buttoning. 

Vintage jewelry + red paper hair flowers from 32 Degrees North

Yesterday I washed my hair and put it into pin curls all over, and used a home-made setting lotion.
Worked very well! The curls turned out nicely, and were soft and managable, and not frizzy like I usually get! :^) The hairstyle (mostly) follows a style tutorial form the book Vintage Hairstyling. The recipe for the setting lotion came from here. I actually changed the recipe a bit, so here is my version of

Homemade Hair Setting Lotion
 1 Tb. flax seeds + 2 cups water
Boil in a sauce pan until gelatinous. About 10 minutes.
Should be about the consistency of egg whites. Pour through a strainer to remove seeds.
Store in a glass container in refridgerator.
When putting wet hair into pincurls or other curlers, get some of the flax seed mixture on your fingers and massage through the section of hair about to be curled.

I really like how it's so simple and natural. I really despise and try to avoid using chemical based hair products. 

The hairstyle conists of a pompadour in front, two french twists in back, some mini-twists at the temples, with all the ends of the curls piled up top.

Since I'm very new to sewing 40s, before I made a dress with the chosen green fabric - I 'practiced' with some other fabric.
The blue dress is a lightweight polyester suiting, and made from the pattern shown below:
The peach/yellow, whatever it is, dress is made from the same pattern as the green, and is also from rayon challis.

This pattern isn't dated - I'm guessing 1942-44.
Any other guesses?

I'm very happy with my 40s outfit, and am very much looking forward to the dance!


Sereina said...

Your dress is lovely, Atlanta! And I love your hair. Simply adorable!

Emily said...

Just darling! Don't ya hate how the drawings make those ladies have such skinny waists, though!? Nice work.

American Duchess said...

It's lovely! Very good job! And your hair and makeup is just perfect to go with the dress.

PrincessR said...

It is really cute, Atlanta! It seems very '40 ish. :) I really like the material and it looks nice on you. :)
Love you!

Kristin said...

Your dress turned out lovely! The whole outfit looks very authentic. :)

P.S. Thanks for the advice on the rayon challis for my 40s style dress. :) I tried a sample in the wash and it shrunk about one inch all around...I don't know if that's normal or not, but it made me nervous. :) So I guess I'll just wash it by hand.


NoirGirl said...

Hi! I'm thrilled to see you tried the homemade setting lotion, and even more thrilled to see the fabulous results you had with it!

This hairstyle is gorgeous - perfectly forties! I'm seriously impressed with your dresses, too. And you're sewing skills!

Best wishes,

Casey (aka NoirGirl)

Rowenna said...

Atlanta, you sassy lady! Looks gorgeous :) I'm feverishly working to finish the 40s dress I just started in time for a big swing dance this weekend--whee! Have fun at your dance!

Michaela said...

Oooh, just lovely, Atlanta! Excellent job. Where did you get your patterns??

Sarah said...

All these dresses are SO DELIGHTFUL! I cannot decide which one I like best as they are all so beautiful and look wonderful on you. I love the yellow one though! The color and style just put me in the mind for spring. Darling!

Your hairstyle is likewise just perfect! The red flowers are a great touch. The dance sounds like it will be a lot of fun and you definitely will be the belle of the ball. :)

Atlanta said...

Thank you so much everyone!

Michaela, the patterns came from an estate sale. My aunt bought me a whole box of them, and these were my favorites. :^)

Casey, - I'm so glad you posted about the flax seed recipe! I've also been using it just as a hair smoothing gel when I'm doing normal everyday styles with a side or center part. :^)

Bethany Lynn said...

So pretty!

Unknown said...

How lovely! I love your hair -- and I definitely want to try the flax hair setting lotion. :D Great job on the dress! You look beautiful! :D

Lilac Bud Gal said...

Aw, that is really cute!! Job well done, Atlanta! :) I think y'all will have lots of fun at the dance. Wish we could have gone!! Still, I am looking forward to lots of pictures. :) ;)

Love ya! Sarah

Beth said...

Lovely! I really like the green print you chose - it's perfect!
If you felt like it, you could hem the dresses a little shorter - it might look a little more youthful, and 40's hemlines were a little shorter due to fabric rationing. Totally personal preference though - just something to consider for the future.

Thanks for the setting lotion recipe! A LONG time ago a friend's grandmother told me they used flax seeds to make setting lotion, but I've never tried it. Now I'll have to!

Unknown said...

just gorgeous! i truly thought the first photo was your "inspiration" photo--not your actual photo!

Atlanta said...

Hi Beth,

thanks for the advice! :^) Actually, the skirt is quite a bit shorter in real life - for some reason it ended up looking longer in the pictures, which surprised me! (I guess mom was positioned above me when the pictures were taken or something....?)

Unknown said...

oh! i actually have both of these patterns but have never made them. they worked up BEAUTIFULLY! well done! did you make the size that they recommend for your measurements? i only ask because on modern patterns i measure out at the 16 but make the 8 and it always fits. wondering if youve found the same problem in modern or vintage patterns.

Atlanta said...

Hi Pren,

Great patterns! I like them both alot.

According to the size charts I should wear a size 16 exactly in 40s sizes. (Bust 34 Waist 28) But, these patterns were both size 14 ( bust 32, waist 27 or 26) and they both fit me about right with no changes. Even the bodice length was right - which is unusual because I am short waisted. So - yeah, I guess to a lesser extent vintage patterns also run a little large. :^)

Unknown said...

thanks so much for the info! you are just my size too and im totally short waisted so it is excellent to heat that these fit you so well. wonder what sizes i have?

Kellie said...

Oh, how sweet! Everything looks absolutely, perfectly retro!

I loved reading about your homemade hair gel adventures, as I have tried the same flax recipe with wonderful results. I was thrilled when I discovered this simple, natural solution, as I am in complete sympathy with your abhorrence of using chemical based hair products. ;)

Thank you for the lovely inspiration! And have a perfectly *wonderful* dance! =D


Miss Linda said...

These dresses turned out beautifully! You did a very nice job.

Rachel and Sarah said...

I just wanted to let you know how much I *love* this blog. Each post sounds like my dreams of great seamstress-y! :) Every time I come here (and though I don't technically "follow" it I read almost every post) I leave inspired to sew more, and lamenting the fact that I have inadvertently given the Black Spot to all my sewing machines and even Dad can't figure out what's wrong!
Thanks for keeping such an interesting blog! ~Rachel

Joanna said...

It looks great! I love your hair too. :-)

Atlanta said...

Rebecca and Sarah - I wish you guys were coming to the dance. Going to miss you lots! :^(

Rachel and Sarah - thank you so much for your kind comments! I'm so pleased that you enjoy my little scriblings! :^)

Rachel J said...

Great job!!! You look so beautiful and I LOVE your hairstyle!

Anna Faith said...

Love your Hairstyle!:)


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