The Fabric: Mystery fabric! I got this dark grey fabric at a charity shop and I would say it's some sort of viscose. It is very drapey but does not have the qualities of a knit fabric. Though you would normally think of grey as a boring colour, it is an excellent wardrobe staple. It goes perfectly with my Ness jacket, handmade belt and shoes! So, yay for grey!
This was a very tricky pattern to sew up with the fabric I chose. The yoke is attached by lapped seam from the shoulder edge, gathered and then sewn around the yoke circle to the other side. It can be quite tricky to capture the gathers while topstitching a lapped seam. I did make up a toile for the bodice in a similar drapey fabric just to see if it would be possible. It was possible, but not easy. Sewing a lapped seam on a drapey fabric that doesn't hold a fold very well is quite frustrating. Overall, I'm quite pleased with how the yoke came out given the type of fabric I used.
Let's talk about the buttons. I think my buttons may be a bit too large for the yoke. Putting so many buttons in such a small space was very tricky as well.
As with most of the 1940 McCall patterns I have, the waist seam is also a lapped seam. This is really difficult because it can be a bit of a blind stitch. It's very hard to see if you've got the seam straight. What I did was try the dress on again and again while it was pinned and when I thought it was good, then I just went for it! I have one small place right on the front of the dress where the bodice front is slightly twisted when attached to the skirt. You can see in the pictures that the it forms a bit of a fold across the waist area. I'm not too bothered about this as there is no way I could unpick this fabric to redo it without destroying the fabric and making a big mess. Anyways, it just looks like I've been dancing a lot and got my dress a little twisted...lol.
My favourite part of this dress? The way the shoulders fit and the sleeves. I was quite happy because I made the included shoulder pads and fit them into the dress as I sewed it up. I am also very happy with my sleeve placket and the attachment of the sleeve to the cuff. There's something about long-sleeves that is very elegant and very wearable (especially in Scotland!)
I hand sewed the hem and unfortunately the "invisible" stitches show through a bit, but I don't think it's too noticeable in person.
Overall, I would rate this pattern at an intermediate level. It took about 10 hours to sew up.
Here's a beautiful illustration from the Summer 1940 McCall Fashion Book (um, I really want a hat like that...in fact, I love the whole look of the light yellow dress with the brown and white accessories!):
Here's another description of the pattern, this time from the April 1940 McCall Advance Paris Styles Book:
Most of our shirtfrocks have long sleeves in one version, for long sleeves and three-quarter length sleeves are high style. But short sleeves are comfortable, cooler, quicker to make. The mass of spring dresses have them, so we include short sleeves too. This particular shirtfrock has softly tailored lines. Its shoulder yokes and bosom fronts are cut in one.If I was to sew this up again, I would...
- Choose a more stable, yet still drapey fabric like a synthetic linen, batiste, pique, etc., primarily because of the yoke gathers.
- Choose smaller buttons and would interline the button placket.
- Make the short-sleeved, peter-pan collar version! Wouldn't that version look great under a collarless jacket where the peter-pan collar peeked out above the jacket?
The 1940 McCall Project Rating:
I give this make 3.5 stars out of 4 for 1940 fabulousness. If I didn't have so many other fabulous dresses in my sewing queue, I could see making this one up multiple times!
David and I doing the fox-trot
I sense this dress will be a 1940 wardrobe staple for me! YAY!