This dress is so simple to put together that we can recommend it for beginners. the pockets fill up the entire side gores, their corners turn back. 5 sizes, 12 to 20. 45 cents.
-from the August 1940 McCall Style News
Blousing is the new word. Most dresses now have a certain amount of it, all around or just in back. It is all-around blousing for the rust dress. This is a "young lady" frock, one that juniors can wear as well as adults.
-from the August 1940 McCall's magazine
While this dress was indeed simple to put together, the amount of fun details on the dress make it seem more advanced. The blouse is gathered both at the neckline but also at the waist front. A set-in belt is sewn in on the waistline and the skirt and waist front are attached to this belt by lapped seams. I made the plain front version of the skirt, though the gathered one on version A is also very cute.
I graded this pattern up by 2 inches all around with the exception of the sleeves which I left at a B32 size. The great thing about grading up a multi-gored skirt is that all you had to do is add a bit to each seam allowance! Likewise, I added 1 inch overall to the blouse front and lengthened it about 1/2 inch and added just under an inch to the back (my back is narrower). I added the extra width in four places across the bodice front (for 1/4 inch in each section). It makes it easier to grade a pattern when there is a lot of gathers because you can just draw up the gathers more or less depending on what you need.
The back is fairly plain. The dress closes by a side zipper and a back neck opening. I used the three-quarter sleeves for this dress. They have a bit of gathering at the sleeve cap and are simply hemmed at the bottom of the sleeve. I had to insert both sleeves twice because I attached them inside out the first time (oops!). I even tried it on after I had basted the sleeves, determining that it looked good and then proceeded to stitch them up! Only after going to try it on again did I realize that the sleeves were on inside out! I blame the black fabric that looks the same from the inside as the outside and the fact that the seam was on the underside of the arm. Let's just say, I was very happy to get them back in the right way!
The best part of the dress was playing with the collar and pocket flap details. I got this adorable remnant of scottie dog fabric at the Urban Eccentric vintage store when I was in the States. I had about a half a meter. I carefully cut out the collar so that the Scottie dogs were roughly in the center of each collar. I also cut out the pocket flaps in the same manner. When I was constructing the pockets, I had a moment of panic when I thought my Scottie dogs would be upside down. So I cut out another set of pocket flaps. Turns out I was right the first time (lol) and they were in the right direction!
I found these Scottie dog buttons at Mandor's Fabric in Glasgow (which is also where I picked up the black wool/viscose fabric). Aren't they adorable? I also got these Scottie dog shoes from David for Christmas. I LOVE THEM. I don't think I've fallen in love with a pair of shoes so much (except maybe my Ness shoes) as I have with these ones. They are from Irregular Choice, a funky online shoe company based in the UK, and they have the perfect heel size for me. They are so comfortable too! I might have to save up for another pair!
This illustration is from the August 1940 McCall's magazine:
I also tried out the outfit with one of my favourite hats that I got awhile back from the Vintage Baroness herself (this is her etsy shop). It's a lovely black hat with a striking red feather! Definitely fits in with the 1940 look!
Overall, I give the pattern a four out of five stars but give the Scottie dress ensemble a solid five stars! I think I am going to wear this one A LOT!
By the way, ever wonder what a Scottie dog is called in Scotland? Turns out that Scots most commonly call them by the breed names (black ones are the Scottish Terriers and the white ones are West Highland Terriers), but they also use the moniker 'Scottie' dog here! As I'm delving into the year 1940 more, I'm discovering there was a love for all things Scottish! Looks like I'm well placed :)