Thursday, April 4, 2013

McCall 3678: The Famous Hooded Princess Dress

Photo taken by Sofia at our fabulous blogger meet-up in London 

I'm still catching up on all my 1940 McCall makes and my absolute FAVE so far has been McCall 3678, a.k.a. 'The Famous Hooded Princess Dress'.  It's definitely in my top five 1940 McCall patterns!


According to the April 1940 McCall Advance Paris Style booklet:
"There are three things here of utmost fashion importance--the hood, shown on a dress for the first time, the big pockets, which you see everywhere, and (view B) the return of the fly closing.  Not only is this princess dress smart in light-weight wool with its hood lined with printed crepe, but it's being made all of print, too.  The hooded printed dress is something as new and as fresh as tomorrow morning.  No. 3678  Sizes 12-20. 50 cents"
I do wonder if this was the first hooded dress pattern to appear?  It definitely started as a trend in 1940.  I haven't yet run across any 1939 or earlier hooded dress patterns....

McCall 3678 is also the lead illustration in the April McCall's Magazine:


The April magazine has this to say about McCall 3678:
"One Important Thing about spring dresses is--hoods.  Look at the princess dress on this page, No. 3678.  We show this dress in summery white to make sure that everyone understands that hoods have nothing to do with winter.  Hoods are not to keep the ears warm, not even to shade the eyes, not to preserve the finger-wave, but just for style. They are now a big spring and summer fashion!"
This really makes me want to make a white summery version of the hooded dress!

To say that I adore this pattern would be an understatement!  It's perfect in every way.  The princess seams make the dress fit beautifully but also make it incredibly easy to grade up (which I did for this pattern).


Another reason I love the pattern is it is brilliantly drafted.  Look at how it drapes!  The soft back folds are amazing and I love how the front hangs as well.  I also LOVE pleated sleeve caps.  Ahhhh...all my favourite things in one pattern!

I made the dress up in a stretch gabardine fabric that is the perfect weight for most of our Scottish weather!


The hood is really easy to construct and line (it's the only part of the dress that is lined).  I used a union jack lining fabric to give a bit of a fun surprise to the lining and pocket flap.

This dress often gets mistaken as a coat--which took me by surprise once at airport security when they asked me to take my coat off.  Ooops.  I did explain it was a dress and the security person look really embarrassed (phew)!  This could, however, be made into a coat very easily. I do love the button down version but also want to try the fly closing version (view B).

Ok, you might see me making more iterations of this dress.  I do love it so!  And all the polka dotted versions in the illustrations are so adorable....maybe another dress for summer?


Did you know hooded dresses were all the rage in 1940?  I think it's a trend we should bring back....it's incredibly useful (even if it is only for style) :-)

37 comments:

  1. I've never seen anything like that. It's beautiful.

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  2. I can certainly see why you love it. The pleats at the back are gorgeous. I haven't seen a dress with a hood before.

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  3. I love the shape of this dress, it's so flattering. I love the drape of the skirt :)

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  4. Love it!!!!!! The princess silhouette is sooo flattering and the hoodie is awesome.

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  5. Gorgeous coat - well done! It's interesting to hear about the pattern as well. Who knew the hood was a fashion accessory?

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  6. What a gorgeous dress! I agree, let's bring back hooded dresses, they're fantastic in every way!

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    1. I agree!! Viva le hooded dresses!!

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  7. i've been looking for a copy of this pattern for ages now! no luck so far, you look great in the dress!

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    1. I'll keep my eyes peeled for you!

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  8. It is a beautiful dress and fits you very well. Ted was very taken by it when we met you a couple of years ago! Can't wait to see your new version, especially if you do decide on a polka dot lining it will look wonderful.

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    1. Awwwww.... That was so much fun!!

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  9. It's a Little Red Riding Hood dress (in a good way!). I've never heard if a hooded dress before, but it's lovely! Really unusual (again a good thing!).

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    1. I just want to add the same about Little Red Riding Hood! Very lovely dress!!

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  10. oh my frigging god, i want that dress! it's totally a little red riding hood and cute and quirky and perfect, and you look adorable in it.. why it never struck my mind to add a hood to a dress?

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  11. This really is a beautiful dress/pattern and thanks so much for sharing all the fascinating historical tidbits and information. Who would have thought that hoods started as a trend way back then...people were so cool and it reminds me of how uncool we are really ;o) Your comment about airport security asking you to remove your 'coat' is absolutely hilarious by the way!!!

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  12. *Dies* This is so gorgeous! And you wear it so well.
    Just glamorous, darling, glamorous!

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  13. I love that little hood :) It fits you so well! Beautiful!

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  14. How cool! I had no idea that hooded dresses were a trend! Thanks for sharing-- this really is a special dress! But oh! The airport security story! That's too funny!

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  15. It's lovely! Who knew hoods could be so chic! You look amazing in it too.

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  16. Definitely an improvement on today's 'hoodies'! I remember this so well and who would have thought that 2 years have already passed by ....

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  17. I wish you would make more of these! It is easily one of my favorite dresses you've ever made, and since I'm HIDEOUSLY jealous that you have the pattern and I don't, I think it's only fair that you make multiples so I can at least look at pictures of them, yeah? :)

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  18. I had no idea that people wore dresses with hoods! It does look a bit like a coat, but I just love it as a dress and I think it looks so amazing on you. One of the things I'm currently in love with is vintage styles that when made look completely modern and I think this one succeeds in that, at least for me. (Er, not that I don't love the vintage because I do.) Anyway, fantastic job and I look forward to learning more about 40s styles that I apparently knew nothing about!

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  19. I absolutely love this dress!! I thought it was a coat at first too, LOL. I can't wait to see how many more you make!

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  20. Okay this is definitely my favorite thing you've ever sewn! SO CUTE!!!! I'd love to get my hands on that pattern. (I'll have to lurk eBay and see if I can find it.) The fabric you used is brilliant and I just can't get over the cuteness! Who doesn't love a dress/jacket/hood?!

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  21. Hahaha okay my first thought when I saw this was "I'll bet airport security people would think it was a coat." And lo and behold, I am correct. Seriously, though, I love this dress! I think it's so great that you made it up in such an eye-catching red, and those skirt drapes are gorgeous. Thanks for letting us know that hooded dresses are even a thing!

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    1. I hadn't even thought of it when I wore it to the airport!! Teehee

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  22. This is a lovely dress, it looks great on you. I have never seen a hooded dress pattern before. Love the illustration of the pink and grey one.

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  23. This is so amazing! I love the idea of a hood on a dress - definitely something "new" for today's fashion :) I am totally on board for bringing it back!

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  24. This is beautiful!! I agree that the drape is gorgeous!

    Also, you fly looking this fantastic!?!?! No wonder the agent was confused!! ;o)

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  25. Oh my gosh this amazing! I hope that I can find a pattern like this. You are so talented and look beautiful! I just found your blog, wonderful! :)

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  26. It's SO good to see this dress featured again, it's definitely one of my faves! I even bought a 40s dress pattern with hood after I saw your version but mine's more a shirtdress with hood. You never cease to inspire me with your 40s makes:) I hope to sew that up soon but can't seem to finish sewing my long list of priorities. *sigh*

    Love to see other versions of this lovely pattern sewn up, go for it! Hugs

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  27. This is amazing! I've searched all over the Internet but I can't find a copy for me to buy! :-(
    I would like to make this out of raincoat fabric and have a gorgeous raincoat dress!

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  28. Absolutely fabulous and you wear it beautifully. I have been to Scotland only once, when I visited my friends in Nottingham and we traveled north, visiting Bamburgh castle and then made a trip into Kelso, Scotland. My uncle was born in Hollytown, Scotland.

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I read each and every comment--thank you so much!

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