This is my first 1940 McCall evening gown pattern. I knew the moment I saw this pattern that I was inspired by View A...the dashing red tropical print:
I knew I wanted to wait for the perfect fabric for this dress. Something with great drape that could transition from the beach to a nice dinner party. I think I found a match made in heaven. I used a lightweight floral cotton fabric that sews like a dream (from Mandors Fabric Edinburgh).
The bodice front is gathered down the centre with a stay attached behind the gathers to hold them in place. The bodice waist makes a nice v-shaped line and is attached with a lapped seam over a gathered skirt. The open back is also in a v-shape:
The straps are pleated in the front and attached to the upper bodice back. I made several significant alterations to the pattern. First, I didn't keep the back opening. The original pattern closes at the back with a series of small buttons and button loops. I think if I was doing the evening gown version, I would have kept that design...but in the more casual version, I knew it would drive me crazy. So I sewed the back bodice seam closed and inserted a side zipper instead.
I ended up moving the shoulder straps about an inch towards the center. I also took up the skirt by about an inch and shortened the back bodice piece by about half an inch.
The dress pattern is featured in the September McCall's magazine with this description:
McCall 3865: Wide straps are the smart ones now. The blue evening frock with these new wide straps, is also important for its pretty bodice cut in heart shape. The skirt fulness is slight, it goes perfectly with the bodice fulness and in rayon jersey it adds nothing to the hipline.This dress is incredibly comfortable! I can't wait to go somewhere tropical in it. The weather in Edinburgh this summer has been almost tropical and we took a walk out on a beautiful day with the sun shining through the trees:
What can I say? This pattern is indeed the bright side of day and night!