Sewing,  Vintage

I Made a … 1940s Vintage Dress Butterick B6485

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This 1940s vintage dress is actually a modern reprint of a vintage sewing pattern. I have been collecting these types of pattern for years and I decided that it was finally time to actually make one and I chose this Butterick pattern from 1944 for my first Youtube project video.

1940s Vintage Dress Video

Making the 1940s Vintage Dress

Preparing the Pattern Pieces

I had found the fabric in a local charity shop that specializes in craft supplies. A burn test told me that it was a blend, probably of rayon and polyester.

Vintage Green patterned rayon blend fabric

The pattern I used was Butterick B6485 and is available here*.

Butterick B6485

The pattern I used was Butterick B6485 and is available here*.

I traced my pattern pieces at a size 12. The only pattern adjustment I made was to take 3cms out of the lengthen shorten line as I am only 164cms tall and I find commercial patterns come out long in the body for me.

Tracing the sleeve

To cut out I used my angled Fiskars scissors*. These are great for slippery fabrics as you can keep the fabric much flatter as you cut.

Cutting out the pattern pieces

I always mark on all my sewing lines with tailor’s chalk as I find I get much more accurate results than simply matching the raw edges.

Marking on the sewing lines with tailors chalk

I also use tailor’s tacks to mark in all the notches and balances marks.

Adding the tailors tacks

Making Up the Dress

Making up the dress was quite a simple process. For more details you can watch my step-by-step project video.

I was really impressed by some of the construction details of this dress. In particular the faced yoke that is hand finished! For this I used a slant hemming stitch which I have a separate tutorial on here. 

Hand finishing the yoke with a slant hemming stitch

I also like the way the waist is shaped with the released pleats at the front but darts at the back. It’s these little details that really give it that vintage feel.

Changing the Neckline

The only thing I didn’t like was that the pattern called for a long, invisible zip down the centre back seam. Now I HATE centre back zips. I think they look really ugly but also are really difficult to do up on yourself.

I had intended to move the zip to the under arm seam. However, the close fitting neckline on the dress meant that I had to make the neckline opening bigger.

The deeper neckline that closes with a hook and eye

This alteration took a bit of faffing around to figure out but I am really pleased with the results. It also meant that I didn’t need to put a zip in at all! Horray!

The Finished 1940s Vintage Dress

All in all, I am really pleased with the finished result of this dress. The shoulder pads help to give it that strong 1940s silhouette and the drape of the fabric as well as the print are very true to 1940s vintage.

When I look at these finished photos there are some small things I would change if I made the dress again. I think it is slightly too big for me in the bust. As much as I like the blousey look, it is verging on unflattering. The sleeves could also do with a bit more ease at the hem as they are a little restrictive on the bicep.

Generally, I am impressed with this re-printed vintage pattern from Butterick. I know that this type of pattern is often redrafted so it isn’t exactly the same as the original and this sometime means the fit isn’t right. But in my experience this pattern gave a true 1940s silhouette and fitted relatively well.

There is A LOT of ease in this pattern but due to the blousey style that didn’t create a lot of issues. I think if I were to make a more fitted style of dress I would need to make more adjustments.

Have you made this pattern? I’d love to see some different takes on it!

Stay safe in these challenging times.

Claude x

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