Hot! Another Philomena, Another Quest

Grandma c. 1947

Lauren's post about her quest to recreate her grandmother-(in-law)'s* dress has led me to want to recreate the dress seen in the photo to the right. That's my grandmother and based on the age of her son in another picture, it should have been taken around 1947 or 1948. I'd probably date the dress/pattern a few years earlier, however. I don't know if it's a handmade or a store-bought dress, but I figured that there's probably a pretty close facsimile in existence. I could always ask my grandmother, but I know she wouldn't know the pattern number if it was indeed handmade. My guess is that it's store-bought since the belt looks to be leather and matches the sleeves. Still, it's worth a try.

Does anyone have a clue whether there's a pattern out there that fits the bill? I've searched for sash waist and two-tone collars, but no luck. 

*The title of this post refers to my grandmother's name — which also happens to be my name as well. But that's not the other Philomena I'm referring to. The name of the grandmother from Lauren's post happens to also be Philomina.


Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.


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  1. Hello! I just discovered your blog through Casey’s Musings and I feel super inspired by your goal to finish a dress or piece per week! I love all the dresses you made already and I look forward to what you plan to create in the future. Your grandmother’s dress is lovely and quite unusual! I like the matching belt-scarf and the shoulder things! I actually made a goal to try finish a dress per month since I’m slow and terrible at sewing, but even that seems a bit hard for me.

  2. Hi!
    First of all, I really love your blog SO MUCH! This is such a wonderful idea, and I’m really inspired by your challenge and excellent idea for a blog. How lovely!
    If it’s ok, I’ll post a link to my blog as well and maybe some more girls can help out on the pattern quest!

  3. Hey Lauren,
    It’s totally okay to post a link! Thanks for commenting since you’re the original inspiration. Oh, and I love your patterns, by the way.

  4. Mel — you can do it! I’m going to start a community component to this site soon and that should be a good place to keep people motivated.

  5. Hi Mena,
    I found this blog through Casey’s Elegant Musings as well. I used to read Sew Wrong back in the day, and I’m happy to find you’re back sewing!
    I’m very inspired by your project. I am short and short-waisted, so off the rack clothes rarely fit me. Plus, the quality is usually terrible (what I can afford, anyway), so I’ve been sewing clothes here and there for the last few years. It’s taken me a while to get the hang of fitting, and I am still really slow (one outfit a week is impressive!), but it’s very satisfying.
    I look forward to watching your progress and learning lots from this blog. Thanks for posting about your project for all of us to read!

  6. Wow, what an amazing project! You have been added to my reader so I can keep up with you!

  7. Just found your blog, and I love the vintage dresses (If only I were a skilled seamstress). I might be able to offer a suggestion about your pattern. If it was right after WWII, it might have been a mended dress. Because of clothes rationing, many women had to creatively mend clothes, and the shortage of fabric meant that there were a lot of two tone solutions. For instance, if the seams at the armpits were shot, the recommendation was to unpick, add in new fabric in a complementary pattern, trim the old sleeves and attach. Then the recommendation was to add in a belt or pocket in that fabric to make it look purposeful.
    Keep up the wonderful work!