Hot! Art Deco Love | Debi Fry


The Facts

Fabric: Superfine 120’s wool for jacket – £14, Viscose fabric for skirt and hat – £16, satin fabric from charity shop – £2
Pattern: Butterick 5156 from EvaDress ~$25 (approx. £16)
Year: 1933
Notions: Buttons — ~£6
Time to complete: 15 hours
First worn: January 2011
Wear again? OH YES!

Total Cost: ~£54 (part of the fabric was a birthday present!)


So the story goes something like this…

Girl falls  in love with boy.  Boy is already married, wife and daughter are understandably upset.  Daughter marries her lover and her lover divorces his wife because of their affair.  While daughter waits for her lover’s divorce, she runs off and has an affair with ‘the Italian’ (though she still marries her lover).

After daughter and her lover are married they announce their anticipated new arrival.  While boy (remember him–the father?) is celebrating with his family, girl learns she is also pregnant and saves boy’s moral position and political career by committing suicide in her airplane (oh yes, she is an aviatrix!)


Phew! Unrequited love? Most probably–with a whole lot of other emotions thrown in!  Luckily the outfits in this movie (Christopher Strong from 1933) are AMAZING.  And Butterick produced the outfit worn by Katherine Hepburn (one of her first roles) in their ‘Starred pattern’ series.

I got this pattern from EvaDress–which specializes in reproduction patterns.  I’ve had it in my stash for awhile and this challenge was just what I needed to get over my fear of what looked like a very complicated pattern to actually sewing it up and wearing it!

So how exactly does this pattern work (I asked myself that very same question when I started).  It starts with an underbody slip top attached to the skirt you see in the pattern (I made view A) which looks like this:


Then the jacket is separate and fits exactly with the lines of the skirt.  The jacket buttons twice (once with just the jacket body) and secondly with a scarf that makes the neat criss-cross design on the front.


Overall, I am very, very happy with this outfit.  I made the jacket out of superfine wool (my absolute favorite wool to sew with) and it has a very nice drape and was easy to hem.  I didn’t end up putting an opening in the sleeves and opted to make them tight and sort of wiggle them on over my hands.  I like the resulting look (and it was less work sewing-wise–sleeve openings are one of my least favorite things to finish).


I made the underbody top out of some cheap satin fabric that I got at a charity shop and made the skirt out of a nice viscose brown fabric (this also has fabulous drape).

I’m really happy I tackled this project.  It came out loads better then I thought it would and I’ll actually wear it out and about!  What do you think?

Check out more pictures and similar dresses from 1933 over on my blog this week.


Debi from My Happy Sewing Place

Debi Fry LOVES vintage patterns. She started sewing in 2009 and has been going since. In 2011, she participated in the Sew Weekly challenge and looks forward to the new challenges that lie in store!


Comments are closed.

  1. Wow! This is such a unique outfit, I love how it is fastened with the criss-cross on the front. The sleeves came up cute too without the openings. Looks like lots of work, congrats on finally attempting this wonderful pattern and making it work marvelously!

  2. Oooh, stunning! This will certainly turn heads. Such graceful lines.

  3. This is just beautiful! Such a unique pattern.

  4. Thanks Adey! I loved your outfit this week too! This was a very fun theme!

  5. Thanks Susannah! I plan on wearing it A LOT!

  6. Thanks for your lovely comment LizaJane!

  7. I’ve seen this style pattern before and have always wondered how it would come together and look in real life. Thank you for taking the plunge and sewing it! It’s unique and graceful and downright stunning. P.S. May I borrow your backdrop for my photo album? :)

  8. Ooh…Love at first sight!! I am buying that pattern this instant! Great job, it’s SO beautiful!

  9. Wow, great outfit! Love it. :) I wonder, how the skirt/dress looks without the jacket?

  10. This is a stunningly beautiful outfit, Debi! I gasped when I saw it! Wow! You have really outdone yourself on this one and you look utterly sensational!
    Incredible job! Fabulous photos! Awesome hairdo!

  11. WOW! Way to go lady – this is beautiful and the colors are so lovely on you!

  12. HOLY AMAZING! The jacket is absolutely incredible! I am leaving this comment and immediately looking to find the pattern so I can make one for myself!

  13. Thanks so much!! yes! the backdrop is fabulous–I love Scotland!

  14. Thanks Erica! And it’s surprisingly easy to put together–the jacket comes in one pattern piece (with the scarf as a separate piece)…they really knew how to draft these beautiful styles back then!!

  15. You could definitely make the underbody/skirt on it’s own. It’s a bit low-cut for my taste (though my husband LOVES it)…but it is a very flattering style! the pattern actually comes with another view that turns the underbody into a proper blouse (sans jacket)–I’ll have to try that one next!

  16. Thanks so much Sarah!! I was really excited about it too >’.’< I'll have to post some of the photos in the Sewing Through the Decades Challenge flickr group!!

  17. Thanks Sarah! I’m looking forward to seeing your creation tomorrow!

  18. FANTASTIC! It’s a fab pattern! Plus, EvaDress is currently having a competition…sew up one of their patterns and submit photos by March 15th and you could win $100 for more patterns!! Definitely worth checking out some of their patterns!

  19. stunning beyond words – I am amazed, how talented you are! jealous jealous jealous xx

  20. Congratulations Debi, it had turned out amazingly! I was really daunted just by looking at the picture, but you have made it by far more gorgeous than I could ever imagine!
    YAY! This is getting really fun! Loving Sew Weekly!

  21. So classy and unique, and you made the perfect fabric choices!

  22. Wow Debi, the outfit is just gorgeous! Congratulations! I’m a Fifties girl, but you’re making me think about searching for Thirties patterns…

  23. Thanks Ladies! Yes..the Sew Weekly is fun!

  24. Thanks Krissy–the lightweight wool is a dream to sew with!

  25. Hi Elle! you should definitely look for some 30’s patterns!! I was just looking at some 50’s patterns today! hahaha

  26. Oh this is great. The dress is amazing and beautiful, your hair is lovely and you look stunning.
    Here is what my husband said (he cares nothing for fashion or the blogs I read.) “Who is that?!” So I told him . . . “She made that dress?!” I told him yes and that it was a pattern from 1933 and he said “Well, yeah. . .” I told you this because in his way of saying all this and in even being interested I could tell he thought he was looking at a picture of some thirties movie star. It is a huge compliment.

  27. I love what your Husband said! You know, I can imagine the same from mine, and yes, it’s a huge compliment when they notice something in the sewing world!

  28. I am in love! That is wonderful!

  29. Oh! Thank you so much Sue! That is such a compliment!!

  30. Very chic indeed…love it!

  31. Wow! What an absolutely beautiful outfit – I would kill to have something like this in my wardrobe.
    I always struggle with 20’s and 30’s patterns to imagine what they will look like once made up, so I stay away. Having seen this, I think I need to reassess that!

  32. Wow!
    Love your background information (even though I’m confused w/ all the drama:)) which makes the dress even more droolworthy. You look stunning in your creation.
    Is superfine wool the actual name of a type of fabric? It is gorgeuous.

  33. That is absolutely amazing!! Beautiful!