Hot! The ‘Lady of the Lake’ Dress | Debi Fry

The Facts

Fabric: 2.5 metres polyester print fabric £9
Pattern: McCall 3228
Year: c.  1939
Notions: 1 metre white rose trim £3, black zipper from stash £0.05, pearl buttons from stash (free) and pearl belt buckle £2 from etsy and vintage belt (recovered with matching fabric) from charity shop £1

Time to complete: 13 hours

Wear again? YES!

Total Cost: ~£15

One of the things about participating in Me-Made-June this month is that I realised I need more long-sleeve dresses (even in summer).  I thought this week's challenge would be the perfect opportunity to make a summer weight long-sleeve dress in a colour palette that I don't often wear.  Like Mena, I didn't have any black and white fabrics in my stash (that aren't wool).  I also thought this was the perfect challenge to experiment with a fun print.

I used McCall 3228, a pattern from 1939 because: 1. It had nice long billowy sleeves, 2. It could handle a busy print, and 3. I really liked the option of adding the neck trim.  I opted for view A (though view B would be really fun to make too!).  This dress zips on the side in addition to having buttons on the front.  It also features a 'blouse effect' that was a popular feature of late 1939/1940 patterns in that the top is made to look like a tucked in blouse.

Here's a view of the back where you can see the 'bloused' effect:


I tried a lot of new things with this dress. I added a really cute rose trim at the neckline:


I first sewed on the trim (which came on netting) with the roses facing down.  Then I flipped the roses up and then sewed the neckline facing to cover the netting on the other side.  I really like how it turned out:

This dress also has a pleat and two pockets on the front.  You can sort of see the front pockets in this photo (though it's hard with the print fabric):


I also have a hat that goes perfectly with the dress.  It's a sweet late 40's hat with white feather details:  DSC02746
For this dress, I also repurposed a vintage belt.  I often find really cheap belts in charity shops.  I look for homemade ones that have buckles without prongs.  I found this one for £1:

I cut off the buckle and then covered it with my fabric and put on the belt buckle I had.  It worked great! I had no problems sewing the fabric onto it (I believe it's from one of those buckle kits).

Here's a close-up of the belt and also my cuffs (I'm really proud of the cuff opening and link buttons):

Overall, I am quite pleased with the dress.  I love how it feels and it is quite comfortable.  I think it will be a great work dress as well.

What do you think?

I'm also really excited to share that for the rest of the year I'm going to be giving away each of the patterns I use for the Sew Weekly challenges!  Stop by my blog to enter the giveaway for this pattern!  I think it would be so cute made up in a plain fabric as well!


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. After reading your blog this morning I have been looking forward to seeing your dress – and it doesn’t disappoint! I love the rose detail on the neck. A gorgeous dress – thanks for the constant inspiration!

  2. As always, a stunning dress! Love it! :-) (I must admit to being rather jealous of your entire wardrobe so far, haha! Must be wonderful to look at it in the morning and have such an amazing array of gorgeous clothes to choose from….!)

  3. So pretty! I keep seeing this kind of trim and wondering what I could do with it – thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Well done, once again a great job.

  5. How elegant you look – it almost looks too good to wear to work, but I love that everything you make is worn. The cuffs and collar are especially fine.

  6. So beautiful you always look so elegant!

  7. judy roberson

    So pretty..The rose detail is wonderful.. Your little hat is so pretty with this elegant dress.You look wonderful.

  8. Debbie, how do you make such stunning things in a week!? That rose trim is super nifty.

  9. Oh, Debi, this is so lovely, and I adore the hat! The “tucked in blouse” effect is so excellent, I think you look stunning. All the details come together so well, the buttons, the belt, I love it!

  10. Looks lovely :) It must be nice to wear long sleeves even in summer- Virginia just doesn’t get that cold all summer long!
    Fabulous details to the dress- thanks for showing them all up close!

  11. Another great dress, you have got used to it. My favorite is the detail of roses on the neck line. Soooo cute and stylish!

  12. Absolutely gorgeous! I really like all of the little details you added. You look smashing!

  13. This is beautiful but the best part is…the trim! Obviously! I love how you used it! You’re going to be a trimmin’ fool in no time, putting trim on everything. :)

  14. What a lovely print and the fabric is superb! Suits the style very well! I’m in need of nice sleeves too but I fear a lot of my sleeved dresses are 1970s bell sleeves, and I just don’t feel that vibe at the moment… I’ll have to get onto etsy for those 1930s/1940s ones!

  15. ah, the lady of the lake!! you are much sunnier than she.
    your dress is so perfect; and i love the rose detail and the action shot of how you did it. i’m always having to talk myself through trim and seeing your pins made it click!

  16. Debi, this is gorgeous. Simply lovely. Your fabric and the style of the dress are so flattering! I love the rose trim and blousing – it’s a perfect dress for those cooler summer days! Well done, Friend!

  17. Wow! This is a fantastic dress and OMG – love the hat!

  18. Fabulous as always, love the white rose trim detail and that hat is just gorgeous! You are one stylish babe!


    Well done Debbie. I cant get over that neck trim. The roses look fantastic.

  20. Awww! Thanks Debbie! I think this pattern would look awesome in a plain colour as well and then some of the details would really pop! But I’m glad I went out of my comfort zone and did a fun print!

  21. Thanks Kat :-) I do love the clothes I’ve made…I’m slowly getting rid of all my RTW clothes and that is great! I still need to make a few more basic type items! I’m glad I made this a long-sleeve dress as I’ll definitely get lots of use out it!!!

  22. Thanks! I love this trim! I also have a larger one in red with roses and am thinking a belt or something like that would be fun to make with it too!

  23. Thank you so much!!!

  24. Thank you Jen! I really love wearing this too! It’s very comfortable!!!

  25. Thank you so much!!!

  26. Thanks Judy! The little hat has been begging to be worn so I’m glad it’s such a good match!

  27. Thanks lisette! I must say late 30’s/early 40’s patterns are super well drafted and easy to follow!

  28. Thanks Leah! I really like the bloused effect too…the super fabulous thing is that it is all very comfortable too! YAY!

  29. The high temperature today is going to be 60 degrees and that’s warmer than it has been all week!!! :) It’s funny because I have lots of short sleeve dresses but am lacking the lightweight long-sleeve ones which are much more comfortable in the cooler weather!!

  30. Thanks Rosy!!! I love the roses too!

  31. Thanks honey! I love this dress!

  32. hahahahaha! I thought of our shopping expedition when I used this :)

  33. Thanks Veronica! I LOVED your outfit this week…omg!!! I definitely think you should try a 30’s/40’s pattern!

  34. Thanks Oona!!! I actually am more like the lady of the stream…hahahhahha. The trim was easier than I thought it would be to attach at the neckline! Plus the fabulous part is that the trim then covers up the stitching and handstitching! Tres magnifique!

  35. Thanks Meg!!! I’m loving it…and it is indeed perfect for cooler summer days which seems to be what we are having!

  36. Thanks Sarah! I absolutely LOVED your outfit and your hat this week too…such a cute little horsey!

  37. Thanks dear! I had fun making this one!

  38. Thank you so much!!! The rose trim was fun to add! I like how it’s a nice subtle effect!

  39. Debi your dress is just perfect. The pattern on the fabric is gorgeous, love it. You must have the best vintage pattern collection. JEALOUS!!