My Bonnie Blue Dress

 

A few weeks ago, by daughter gave this dress to me and I knew that I would have to fix it for the 1940′s challenge. I have never seen anything like it! It is so lovely and unique. This is a KerryBrooke fashion made for Sears and Robuck and made in the USA. It is made from rayon, a popular fabric used during the 1940′s. It was originally invented in 1884 and called artificial silk. It wasn’t until 1924 that it was called Rayon. This dress is trimmed in a pink woven cotton, which is used in the peek-a-boo facings around the scalloped neck and pockets and bias trim on the cape sleeves. The dress was a size 20, which was very loose and baggy in the bodice, but the skirt fit well. I decided that I would try doing some major alterations to the dress in order to make it fit me.

Before Alterations

Bodice adjusted

Cap sleeves that overlap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I took the zipper out, picked the skirt and sleeves off, picked open the sides of the bodice and put it back on my dress form. I pinned it to fit on the sides, about 1 1/2 inches, and marked it with a white colored pencil. I took off about 1/2 inch on the top half of the arm-circle and took 1/2 inch of the bottom of the bodice. The sleeves are caps that overlap under the arm so they were were easy to adjust and reattach. I reattached the skirt, and put in a plastic zipper instead of the original metal one. I had a hard time deciding just how long to make it, but after researching 1940′s hem lengths, it was obvious that during wartime, the dresses were shorter, but still below the knee, while in later years, they seemed to be a bit longer. I found a happy medium and used my vintage hem guide to mark the hem. The original hem was somewhat uneven, so measuring from the floor made it easy to straighten it out. I used the hem stitch and hem attachment to sew the hem. I love that thing! Hemming by hand just takes too much time! I happened to have a pink thrifted belt to go with it, which was great because I really didn’t want to make one. I’ve been out in the garden all day and I am suffering from severe allergies. My energy level is not what it should be.

I did a little research, trying to find dresses or patterns similar to this KerryBrooke dress and came up with a few to share with you. I love the scallop feature, and how the pockets come to a point at the bottom, sit on the sides of the dress, and the hint of pink around the edges. I’d like to copy this dress for a summery look, possible in a light floral fabric.

pink pocket facing

Since I have been following a strict rule of not purchasing RTW clothes this year, I’ve had fun creating my own wardrobe and trying to figure out how to best interpret the challenges with the fabrics that I have already, thrifted finds, and an occasional splurge on new fabrics and patterns. It’s also fun just to shop for accessaries and shoes. I really don’t miss or even need to buy RTW. It’s been very easy to cut that out of my budget. I may just keep doing it indefinitely.

Author

Barbara

Barbara is a resident of Northern California. She loves to sew and has pledged not to buy retail clothes for the year of 2012. That means she has to make her own, or buy it at a thrift store. I hope she doesn't spend too much on fabric. When she shops for fabric her eyes light up as she imagines the possibilities! She's like a kid in a candy store.

19 Comments

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  1. I love this!! How cool that you were able to refashion this to something so wearable! It’s a great match for that pattern you highlighted, too.

  2. That neckline is adorable and you’ve made it fit you so well. Fab remake.

  3. Hey Barbra, amazing, love the refasjion and the pockets are such a cute detail. Fun photos as usual.

  4. The pockets and neckline on this are to die for! I love it!

  5. Wow, the scallops are lovely! Perfect for adding a short of interest to a plain blue dress.

  6. Well worth all that effort. Beautiful.

  7. Lovely! It’s a great dress, and your adjustments make it fit you perfectly!

  8. Love this! It turned out beautifully. I love a successful refashion.

  9. Wow what a lovely refashion Barbara, she looks perfect on you. Love all the peek-a-boo details and the neckline, gorgeous job. I hope your allergies settle and you regain your energy levels real soon. Doesn’t it feel great to have a wardrobe full of handmade and not store bought? Well done Barbara.

  10. Love this dress. so pretty

  11. It’s beautiful Barbara, I love your research pictures too. Isn’t the internet great?! I have a 1950′s dress that I need to overhaul for myself – just needs a little taking in through the bust!

  12. The scallops are lovely and so cute on the pockets. You sure don’t seem to be missing the RTWs. Keep up the fabulous work.

  13. Love this! What a great find and refashion. It’s so simple and classic yet with great details. I’m glad you looked for patterns that are similar– I’m going to make a similar dress for myself!

  14. oh my gracious – I love the combo of navy and pink!! What a fantastic refashion with those glorious scallops – and the pockets are positively darling! Another amazing make, my friend!

  15. I loe your refashion! It’s a gorgeous shape and I love the scalloped neckline!

  16. Beautiful job with some tricky (for me anyways) alterations. The formerly sad dress must be so happy to be rescued! I have a 40s pattern with a scalloped neckline that I hope to tackle this year.

  17. Simply beautiful!

  18. This is stunning! And you’ve given me a great idea for a future project so thanks : )