The ‘Elsie Phyllis’ dress
Fabric: Vintage Printed cotton from inherited stash. (possibly 40s?) Thrifted Poplin
Pattern: Fashion 4360 (1947)
Time to complete: 12hrs
First worn: for photos
Where again: I love it… but I may have made it a bit too period accurate to feel comfortable for everyday.
Cost: $15 for the pattern (ouch! but I was in love with that heart shaped lapel.. and it was at a vintage fair), $1 for the poplin.
Oh I hope I get this in on time! I left it til Monday to start this dress. I’ve been a bit nervous about opening this pattern. It looked so fragile, I thought for sure it would be a mess inside and I’d regret my $15 spend. But let me tell you… opening this envelope was the most fun part!! Inside I found some patterns drafted on newspaper. 1947 Newspaper to be exact. So then I spent way too much time reading snippets about ration cards, the death of one of ‘princess’ elizabeth’s seamstresses that was working on her wedding dress, and some great advertisements.(my fave was the bottle of mortein bug killer that had ‘With Extra DDT’ proudly emblazoned on the label.) I assumed the patterns would be tracings of the original maybe with some fit changes.. but it seems the original owner decided to draft a different skirt shape and a slightly different collar. And.. every pattern piece was labeled with ‘Cool pattern – Elsie Phyllis’. Seriously.. someone in 1947 labelled their pattern as ‘cool’!! love it.
I’m betting that Elsie’s 1947 ration of fabric didn’t allow for the 4 wide panels of bias cut skirt required. Her version is much slimmer and multi panelled cut on the straight. I was just barely able to make the original dress with my 3.5m of 34″ (after wash) fabric. Her collar pattern is intriguing as well. I think maybe she ditched the top collar and just did an extended version of the lapel with the added scallop. Hers is also a bit narrower. I may actually make Elsie’s version next time.. just for fun.
The instructions were pretty good for a pattern this old. By that I mean… there were at least some pictures and even the patterns had a few stamp markings on them. It even included an instruction for grading the pattern one size up or down. I used their method for grading the bodice one size down (which was just taking a half inch off the entire side included the sleeve and underarm) and it worked out just fine. My other 40s options are from home journal magazines and have no pictures in the instructions and no markings on the patterns. I’m glad I went with this one for this week.
I am a bit disappointed that the lapel doesn’t really look like the one in the illustration. Seems like there was a bit of artistic license used there. But it would be pretty easy to redraft it to get that real heart shape I was imagining.
I’m loving the 40’s use of tucks at the waist instead of darts, and I love those little extended sleeves. Oh and of course.. who couldn’t love giant pockets!
Confession – this isn’t the final hem.. I need to let it hang for a while. As an interim measure I’ve just done an overlock roll hem.
I’ve noticed that modern fabrics used for vintage patterns have more wearable results… but I have a rather large stash of vintage fabrics and patterns (terrible I know.. haha) So I may just have to start embracing period dressing.
oops.. I almost forgot.. Yes this is a different colourway of the same fabric I used for my shorts last week. My Nan in law was like that.