A Dress-cue Project

I still have to grab pictures of my dress from last weekend’s sewing retreat, but since we’re on the sewing subject, I thought it would be a good time to share a dress rescue project from earlier this summer.

1940s blue and yellow abstract print dress

I found this dress at Modern Millie (as usual) and although it was pretty something was just not quite right about it.

Blue and Yellow 40s dress before alteration

As you can see, something odd and somewhat lopsided was happening to the collar, and there was just no way the loop and button on the neck was going to close on any adult human.  It was marked down a bit for its curious state, so I took it home to see if I could give it a new life.


Fortunately, I had some matching-enough rayon floating around from an earlier project so I set about unpicking the edges of the collar to see what I had to work with.  Once I had everything flattened out, I could see that the dress probably originally had a small keyhole neckline under a peter pan collar, but at some point the bottom of the keyhole had ripped, leading to the unsightly repair.  I looked through my patterns for something that had a contrasting section that would cover the offending tear and settled on Advance 3374, a 40s dress with a gathered inset collar.  Using the bodice front as a reference, I cut away the offending damaged material.

Blue and yellow 40s dress original neckline

I cut out a contrast piece in the yellow rayon I had on hand and did my best to insert it per the pattern directions.  I don’t think I actually managed to do that entirely successfully, but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out anyway — I think it’s much more wearable than the original mend, and isn’t as likely to further damage the textile.


I also removed the original navy pocket buttons and replaced them with self-covered matching yellow to bring the design together a bit more.  As you can see, there’s a bit of other damage to the dress, but I did my best to patch it and it’s so dark and busy that in reality (that is, not in super bright photos!) it’s hardly noticeable at all.

1940s blue and yellow abstract print dress

I styled my new rescue with my Busia’s navy felt hat, which I always want more excuses to wear:


… and a new pair of Rocket Originals…


…which I was really hoping would be the answer to my navy shoe quest, but I’ve worn them a couple times since these pictures were taken and I think I actually don’t like them as much as the pair I wore here, so I might just keep trying to break in the other ones and pass these along.

1940s blue and yellow abstract print dress

Navy blue wool hat: My Busia’s
Blue plastic clip hoop earrings: Costume jewelry grab bin at Market Square Jewelers
Navy, yellow, and white abstract print 1940s dress: Modern Millie
Navy blue 1940s reproduction sandals: Rocket Originals “Doris”

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