Monday, March 17, 2014

1930's St. Patrick's Day Dress!

The last thing to do was to sew on the ribbons, and they were the first things Anne managed to yank off. I'm glad they were just lightly tacked on.

This is the first 1930's style dress I have made for Anne. Though honestly the generic toddler/little girl silhouette remained quite similar from the 20's through the 70's; short, often waistless and easy fitting. Patterns for little girls frocks during these decades often included shorts or elasticized panties. Quite necessary beneath the short dress hem, especially for active little girls.

I didn't have a pattern for this dress so I drafted my own using an original dress as a guide for style and seam placement and a basic sleeveless bodice from a commercial pattern as a starting point for size. I ended up with an A-line dress and a sleeve and collar, as seen below. I drew the desired seam lines on this master pattern, then it was just a matter of cutting the pieces apart, adding seam allowance, and some width to the skirt gores for a more twirly skirt. (For an everyday "play" dress, I would not have needed to add much width...dresses of the 30's could still be quite narrow compared to later full skirted styles).

I made it up unlined in green linen. Most of the interior seams were French seamed and then topstitched from the outside. The side center gore pieces were finished with a bias cut white cotton welt (since I couldn't find my piping foot for piping) and topstitched to the yoke.

The hem was finished with a wide self fabric bias facing. It weights the skirt nicely.

The little puff sleeves were finished with a band of white cotton and the neckline with an itty bitty white collar. Three white buttons are sewn to the front for decoration. The actual closure is in the back, with two little hook and eyes.

I made it a bit big, since I'm hoping it will still fit Anne for the Erin Feis later this year. She loved running around in it, though its nearly impossible to get her to hold still for pictures. Out of the fifty or so I took, here are the only tolerable ones:

I thought I'd have better luck taking her outside. All she wanted to do was run!

Happy baby though! Its good to be out after a very cold and long winter!



  1. Wow, that turned out wonderfully. I can imagine how wonderful the linen feels next to the skin. A very pretty Irish color, too! :)

    Do you mind me asking--do you have to do anything special to the pattern pieces when doing princess seams? Or do you just slash and add seam allowances? You make it look so easy!

    Thanks for sharing--have fun sewing the buttons back on!

  2. Ooh, it's so pretty :) Your baby girl looks adorable :) Dress is gorgeous!


  3. Oh that is adorable, Sarah! She is too cute! lol funny you had such warm weather... NC has ice slowly melting right now! :D Nice to hear from you a bit regularly


  4. Oh my goodness she is adorable! And so is that darling dress!

  5. Great little dress, love the colour. She is very cute.


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!