A Summer dress for all seasons…! And admiring Vogue 391

Well, it makes perfect sense to me to make a Summer dress in the Autumn! Clearly part of my brain is on North American time and in denial about the bitterly cold Canberra weather which is well and truly yet to come. But I have been surprised at how quickly this dress has been coming together. The sewing hasn’t been too difficult but with a few new things to learn or practice to make it interesting, primarily: 1)more corner seams, 2) set in sleeves, 3) ease at the elbow of the sleeves, 4) gathers at bust. I love it so much so far, I am thinking I want to make it again immediately!

My first attempt at adding “ease” to anything! Here is the ease added to the elbow at the sleeve. I found this exercise quite difficult actually and used the pin method adopted in Marian Corey’s 50s Dressmaking book… how does anyone achieve this without tiny ruches or heaven forbid pleats?!?! Pray, tell, please!

I have opted for the longer sleeves because the fabric is so deliciously light and airy and I like the idea of protecting my arms from the scathing Aussie sun and the millions of freckles that want to appear each year (and do).

The gathers at the bust drew me to this pattern… I think gathers as a feauture on a bodice are so pretty, feminine and olde worlde!

As with my other recent sewing endeavours, this has primarily been a late-at-night-when-baby-and-husband-sleep project. It gives me a wonderful break from the joys of Babyville and I actually find sitting at the machine quite meditative. Its funny how the past comes back to me while I sew, I remember old conversations, people from the past, adventures and places and tidbits… it is a little bit like dreaming.

Todays pattern is fifties… Vogue 391… forever fifties! I don’t have it but gleened the designed in the February March 1950 edition of Vogue Pattern Book.

Mega romantic… mega drama!

February March 1950


2 thoughts on “A Summer dress for all seasons…! And admiring Vogue 391

  1. oh! your dress looks so lovely!! I too like the gathers at the bust line. As for ease, I’m not too good at it, but I’ve found basting stitches to be helpful. The gentle gather helps spread out the ease evenly. I’ve used the gentle gathers to help set sleeve caps. It helps, but I really need practice. And sometimes unpicking the little tucks and smoothing them out on a second try is more successful.
    Here’s a tutorial that might be helpful… Maybe you already know these tricks tho 😉 Good luck!


    • Thanks… I did unpick the ease at the elbow and second time was better… I also read that there are tricks to be orked with an iron in terms of reducing any obvious bunching…. tried to set the sleeves in but may need to redo sections with those also..!

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