Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Vintage 40's Dress: Simplicity 4060

If you had questions about what constitutes a housecoat, take a look at this pattern. The long-sleeved version is a trim, closely-fitting housecoat--not a loose bathrobe to put on when you're fresh out of the tub. Don't tell me you couldn't answer the door in this number!

But let's move on to some bright green rayon, because this pattern also makes up into a dress, and what says spring any louder than grass green with polka dots?

This pattern had a couple of twists new to me. Most significant was the technique of facing the back of a dart, then cutting it open and gathering the lower "leg" before joining it to the upper leg of the dart--resulting in the so-forties fullness gathered at the shoulder both front . . .

and back . . .



Donna said...

It really amazes me how much sewing you get done...truly inspiring. I love the green.

Karen said...

Anna, Where do you find your material? You have some of the prettiest prints. I just went to a fabric store about 2 hours from my home today, and couldn't find anything vintage-looking, or even just pretty.
I did get some rose colored rayon/linen to make a dress for my daughter for Easter, and I plan to do some embroidery on it, inspired by the dresses you did for your girls in a past post.

AmeliaB said...

I love your dress Anna! It is so pretty and spring like. I want to make a housecoat for myself someday.

Melissa said...

Anna - Do you really wear all of the items you create? I love them!

Sezz said...

Wow - that dress is absolutely gorgeous. i love the fabric. Thanks for sharing!!

Mrs Pea said...

I hope I can be like you when I grow up, Anna. You are just an inspiration. I am a full-time mummy to one toddler, hardly leave my home, and yet achieve 1/10 of all you do in your home regarding decor, sewing, cooking etc - and you have a houseful of blessings and a job and homeschool. Your dress is - as ever - gorgeous!

Heather said...

What a lovely dress! I was a costume mistress for 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' many years ago and I made a simular housecoat and dress for the lead - those darts and gathers were so much fun!

Anonymous said...

It amazes and inspires me that you get all that beautiful creating/sewing done along with everything else. I'm a homeschool mother of 2 young kids with too much square footage to tend and nearly three days a week we are off to lessons and the like. I can understand how you sew quickly ~ I paint quickly and people wonder how I do it (even been shown in a museum a couple of times) however I find it nearly impossible to paint these days with housekeeping, homeschooling, working one day a week, etc. So, my studio sits silently waiting for my return... would love to hear how you do it. Keep sewing! It's a gift and you have mastered fitting it into your schedule! ~KJ

31 Girl said...

LOVE this! As I do all of your stuff. :) Starting in March I will become a full-time stay at home mom - I can't wait to see how much can be accomplished. Thank you so much for the inspiration.

Anonymous said...

I love it, and it reminds me of Spring. I think I will leave the dress up on the desktop for awhile. It's one of those pictures, that puts a smile on. Lynn

HopewellMomSchool said...

Lovely!! I wish I could find that pattern. A friend recently lost her husband and somehow we got talking about what would cheer her a little [not replace husband--just "cheer"] she said new dress for work. We've both been trying to do more sewing and this would look FABULOUS on her since she's tall and slim, but needs short sleeves due to one arm being missing below the elbow.
How on earth do you ever make time for all the beautiful things you sew? You are really an inspiration!!!!
Lisa at hopewellmomschool@yahoo.com

Kendra said...

Wow - I love this dress. The polka dots really make it!

Heather said...

The dress is beautiful! I really enjoy reading your blog and am inspired by your creativity.

My 10 year old daughter is doing a history fair project for homeschool. Her topic is "How history influenced women's fashion in the 1900s." She is wondering if she could use this photo to represent the 40's era dress?

You are inspiring all of us! :)

Jennifer said...

Hey Anna,
Lovely dress! I wish I had your sewing talent! I'm wondering though.....what shoes will you wear with that? LOL

By the way, in the last three weeks, I've made your chili, your leek and potato soup, and tonight your chicken noodle soup. All three were divinely delicious and a hit with the entire family! Thanks for such easy, but great recipes!

Anna said...

Karen--I get my fabric at my local Hancock's. It's true there's a lot of unappealing fabric, but I find that if I go frequently (that part's not a problem!), I can dig through everything and every so often find a keeper. Glad you're sewing!

Melissa--I do wear my projects! When I started back sewing three years ago my goal was to become proficient enough to make something I wouldn't be embarassed to wear.

Lisa--If you're looking for a similar pattern check out my link to women's patterns on ebay, and search on ebay for "housecoat"--they come up all the time and are all so gorgeous!

Heather--you're welcome to use the photo!

Jennifer--I'm glad you enjoyed the recipes. Soup is so great in the winter, isn't it? Shoes, a good question. I have some great not-too-vintage but sort of vintage heeled loafers that are just perfect for this and every other vintage-inspired dress. Or how about little Keds? I was also thinking of some canvas ballet flats in faded red . . .

Thanks everyone for your lovely compliments!


Anonymous said...

Anna, you've inspired me to sew vintage! I've begun my girl's Easter dresses with patterns from the 40's and 50's and I LOVE the way they are turning out. Thanks for the great idea!

Gentlewood Cottage said...


I have to tell you that your blog is probably my all time favorite blog. I sometimes wish I had stumbled upon it earlier as we used to have family in TN and I would have loved to have met you on some trip down there!

I first stumbled upon the Pleasant View Schoolhouse via Sense and Sensibility, and I'm so glad that I did. Your home, your sewing, and children are all so motivating to me!

The main reason I am commenting here though, is to ask about your fabrics. I saw that you buy from Hancock, and since we have no local fabric store (the nearest is Walmart, a 45 minute drive from our home) I would be purchasing online. Fabric is one of those things that you almost need to hold in your hands in order to know what you're getting. So, what I am wondering is this - Hancock's website list the following as their main categories...

· College Fabric
· Decorator Fabric
· Fashion Fabric
· Fleece Fabric
· MLB Fabric
· NFL Fabric
· Quilting & Cotton Fabric

In what section do you usually shop?

Is quilting fabric too light weight?

Do you generally choose your pattern and thn buy your fabric, or do you purchase fabric that you like and then find the appropriate pattern?

How much do you generally spend per yard, or do you even take that into consideration?

Are there certain blends that you prefer?

Thanks so much for sharing all your good work!


Mrs. Wilt said...


It's got to be the cheeriest dress I've ever seen. :o) I'll bet it is beautiful with your dark hair. Simply lovely!

Anna said...


Sorry to be so poky answering your questions! Choosing fabric online is tricky! Some quilting cotton has a beautiful drape, some is stiff and doesn't make up into garments well. Do you want a crisp tailored-style frock? A high-quality cotton will work. But if you want a more draped style, tencel, fine wool, or rayon would be better. I don't like any manmade fibers at all. So I stay away from them--except rayon, is it manmade?

I buy my fabric in a store when I can so I can check the drape and the exact shade--my computer monitor is funny. And I always use a 40% off coupon. My friendly local store keeps them on the counter and gives me as many as I want.

Hope this helps!


Candace said...

Thanks so much for the advice, Anna!

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