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40s patterns

PowellPat | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

Am trying to find a pattern to make a 40s dress to wear to a hangar dance.  Can anyone help me with a source for this type of pattern.  any suggestions are appreciated.  The dance isn’t until May–so have some time to plan.





  1. kayl | | #1

    There are a number of "vintage" patterns in the Big 4 patternbooks,

    recast for current bodies (remember, the 1940's featured major control

    in the undergarment department). And there are a number of places

    on line that sell genuine vintage patterns like rustyzipper.com

    You might also want to look at Harriet Pepin's 1942 book, Modern Pattern Design, over at http://www.vintagesewing.info -- it's got a wealth of

    details, and shows you how to draft them.

    1. PowellPat | | #3

      Kay,  where would I find the Big 4 patternbooks?  Not familiar with them.  Thanks for the info.  I'm going to try rustyzipper first.  Maybe I will need to buy a girdle--Duh


      1. kayl | | #4

        Big 4 -- sorry -- Vogue, Butterick, McCalls, Simplicity <g>

        Take a good look at the changes in measurements with pattern size,

        you won't take the current sizes for true vintage patterns. As for

        undies, you may need a waist cincher, girdle and a bra with conical

        cups -- the shape was much different from modern bras.

        It may be easier to take a modern dress pattern (either "vintage style"

        or just plain modern) and add 1940's details like the puffy cap sleeves, tabs, interesting uses of buttons and seaming details, etc.

        1. PowellPat | | #5


          Gee. I feel stupid.  Of course, big 4.  Rustyzipper was good, except I would have to alter the patterns to fit my measurements. Am going to check the big 4 before ordering.  Thanks so much for your input.  A little more research and I am ready to roll.



          1. kayl | | #6

            Enjoy! Costuming can be a lot of fun!


          2. carolfresia | | #7

            Pati, take a look at Folkwear, too. I think they have at least one 40s-inspired dress. Folkwear.com.


  2. Elisabeth | | #2

    Here is a list of sources for vintage patterns http://www.gbacg.org/buying.htm

  3. Millineress | | #8

    Your first stop should be ebay. You may also want to try some of the vintage sites, such as avintagewedding.com, patternstudio.com, mysisterspatterns.com, oldpatterns.com, pastpatterns.com and longago.com. If none of these have what you are looking for, try vintage or antique stores, which often have a selection of patterns.

  4. colleency | | #9

    I will recommend http://www.folkwear.com. Their patterns are easy to sew. While I haven't made the swing dress, I've made the Rosie Overalls and shirt, and the Hollywood shorts from the 40's. I've also made their kimono and Victorian bathing suit patterns.

    If you are at least intermediate, check out the Vintage Vogue patterns. They are very, very good. And they are completely accurate, as I believe they actually are from the 40's, but they are redrawn with instruction for the modern sewer.

    If you are advanced, you can check out past patterns attic copies, but you will have to resize these patterns to your own size.

    I wouldn't really recommend Butterick, Simplicity, etc. Their costume patterns are costumey. They look like a costume. I'm assuming that you want your dress to look like a dress from the 40's and not a halloween costume. The patterns from the above companies will yield a clothing look with all the details.

    Good luck!

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