Blue 40s DuBarry Dress

In case anyone has wondered, I’m still here! I have been sewing, but I have been a very bad blogger and neglected to post for a while — which, unfortunately, means that I have already failed at one of my goals for the year. Oops…

Although I sometimes go MIA briefly, rest assured, I will be back (As you no doubt have figured out, if you’ve read this blog for a while).

Not that it matters–or that you care to hear–but if you’re nosy, like me, below are a couple of reasons for my brief lack of sewing posts.

First, I’ve been nurturing a ridiculous amount of unfinished projects, and at the beginning of this year I made it a goal to make progress on them. As a result, I have been less than enthused about sewing and blogging. Compound that with the gloomy weather we’ve had for what seems like an eternity, and you have a recipe for a lazy, undisciplined me. Needless to say, I lost my sewing momentum and had a bit of a burn out. So, I have finally decided to move forward with a few new projects to get my sewing enthusiasm tank back to normal.

A second reason is that I’ve been working on a sewing-related project that is taking up most of my time (including sewing time), but I can’t share about it yet. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to share for a while, which is more than a little difficult for me. I’m bursting at the seams!

Third, since the end of last year, I have been working on makes for several different people, including my sisters and my momma. I’ll post pictures of those garments on the recipients, as soon as I finish some alterations and the recipients have the time to take photos.

Fourth, both of my machines are acting up. So, I have spent hours deep cleaning, taking things apart and trying to figure out why they are acting like moody teenagers. I was trying to save myself a trip to the repair shop, but it may be in my near future anyway.

And finally, we’re moving full steam ahead on the house lately, leaving little time for much else. But honestly, I would rather be making progress on the house renovation than just about anything else, right now.

OK, enough of the excuses! I’m making myself dizzy with self-disappointment. Here is a finished dress.

At the time I took these pictures, our under-construction, master bathroom was the only place I could really get enough light to take photos.
At the time I took these pictures, our under-construction, master bathroom was the only place I could really get enough light to take photos.

I started this dress at end of last year, and I just finished it about a month ago. I was going to finish it for New Year’s. However, we stayed in for New Year’s Eve, so I lost my motivation to finish the dress.

Without belt
Without a belt

I finally finished it, and I took it with me on a trip to California and Tucson at the end of last month. I neglected to take pictures there, because, frankly, that was the last thing on my mind. I was hanging out with family…

Me and my baby sis'
Me and my baby sis’. I am sad to say that I didn’t even get a good picture of all five of us sisters together.

and I was far too busy enjoying an infusion of Vitamin D, basking in the impeccable weather and admiring the wide-open, blue sky and desert scenery that I took for granted when I lived in the Antelope Valley.

I went for a walk in the sun in a Joshua Tree forest near my parents' house.
I went for several walks in the sun in a forest of Joshua trees near my parents’ house.

Oh, and we opened Christmas gifts, even though it was February. Ha! My baby sis’ made me this adorable little chalkboard, which I had to share.

Such a perfect, thoughtful and super cute gift!
Such a perfect, thoughtful and adorable gift!

I can’t wait to have a sewing room again so I can hang it up.

Anyway, back to the dress. Here is the pattern that I used. It’s a DuBarry pattern from the 1940s.

Pattern base
Pattern base

I made several alterations to the pattern. I didn’t add the yoke (I don’t like high necklines), and I used bias tape and top-stitched around the neckline. I adjusted the shoulders at the neckline to account for the missing yoke. Many vintage patterns have unbelievable amounts of ease, and this one was no exception. So, I took the dress in a tad on the sides. I made the sleeves tighter than they were originally. Unfortunately, I ended up making them a little too tight for my taste, but they work.

I was full of awkward pose ideas that day, apparently
Newton attempted to photo bomb almost every shot. Ha!
Newton wanted to photo bomb almost every shot. I managed to thwart his attempts for most of them, but he still sniffed his way into a few.

Looking at the pattern envelope, you might think that to achieve the length I did that I had to subtract maybe 3″, 5″ at the most. Well, let me tell you, people in the 40s must have been towering giants, because every time I use a pattern from the 40s I feel like I should be labeled fun-sized, or something. When you look at the envelope it shows the hem of the skirt hitting at the lanky ladies’ knees. To get a similar, knee-length I would need to remove about 7″ from the skirt pattern pieces. What in the world?! To achieve above the knee height (I prefer that length on my short frame), I think I removed about 10″.

The blue on that plate matches the dress. Ha!
The blue on that metal plate matches the dress. Ha!

The material is a vintage, poly crepe that I picked up at an estate sale last year for about $1. I had just enough for this project.


This dress will probably get a lot of wear with short-sleeved cardigans this spring.

If I look taller than usual, that’s because the shoes I’m wearing have 3″ heels. For a while, all I’ve wanted to do is wear flats, but I’m growing to like heels again.
You thought I was kidding? My dress really does match that metal plate.
You thought I was kidding? My dress really does match that metal plate.

Here’s a silly photo, just because I thought you might appreciate laughing with me.

Step 1
I was attempting to fluff up my hair a bit…
Here's a shot to make you laugh...I was attempting to fluff up my hair a bit, but the camera went off sooner than I expected.
but the camera went off sooner than I expected. Zoinks!

There you have it: a new dress and a look at the lengths I go to in trying to look halfway decent in some of my photos.

This isn’t related to the dress at hand but…SPRING IS JUST ABOUT HERE! I have seen a few daffodils here and there. I don’t know about you, but I am more than ready for spring weather. I have been working on several spring dresses to brighten my mood through the cold and dreary days. I’ll post about them soon, but here’s a glimpse at the material for one of the dresses.

I like to think of this print as little mushrooms, but I'm not sure if that's what the print is really supposed to be. No matter what, it's perfect for spring/summer dress.
I like to think of this print as little mushrooms, but I’m not sure if that’s what the print is really is. No matter what, it’s perfect for a spring/summer dress.
  1. GA

    March 14, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    You’re giving me goosebumps!!!!!

    1. Becca

      April 1, 2013 at 9:03 am

      Haha! It wasn’t too cold. πŸ™‚

  2. Janice

    March 15, 2013 at 7:09 am

    You make me smile, you are so real! Love the dress! πŸ™‚

    1. Becca

      April 1, 2013 at 9:04 am

      Thanks! You’re very sweet. It was really wonderful to see you last month, btw. πŸ™‚

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