Big Vintage Sew-along: My Make


The day is finally here. After many hours of plotting, planning, and making, I can actually reveal my make for the Big Vintage Sew-along! Presenting my version of Vogue 9127:


When browsing the selection of patterns for the Big Vintage Sew-along, this 1939 design immediately struck me as the most interesting and unique. I adored the structure of the garment and the fabulous panelling. Although I anticipated that this might be quite a complex make, I figured that it would give me a valuable opportunity to learn some new skills and put my own twist on the pattern.

I knew immediately that I wanted to make this pattern in a way that emphasised the unique shape of the dress. The examples provided by the drawings on the pattern sleeve and the photos on the website were all made up in one colour – although beautiful, this approach makes it difficult to see the fabulous design of the panels. I decided straight away that I wanted to have a go at using a contrast piping down the seams to really play with the shape. And I thought a sailor vibe with the colours would really give the dress a little extra va-va-voom.

Although adding the piping was pretty complex (the panels are sewn overlapping, rather than with traditional seams), it was worth the extra effort. Not only does it really elevate the dress to a truly unique piece, I think it successfully shows off those swerves and curves. I totally adore it. And I selected exactly the right fabrics, with both main fabric and piping fabric from Sew Over It’s collection of crepes (in this case, navy blue and red).

I added some extra contrast details to pull the piece together, using notions kindly provided by Sew Essential. The white buttons really bring home the sailor theme – emphasised by the fabulous 1930s dress gloves that I found in a vintage charity shop. I also put in a red zip to tie in with the piping. The pattern comes with a couple of options for belting – I opted to go with a sewn-in belt, so that I could cinch my waist. I found that doing this and piping the panel at the top of my back gave the dress added impact when viewed from behind.

One thing I loved about this pattern was the feeling of authenticity. Instead of a zip, the pattern gives an opportunity to use hook-and-eyes. I also got to make my own shoulder pads for the first time ever (a tutorial on this will be coming soon). I was a little concerned that the shoulder pads would make the dress look too boxy but, in the end, they gave the dress a truly 1930s silhouette. Delicious!


My experience with this pattern had its ups and downs. I’ve only been sewing for about a year, so I’m still finding that every new pattern introduces me to skills that I haven’t yet developed. This pattern threw A LOT of new skills at me – added to which I’d already decided to take a chance with the piping. Fitting the panels together and making the front pieces symmetrical was a challenge. But I found that taking a slow and steady approach really benefitted me and allowed me to keep the patience needed to turn the piece into something great. There was nothing here that totally exceeded my abilities and ultimately the pattern turned out a gorgeously authentic 1930s dress that gives me a huge amount of pride.

I would absolutely recommend this pattern to anyone wanting to get involved with the Big Vintage Sew-along. In addition to contributing to a wonderful cause (pattern profits go to The Eve Appeal), this dress gives a real feel for vintage style. While I would caution beginners to take this piece slowly, it is well worth the extra time and effort required to develop the needed skills. So take this pattern, get creative, and venture into the 1930s!



15 thoughts on “Big Vintage Sew-along: My Make

  1. rhiannonbrum says:

    I’m really, really impressed with this. Such a beautiful piece and your patience with it has obviously paid off. You wouldn’t look out of place stepping out of Lyons tea room 🙂 xxx


  2. Ruth Brimmer says:

    Wow! beautiful! love it. Ruth

    On Fri, Aug 5, 2016 at 4:01 AM, Sew for Victory wrote:

    > sewforvictory posted: ” The day is finally here. After many hours of > plotting, planning, and making, I can actually reveal my make for the Big > Vintage Sew-along! Presenting my version of Vogue 9217: When browsing the > selection of patterns for the Big Vintage Sew-along, this” >


  3. Jane Askie says:

    Very well done Laura. You have totally captured the era with this dress and accessories. What a challenge this pattern must have been for you, but what a success. Your Great Grandma would have been 19 years old in 1939 and I can just visualise her in a dress similar to this one and one she would also have probably made herself. Will you be meeting up with other Sew-along members to show off your creations? X


  4. trialsofsewcrates says:

    Hi! Sorry for the post necromancy, but I was curious about your experience making this dress. It’s extremely lovely, and the fit is very good – did it fit true to the size on the envelope? Would you recommend making a muslin for this dress?


    • sewforvictory says:

      Hi! Not a problem – it’s lovely to see people reading my old posts! So, to the pattern. It’s a challenge. I had no problem at all with the sizing – I think I probably graded out a size at the hips (which I literally always have to do!) and the fit was totally perfect. The main issue I found was positioning the front panels on the dress. I attempted to make a muslin but the front panels absolutely refused to fit properly on the front side panels. I ended up throwing out the muslin, making the main dress and just hoping for the best. It came out totally fine that time with next to no problems. So it could’ve just been a problem with the muslin fabric or the cut – I’m not sure. My advice would be, if you’re planning on making a dress using special or moderately expensive fabric, practice with a muslin. It helps just to go through the instructions and try to figure out how the panel placement works. If I remember rightly, it can get a bit confusing (unless you’re well versed in this type of construction, of course). But, if you’re feeling brave, go for it and just make the dress straight out. Just take your time with figuring out the more complex bits. If you have any issues, definitely shoot me a message or email and I’ll try my best to help! Otherwise, let me know how it turns out! (And sorry for the long reply!) X


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