Sep 11, 2017

1940's Swing Dress Photo's and Details

After my post about Vintage Aircraft Weekend I wanted to dedicate a specific post to the dress I made and wore to the dinner dance. As I mentioned in my previous post, I used Simplicity Pattern 1587 to make my 1940's swing dress.

After reading some reviews online I opted to only use the pattern for the top half of the dress since the reviews I read (and the pictures proved) that the skirt looked really frumpy and more 90's than 40's, so I made a few modifications.

Changes I made from the pattern:
  • I used my own 6 gore skirt pattern in place of the skirt that was included with the pattern.
  • I cut the sides of the bodice front and back 3 sizes smaller to fit better and to remove the gathers at the waist.
  • Instead of doing a keyhole opening with an interfacing in the back, I put in an invisible zipper in the back.
I also decided to make a matching belt, which was a quick and easy addition and really completed the look.

The fabric I used is a Rayon-Challis blend from It's a beautiful pink/purple/plum color, and looked like a perfect color for the era. While I was searching for fabric I looked at a lot of fabric swatches, which Vintage Dancer has a very helpful article with lots of examples, which I used for reference to select an appropriate color.

1940's  fabric samples, via Vintage Dancer

I'm so happy with how my hair turned out! I have naturally straight hair that is hard to curl, but I did a practice run a few days before the event, which helped me figure a few things out. I made sure to put extra curlers in the back section to make sure it was just as curly as the front, and I also added some curl defining hair gel when I set the curls.

I'd like to do a tutorial sometime since I learned a bit about setting and curling hair for a 1940's look.

For the accessories, I wore a pearl necklace and matching bracelet, a vintage velvet cap, a matching belt, and seamed stockings. The shoes are a modern pair with a vintage flair I bought several years ago. Eventually I want to get a pair that's more accurate, but they're pretty comfortable and easy to dance in and work for now.

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