The 1940s Shoe Dress

1940s shoe dress

I do believe I have just made my most fitting and appropriate dress for this lovely hot summer we have just entered into. And it’s covered in shoes! And it fits in with this weeks Sew Weekly challenge, ‘Inspired by the 1940s’. And I just realised it matches my Ooobop header too! I am just a little bit happy!

1940s shoe dress

Last July, I posted about the ‘shoe fabric’, quite sure it was destined to be a 1950s shirt buttoned dress. The pattern had to be just right. I wasn’t going to waste that fabric, even if it did only cost a fiver! That was until I found this amazing pattern for a 1940s shirt buttoned dress which was spot on.

butterick 2638

I was sold on the midriff! I knew it would be flattering, it was just a question of how the shirt top would fit. Well it all went together like a dream. I took 5 inches off the length, worried as usual about the granny factor but actually I might be inclined to leave it a bit longer next time. And yes, there will so totally be a next time! The other alterations I made included adding 2 inches to the waist, being careful to add it to the shirt top and the midriff and the top of the skirt.

1940s shoe dress pleats

I was a bit worried about the gathering ‘poofing’ out the skirt section so I replaced the gathers with soft pleats. I know it kind of takes away a bit of the authenticity but I think its a lot more flattering. I also included a little turn up on the sleeves, as I did with my wing collar shirt. Just a little detail but I think it finishes a short sleeve much better and gives a little more interest.

1940s shoe dress front

I so enjoy a good old rummage in the button tin. I quite often had my whole head in my mum’s button tin when I was little and so the whole searching for the right button thing generates such a nostalgic feeling which escalates to pure joy when you find the perfect ones! These two little red beauties were 2 of a little set so kindly gifted to me by Rachel at House of Pinheiro as a thank you for doing a little guest spot over at her place! Gotta love this whole blogging thing!

1940s shirt dress buttons

The back of the dress is finished off nicely with side-ties that tie in a little bow at the back which also serve as a great device to hide the near invisible side zip.

1940s shirt dress back

Of course, there are no prizes for guessing who took the lovely photos! Mr Ooobop! is so clever and so willing and so lovely. My blog would be truly rubbish without his wonderful photos.

1940s dress yellow backgroundWe had such fun taking these today, en route to lunch in a local pub garden…. and then onto dinner at our local Italian restaurant, Casa Mia. Totally indulgent day today but it wasn’t our fault. It was all sunny and everything and we were seriously confused into thinking we were on holiday!

1940s dress sunshine

Sewing, Sunshine, park life, Prosecco and pizza….and more sunshine! I am so easily pleased!

61 Replies to “The 1940s Shoe Dress”

  1. Oh my, this is a perfect dress! The fabric print/colour, the style, the fit…all perfect on you! The soft pleats are seriously flattering and the detail you added to the sleeves is genius. And I love how you styled your hair and your makeup – it would have been a crying shame not to flaunt this dress all day and night!

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  3. Oh NO! This dress is too adorable! I love everything about it, the fabric, the buttons…perfect down to every stitch. It makes me want one so badly. 🙂 You did a great job styling the look to. Fantastic job!

    1. lol…. thank you! There are some amazing 40s patterns out there.. all of them very flattering. I can totally recommend making one …. or ten!!! 🙂

  4. I’m stopping by from Sew Retro where I also left a reply. Your dress is lovely and your photos are fantastic! If you have time, would you mind answering a question? How did you get the little copyright by ooobop in the corner of your pic?

    1. Thank you for stopping by and for your lovely comment. Of course I dont mind. I created the logo in a programme called Adobe illustrator and I copy it onto the photo in Adobe Photoshop. I use these two programmes in my day job as a graphic designer but they are very expensive to buy. Have you heard of Gimp? it is a free bit of software, safe to download, and acts in a similar way to photoshop. You could to it in that programme but I’m guessing it would take a little while to get used to it all. Worth playing with though. You will be able to edit your pictures in all sorts of ways…. for free! Hope that helps 🙂

    1. Oh Rachel, imagine how chuffed I was to remember those buttons. It was a toss up between the pink and the red, but the red ones won! Thank you so much lovely lady! x

  5. That is a great dress. The fabric is awesome and I love the pleats. I’ve been avoiding patterns with gathered skirts because they are not at all flattering on me, but the pleats is such an easy way to fix that. Don’t know why I didn’t think if it!

    1. Thank you Renae. Can defo vouch for pleats. I just guessed to get a rough idea of placement and then measured to make sure they were symetrical either side of the centre seam…. simples! 🙂

  6. Brilliant! I love how the buttons compliment the blue shoe fabric. Just a cool little pop of color! It fits you so nicely, you look simply smashing!

    1. Thank you sewbusylizzy. I was worried the shoes on the fabric weren’t fitting of the 40s but actually it doesn’t matter… and I love it!

  7. This is such a darling dress! I totally love it….what a way to celebrate the fabric. I too believe in pleats, esp for slightly stiffer fabrics (ultimately scared of too much pouff!). Perfection for the activities you had planned!

    PS in response to your question on my blog about cutting off grain but with the pattern, for the fabrics & patterns I was using the fabric seemed to be robust enough to cope’ but I had some useful comments on my pink elephant post about using interfacing to manage if an off grain fabric was liable to misbehaving…could work for patchwork too?

  8. Gorgeousimo! And don’t sweat about cutting off grain in patchwork, the pieces are so small it makes no odds – crazy patching is all off grain 🙂

  9. Superb, superb! Encore, encore! That is one seriously cool dress. I absolutely love it. I can see why you didn’t want to waste that fabric, even if it was a bargain. A perfect union. You know what I particularly love about your blog? The joy you and Mr Ooobop take in each other brims off the page – or screen!

  10. I love that fabric. Its such a beautiful dress. I don’t blame you for thinking you were on holidays. You look amazing in the dress, and the sunshine just makes the whole thing look like pictures taken off some coastal resort.

    1. lol…. thanks Roisin. I am seriously going to have to get back to you with comments to your Me Made selection. You have some stunning dresses there. Hugely inspirational! 🙂

    1. lol… If only, Felicity. Just the weekend. Back to work on the Monday. But to be honest if the weather keeps up like this I wont be complaining!

  11. Beyond envious. I passed the door to envy and just kept walking down the corridor to covet. If I didn’t have paralyzing collar fear I’d try this gorgeous pattern!

  12. It’s been so lovely recently, I thought I was on holiday too! Janene I really love this dress: the fabric, the style, the 1940’s pattern and the pizazz with which you wear it! I agree about pleats being more flattering than gathers too. You look gorgeous and can totally rock that 1940’s look! x

  13. You look gorgeous as usual!!!! Love the dress, it totally suits you! So glad you and Mr O had such a nice day together – fun is so contagious isn’t it? 😀

  14. You are so talented…and inspring! I love watching the progress you make with each of your garments. Keep up the good work. 🙂

  15. You make the most fabulous clothes — and I love the material. Gorgeous!

    Speaking of gorgeous, I just nominated you for the “One Lovely Blog Award” here (, because frankly, I think your blog is the very definition of lovely. Please don’t feel obligated to pass it along if you don’t want to — it’s just my way of saying “I like your blog! I really do!”

  16. I knew I recognised that midriff! I recently bought a dress with a bodice that ends in a downwards point and I thought I’d seen something similar somewhere 🙂
    I clicked through from your most recent vintage pattern post and was wondering if 1940s patterns are noticeably more efficient in fabric usage than modern ones?

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