And the profile view. The dress looks rumplier in these shots than it really is--it actually lays quite straight:
One of my favorite parts is that, with the darts fitting the back and the shoulder pads, the silhouette is really authentic. Hard to see in this shot, with my arm in the way, but the waist is very slim and the shoulders have a bit more volume, with the upper back somewhat loose--just right for acheiving the 1940s look.
A close up of the neckline, featuring me looking rather perlexed and with terrible posture:
Review of the pattern and overview of the process:
The pattern is from the Vintage Pattern Lending Library, which, unlike the name would suggest, sells reproduction patterns. As I had guessed from my first look at the pattern, the markings and directions are super-easy to follow. If you're not too confident about vintage sewing, this is a great place to start--between the step-by-step instructions and the clearly marked pattern, it was very hard to go wrong.
I used an eggplant polyester crepe--I had hoped to find rayon, but this was close enough to the look I was going for. The dress is unlined, so, if you use a thinner fabric like I did, you may want to wear a slip with it.
I chose to make the short-sleeved version, with the side-bow. There is also a version with a peplum and a front cascade. I may make the long-sleeved version with the cascade sometime--had so much fun with this that I want to keep playing!
I finished this project in several sessions, but it could easily be done in one day's worth of sewing. I cut the fabric and sewed the darts one evening, then did all the long seams on a weekend afternoon, and did the finish work this weekend, off an on with reading books and baking gingersnaps.
The one major change I made: The original calls for the gathers at the front neckline to be pulled into a circle--so you'll have a little dot of skin peeking through both sides. I wasn't too fond of that, for some reason, so made the gathered circle slightly smaller, pulled it closed, and added vintage-esque post earrings (a bit of hot glue daubed on the inside ensures they won't fall off). The earrings were in the clearance bin at Target!