Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I co-host the Your Home Story podcast and believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!
Mom to Otto born April 2018 and Lucy born August 2020!

Sewing Circle: A pattern for a 40's retro dress

Welcome to Sewing Circle!  This time, I'm sharing a question I got from Sarah, who emailed me with this dilemma...

Q: My name is Sarah and I am a graduate student who is slowly becoming a fairly competent sewing who is entranced by all thing vintage/retro. I have been following your blog for some time (great inspirations!) so I thought you might be the person to which I could bring this sort of question.

I am trying to figure out how to recreate this dress that Haley Atwell's character wore in the recent film Captain America (unfortunately the pictures I can gather from the Internet don't due justice to how stunning it appears on screen). I have looked around for some patterns (vintage and modern) which have the same general features, ie. v-neck, belted, fitted pencil (kind of wiggle-like) skirt and long sleeves (with perhaps a little puff, I can't quite tell), but I just can't seem to find any that capture the same spirit. Any ideas? Have you run across anything that seems similar or know where I could go to do some further investigating? Any advice would be appreciated. 

Thanks for your help and for all the great inspiration!

A: Hi Sarah,
Great question, and beautiful dress!  I can’t find any patterns for something exactly like it, but there are definitely some vintage-inspired Vogue patterns that would give you the look.

When I look to copy something with a modern pattern, I look for the way the dress is constructed—that one has a v-neck darted bodice, pencil skirt, and puffed ¾ sleeves (you’ve got it in your descriotion!). And a collar overlay that I can’t quite figure out. So, with those items in mind, you can combine patterns to copy it as closely as possible, or you can just use a very similar pattern and it’ll be cute although not an exact replica.

 Here are some ideas:
  • BY FAR the closest. Gather instead of dart the sleeves, and you can reshape the neckline to a true V. You might want to leave off the waistband and instead just make the bodice a little longer, like the original, or just cover it with a belt like she has. 

Hope one of those strikes your fancy, Sarah!  Hope I’ve been somewhat helpful. Good luck recreating that beautiful dress!

Readers, what would you do?


  1. That first one definitely looks the closest to me! Lately I've had my eye on another vogue pattern (here: which I think could also be modified to look more like this dress. If you buy any patterns from this site, though, sign up for their newsletter and wait....the one I've got my eye on goes on sale every 2-3 weeks for really cheap (along with most of the other less than $4 if I recall) and you get a lot of bang for your buck.

    The collar/lapel thing absolutely baffles me. The best I can come up with is to treat it like a jacket lapel...maybe you could modify something like (just the collar) and add it to the dress, or use Burdastyle's Eva Jacket pattern and steal the lapel (handy tutorial for adding it here:

    Good luck!

  2. I just love that first pattern--I recommended it in this Sewing Circle: I guess the V-piece could be treated like a collar, and just added in between the right side and wrong side.

    You could free-form it, actually, using the bodice pattern as a base and drawing a V-shape about 1.5" wide, plus seam allowances.




accessories alterations anniversary apartment appliqué baby baby #2 bathroom beauty bedroom blog swap blogging blogging tips books bridesmaid dress budget chairs cooking costumes crafty DIY curtains decor art demo denim dining room DIY gift DIY Wardrobe Makeovers dress dye e-design eco-friendly etsy exterior fabric family farm fireplace fitness food fur furniture garage gardening gifts giveaway glitter hair Halloween handsewing happiness headboard health hobbies holiday holiday party dresses home dec home improvement home tour How to Wear DIY Instagram home tour interfacing jeans kids kids' clothes kitchen knits lace lamp Lavender's Green Historic Clothing leather lighting living room maxi McCall's M6558 McCalls M5849 mending mod podge mood board motherhood my book my home nursery office One Room Challenge ORC Fall 2018 ORC Fall 2019 ORC Fall 2020 ORC Spring 2019 ORC Spring 2020 oregon organization paint Paleo parenting parties passions patterns peplum photography podcast Portland pregnancy project goals quilt recipe recognition recycled retro ribbon romper rugs scarf scraps sewing sewing circle sewing inspiration sewing room Sewing with Friends shopping Silhouette Simplicity 1355 Simplicity 1873 Simplicity 1913 Simplicity 2444 Simplicity 2584 skirt slipcover sponsor spray paint stamp Stanley 90's reno Stanley 90's reno weekly update Stanley Tudor Revived staple gun stencil strapless stress sweater table tee the pillow tutorials thrifting tile toddler top townhouse progress toys travel Tudor kitchen reno tutorial upholstery vacation vintage wallpaper wedding wedding dress weekend weekend inspiration what to wear
© Create / Enjoy • Theme by Maira G.