1947 Vogue cocktail dress

I’ve had this Vogue pattern for a goodly while and decided to make it to take on holidays with me. As usual the sizing was all wrong for me, so took it to my pattern making class for the alterations.DSC05553

As the title of this post claims – this is a 1947 Vogue pattern (Vogue 5759) and although I love it, those tiny waists are part of the appeal, and I don’t have a tiny waist! The kimono sleeves are supposed to have shoulder pads, which I didn’t bother with, but they may have made my waist appear smaller (on the other hand, I may have just looked like the Hulk).


Several changes were made to this pattern. We moved the zip from the side to the back, did a sway back adjustment, took a bit of length out of the bodice, removed the neck facings, and took a rather strange set of gathers from under the tunic (the gathered fabric in the front).  I did originally toile the pattern with the gathers but I looked like a lopsided milk maid with a pannier on only one side! The neckline was also dropped a fair bit, as it was choking me.


I chose a lovely drapey, swishy, spotted rayon from my stash. I bought this in Spotlight aeons ago, and it must have been cheap because I have quite a bit of it.

Every edge, except the neck edge, has been finished with a hand-rolled hem. I haven’t done this forever; in fact I may never have done it before. I used the excellent Megan Nielsen tutorial, choosing the third, hand sewn, option, and it is rather magical and addictive. Here is a rather feeble attempt at showing off my hand rolling.


The above photo highlights my belt buckle. This was given to me by my mother and is from the 1930s. It is not metal, but some sort of bakelite. It is gorgeous.

The neck edge is finished with bias binding. I did start out with self binding but I felt that the spots showed through, so I unpicked it and put in plain bias from my stash.

This dress is much longer than I would normally wear and I was rather concerned that I might look frumpy, but I think it needs the extra length to add the required elegance for a cocktail dress. I don’t consider this version a cocktail dress. I would wear it for lunch and dinner a deux, but I will make a more dressy version eventually. This dress ticks off another make towards my vintage pledge. I am a bit behind on this challenge, but I have a few plans!DSC05573

These photos were taken in the club lounge of the Marriott Hotel, Mumbai, India, looking out onto the Arabian Sea. I’m a bit behind on the posts as I am now well ensconced in Sri Lanka!


23 thoughts on “1947 Vogue cocktail dress

  1. Looks lovely Sue. After trawling Perth for several weeks for a suitable cocktail outfit – I really appreciate this!

  2. Very elegant, especially with these shoes. I can’t help but notice your predilection for culinary backdrops during this trip. India seems like a paradise for foodies!

  3. Lovely! I am trying not to freak, but I think the store that is stamped on your pattern is the wonderful Brandies from my hometown of Omaha Nebraska. It was a department store that went out of business in the 90’s (I think, I lived out of town at the time) anyway, I worked there in the 1970’s. Small world if it is. Amie

    1. It probably is the same shop Amie. I bought the pattern on Etsy, and I notice that the identical pattern envelope is the one used on vintage patterns.wikia. It is lovely to find out a little something about the origins of this pattern, and to think about the fact that it has finished up on the other side of the world in Australia!

      1. So cool. it’s sort of amazing, isn’t it?
        Brandeis was an institution here in Omaha. I have many found memories shopping with my mom and then working there as a high schooler. They had the best cafe in the basement. The store was downtown, always a fun trip for me to go there when I was young. I remember buying patterns and fabric on the fourth floor with my mom. There was a sales lady in that department who gave knitting lessons, and she taught my mom how to knit. Mom had cancer, and the knitting provided a distraction and something she could do while sick fighting the cancer. She did not survive, and I still have her afghans around the house, I love them. The elevators were Victorian, and a little scary. Santa would hold court pre Christmas in a winter wonderland on the top floor. Oh my, so many memories!
        This dress is great on you, you look lovely!


  4. I think it looks lovely! I think the adjustments were appropriate.
    I am quite jealous of your shoes, and that belt buckle is beautiful!
    Looking forward to the next make 🙂

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