This is the one retro dress that I seem to make over and over. It's all about the cut-on sleeves. No more set-in sleeves for Jenny!

This purple version was my Practice Dress. I made it in a cotton with some Lycra, for forgiveness. Because you just really don't know how a dress is going to fit the first time around.

In this Practice Dress, I made the overskirt, as I was instructed, sewed it on, but then later took it apart and off. The overskirt, I found, made the bottom part of the dress a little too heavy, and a little too flappy for a dancing dress.

The next time I made the dress, I thought I'd have fun. I mean, it's a vintage design, after all, eh? So, I went to a great quilt shop in Estes Park, Colorado (way up in the mountains) and bought this retro 1940s gray/white 100% cotton print. And to add a little zing, as you do, I made the sashes red. I can get away with things like that in my dancing dresses, because there's a fine line between a mere dancing dress, and an outright costume.

Here you can see how the sash is integrated into the arm. Which is interesting construction.

The back is plain, no sash detail as the sashes come from the sides to the front.

Here's the fabric, up close and personal. The dress is fine, but I won't make a dress in quilt fabric again, although there are so many nice interesting vintage retro prints available nowadays. The thing is, for a dancing dress, the quilt fabric is just too hot and heavy. We are talking vigorous dancing here. And the best thing, I believe, is the Liberty tana lawn fabric. Even the silk dupioni is a bit much.

Speak of the devil, I also made this pattern in black silk dupioni. I have ditched the overskirt for good. Now I just have the darted underskirt front, and a slightly flared skirt back.

Now this is what I like! The classic Liberty print, in yet another colorway, purchased from the secret Liberty fabric shop.

Here I am wearing the Liberty dress, with my aunt, in Italy, at the foothills of the Alps, where she lives. She is a real knitter; she knits the most amazing lace.

The next time I make this dress (and there will be a next time), I plan to ditch the side sashes. While they are integral to the design, and they do help give you some kind of waistline, which is good, the sashes tend to be a bit cumbersome for dancing. I've had partners' hands get stuck in the sash as they are swinging me (strange but true), and in the course of dancing, the sashes oftentimes get a little loose, requiring me to untie and retie in between dances. Which isn't the most ladylike thing to do at a dance.

Vogue Vintage

Pattern #2401

Original 1952 design

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