Friday, March 24, 2017

Pattern Review: Advance 4779 (1949 shirtdress)

My latest project is a vintage pattern, Advance 4779, a 1940's shirtdress.  I loved the snazzy pocket detailing and had to make one of my own. 
Naturally, this shirtdress lends itself to some film noir styling.
Look!  I'm a wanted criminal!
I made this dress out of brown handkerchief linen and lined it with black silk habotai.
The back is more or less unremarkable.

I predictably ran into a lot of problems fitting the bodice, since the pattern is for a 36" bust and I'm more like a 32" bust with shoulders proportioned for a 34" bust.  I had to take in an inch and a half at both of the side seams.  Predictably, this did crazy things to the armholes and I had a creative time getting the sleeves in.
Speaking of sleeves and shoulders, I decided to add shoulder pads.  The pattern called for them, and while I'm normally not a fan of such things, they subtly improved the look of the dress.  I made shoulder pads out of halfmoons of cotton batting covered in lining fabric.  I then tacked the shoulder pads to the lining of the dress.
I used vintage mother-of-pearl buttons and a vintage mother-of-pearl belt buckle.  Originally, I was hoping for dark buttons, maybe with some art deco styling, but I had these on hand so I used them. 
I love this buckle and think it fits perfectly with the aesthetic of the dress.
In retrospect, I think the light colored buttons bring out the lines of the dress, especially in the low key photos I was taking.
I made bound buttonholes in the shape of diamonds.  In retrospect, this was a bad idea, because I couldn't get the size and shape consistent.
On the other hand, it's not like you can tell unless you're inspecting the dress up close.
All the bound buttonholes took forever and put me off the entire idea of shirtdresses.  But, now that it's done, I like it so much I might have to pull out some of my other vintage shirtdress patterns.  Must....resist....!
Happy sewing!


  1. love it. and so different a look from the pattern envelope

  2. Really nice shirtdress and photos. We have the same bamboo floors.

    I'm impressed that you had the patience to do all those buttonholes in linen.