Help Me Choose Which 1940s Style Dress To Buy!

Choosing my 1940s style Evelyn Wood Dress

I need your help dear friends. You may remember back in my February vintage on the web post that I’d come across the amazing dresses by Australian designer, Evelyn Wood. Well, ever since, I have saving my pennies so I can actually purchase one. And, when I say pennies, I mean lots of pounds, £190 to be exact. Yes, I know it sounds like a huge amount of money to spend on one dress, but let me explain.

These dresses are special, really special. If you want something that looks and feels like a genuine piece of good quality vintage that’s actually brand new, then this is the designer for you. Evelyn Wood really knows her stuff. She uses techniques that died out in most garments long ago with the introduction of mass production and gives her products something that is truly unique for this price range. So what makes them so special?

Quality Fabric

These days cheap fabrics such as polyester or Lycra are used in a lot of fashion garments. Whilst they are very practical for modern-day living, as they tend not to crease and can just be thrown into the washing machine, they don’t have the same quality that appeared in vintage clothing. Evelyn uses beautiful vintage feel fabrics such as rayon crepe, cotton velvet, 100% cotton and 100% linen to allow a more authentic cut and feel.

Large Open Seams

Take a look at any pre-60s garment and you can bet your life the seams are left open, are pressed flat against the fabric and have a good sized allowance so it has enough leeway if you want to let it out. Older garments have seams that are clipped along the edges with pinking sears to stop fraying or are hand sewn with a zig-zag stitch for extra strengthening. Modern garments have closed seams that are overlocked together with usually less than 1/2 a centimetre allowance so there’s no chance of letting it out. Evelyn Wood garments use the pre-60s technique but the seam edges are overlocked for extra strength.

Large Invisible Hems

Hems on modern day garments are generally very tiny, a centimetre or two of turn up edged with a row of overlocked stitching to stop it fraying. More often than not it is secured to the garments with a line of straight stitching that shows on the outside. Pre-60s hems are very different. These were at least 2″ wide to allow for lengthening if required and gave them added weight at the bottom which, for lightweight fabrics, helped to stop them from blowing up in the wind. There was no overlocking in sight and instead the hem was either completed doubled on itself or was trimmed on the edges with rayon tape and then gently tacked to the garment with invisible stitching . Evelyn has opted for the beautiful rayon taped trim method to give her garments that extra special touch.

Metal Side Zips

Plastic zips were invented in the 1940s but still remained unpopular until the cheap mass-produced clothing came into fashion during the 60s and the first invisible zip didn’t even come into production until 1958. You will always know if an item is genuine vintage by its zip as it will be a metal one much like the ones you get in a pair of jeans. Zips were also very commonly placed on the side seam of a dress, rather than the centre back, although this started to be the norm in the late 1950s. All Evelyn Wood dresses have a side metal zip for authenticity.

Rope Belt Loops

Rope belt loops are created using the same colour thread as the garment and knotting it in a way that creates a delicate rope. This is then inserted into the side seam to create the belt loop. These are still seen in modern day clothing but for cheaper garments a matching fabric belt loop which is sewn on after the seams have been finished is the preference. This techniques makes them look rather bulky and I have a habit of unpicking and removing them because I think they’re ugly. Evelyn, of course, chooses the former as you’d expect.

Covered Matching Belts and Buttons

Creating buttons and belts in the same matching fabric is seen less and less these days which is a real shame as it always gives a garment a seriously stylish finish, making it look expensive. Unfortunately these days cheap plastic faux leather or patent belts, generally in black no matter what colour the garment is, and very boring plastic buttons have become the norm. Thankfully on the Evelyn Wood pieces the buttons and belt are made in exactly the same or contrasting fabric as the dress.

As a seamstress all of these points get me really excited as I know they will help to create a dress that not only looks authentically vintage but also will be of very high standard. In my eyes that makes them well worth the money, especially as they are handmade to order so you feel your dress is being made especially for you. I recently spotted Nora from Nora Finds on Instagram wearing an Evelyn Wood Lucille coat dress and when I mentioned I would be buying a Darla dress she said I definitely would not be disappointed. I was completely sold.

So, what I need from you my lovelies is your help choosing which one to buy. You see the Darla 1940s style dress, which is the one I have completely fallen in love with, comes in six, yes six, different colourways. I’ve already discounted the grey as it’s a colour that doesn’t always suit me as it can wash me out if I don’t wear it with a bright colour, but I love all of the others, so I’m really struggling. And here are the choices.

Darla 1940s style dress in navy and white spots

The Blue Polka is made in a navy lightweight rayon/nylon mix fabric with a polka dot pattern of various sizes.

Darla 1940s style dress in red and blue floral

The Spring Time Floral is 100% rayon in a red and blue floral with tiny twines of green and yellow interwoven amongst the flowers.

Darla 1940s style dress in blue

The Marine is a plain marine blue coloured medium weight, 100% rayon crepe fabric.

Darla 1940s style dress in black with pink spots

The Pink Spot is a light weight 100% rayon crepe fabric in black with a polka dot pattern that looks like tiny flowers close up.

Darla 1940s style dress in black floral

The Pop Art Floral is a soft 100% rayon fabric with a black background and a large floral print of stylised red and blue flowers.

So, which one is your favourite and which one do you think will suit me? I’d love it if you’d let me know as I cannot make up my mind!


Just a vintage gal suffering from the Golden Age syndrome. A lover of all things old, especially the 1930s, seamstress, crocheter, maker of hats and enjoys rummaging at flea markets.


  1. I reckon the Marine or one of the florals – the blues would look beautiful with your hair.

    I’d seen her on Etsy, I hadn’t realised she had a standalone webshop too. Such lovely designs – I agree with you completely on the importance of the little details like covered belts and buttons, they do make such a difference.

    • It was the Marine one that initially drew me to her designs but then I saw the others and was suddenly thrown into a flux!

  2. Oh Cate,
    What have you done! I had to have a sneakeypeak at the Evelyn Wood site and I am now hopelessly in love with a 1950’s dress called Mabel which also happens to be the name of my beautiful Morris Traveller.
    However, I digress, I kept going to the Marine dress for you but I think you would look stunning in the Spring Time Floral.

    Cant wait to see you modelling whichever one you choose, you will carry it off beautifully.

    • Sorry. No, I’m not really! The Mabel dress is beautiful too and if I ever order one of those I already know I’d go for the green as it’s just gorgeous.

      Love that you have a Morris Traveller called Mabel! I have a Mini (new model unfortunately) called Milo!!


      • Hi Cate,
        I have already sent the website to two of my friends and they are going to be drooling over the dresses too, I am not sorry either!
        My friends son is called Milo, great choice.
        I also went for the green, very classy.
        I tend to wear 50’s. I love the 40’s style but I have a fuller figure so the 50’s suits me more.
        You are so right about the workmanship and quality I think the dresses are worth the money and will definitely be saving my pennies for one ( or maybe two).

        Please let us know when you have decided.

        Des xx

  3. It is a tough choice as they are all lovely. I can narrow it down to two, the spring floral or the marine. The spring floral is very pretty but I can see that the marine may possibly make more outfits depending on how you accessorise it. I look forward to seeing which you pick.

    • I think they’re my favourites too. You’re right with the Marine one being able to be mixed with more things. I think I’m narrowing it down and nearly ready to make my purchase. I really hope I make the right decision!!

      • Morning Cate,
        I think it will be the Marine, it seems to be the one that draws you in first and as you said it is more versatile, there is something very classy about it.

        Des xx

        • I think I’m definitely leaning that way now. Most people seem to prefer the marine, so I think it’s going to be a good choice.

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