Late 1930s/Early 1940s Yellow Floral Dress – Made by Me
1930s Straw Hat – Shepton Mallet Flea Market
Pink Straw Handbag – Marks & Spencer
White 1940s Style Shoes – Miss L Fire
1930s Jade Earrings – A Gift
Brown Seam Stockings – What Katie Did
At the weekend I headed down to my favourite 1940s event, The Dig For Victory Show. All week the Met Office had predicted that it would be dry, mostly cloudy, but chances of sunshine and I even sat and watched the BBC weather before heading out the door. The weatherman said it would be dry, with the odd shower but you’d unlucky if you had one. Note to self, never trust the weather reports!
I opened the front door, dressed in my finest summer dress, straw hat and white shoes and the heaven’s opened. I grabbed a coat and ran for the car thinking ‘Okay we’ve been unlucky but it’s only a shower’. Yeah right! It took us an hour and a half to drive to Nailsea, near Bristol, where the event is held and it poured down with rain, hard rain, the entire journey. I cannot tell you how annoyed I was!
When we finally got there we actually considered turning around and going home, but within about 10 minutes the rain actually stopped and the black clouds gave way to grey. So, in true British spirit, we soldiered on and went in and I’m so glad we did because I got to show off my newly made oh-so-summery dress. I teased the making of this dress in a previous post and everyone was so complimentary of it that I had to make sure I took some photos to show you guys. Unfortunately, the light wasn’t great but you get the idea.
This dress has instantly become a firm favourite for many reasons. Firstly is the fact that I don’t own anything else that’s yellow so it’s something very different to everything else I wear. Secondly, all the details are just gorgeous. I wanted to create a dress that could either be a 1930s Depression style dress or a 1940s Make Do and Mend style dress and I think I’ve achieved it. In fact, my mum’s first comment, before saying it was beautiful, was that it looked like a pair of old curtains!
There was so much going on with the pattern that it took quite a while to put it all together, but the instructions were so easy to follow. The lower bodice pieces, front and back, have gathers around the waist and below the yoke and this needed to be done before anything else.
After that it was inserting the mock belt and this was probably the trickiest bit. The sections that the white ties sit underneath needed to have their seam allowances pressed underneath so it could be top stitched, which was fine on the straight bits, but trying to get a nice curve at both ends was just impossible. I did wonder how hard this would’ve been for a home sewer in the 30s/40s because electric steam irons were rather scarce back then!
The front yoke was a bit tricky too for exactly the same reason, but it was a more gentle curve, so it was a little easier. However, making sure the left and right pieces were placed so the buttons and buttonholes had enough room to lie flat, as well as ensuring the pieces fitted the curve of the bodice perfectly at the same time, was a real pain. It took a bit of jiggling about but I finally lined it up perfectly and quickly top stitched it into place.
The cute little pockets (Yay, pockets!) were placed exactly as the pattern was marked and I absolutely love their jaunty slanted look. The ric rac was mentioned as an optional extra and I just knew the white cotton ric rac I had in my stash (it was bought by my mum in the 1970s!) would look amazing with this dress, so I added it wherever they suggested apart from the edge of the sleeves. I honestly didn’t think they needed it.
I teamed the dress with a new to me vintage 1930s straw hat which has beautiful fabric flowers on the right front that I picked up at the Shepton Mallet Flea Market a little while ago for about £15. It’s in really good condition, although the flowers were probably a bit happier looking when it was first made. I added a hat elastic to keep it on and it stayed completely in place all day, I didn’t even need to pin it anywhere.
I also wore my brand new white Betty shoes from Miss L Fire. These are my first ever pair of Miss L Fire’s and I absolutely love them, they’re just so authentic looking. They’re also really, really comfy. I wore them all day on Saturday and they didn’t hurt at all, even by the time I got home in the evening. I will certainly be investing in another pair of Miss L Fire’s in the future!
Thankfully, having been to Dig for Victory last year, I knew it wouldn’t be too muddy despite the weather, so wasn’t too apprehensive about wearing white shoes to an outside event in British weather. Besides one of my work colleagues had recommended a product called Crep Protect that can be sprayed on to shoes so that anything can be wiped off them and I’d used it on my Betty’s before heading out. I have to say it worked perfectly and they look like new again now.
I’m so happy with the way the dress turned out and the whole outfit was just how I pictured it in my head (Don’t you just love it when that happens?). I had loads of compliments on the day and so many people asked me to pose for a photo, including two little four year old twin girls. They were walking around with their Dad and one of them stopped and looked at me before saying, “You look like the Queen!”. Well, that totally made my day!!
I was also snapped by one of the lovely Dig For Victory volunteers (the show is put on entirely by volunteers, which is the main reason I love this event as there’s no big corporation dominating the site) and have appeared on their fabulous photos blog post. If you’re interested in going next year I highly recommend having a look at it as it covers everything they have on offer.
I met up with Sarah from Porcelina’s World and her husband who had come to the Dig For Victory Show for the first time. It was so lovely to meet them both and I was so surprised when Sarah started talking because she doesn’t have a Welsh accent! I was really expecting a gorgeous Valley’s inflection but was surprised when an English accent came out.
I was probably very embarrassing at this point because I was rather tipsy! I had just shared a bottle of Prosecco during lunch, having polished off nearly half of it, and I don’t really drink. As you can imagine, it had quite an effect on me, so I walked to the toilets where I promptly stuck my finger through one of my stockings, then came out and within about a minute I spotted Sarah. Perfect timing!
Anyway, I did manage to hold it together long enough to have a few photos done and, blimey don’t I look short, and I’m wearing heels! Hehehe! The problems of a short girl standing next to a tall one. It was so great to meet Sarah, she’s just so lovely, and of course we had a good chat about what we were wearing and what I’d already bought.
Talking of which, I spent a whopping £150 whilst I was there, mainly thanks to the fabulous Wardrobe Mistress and Top Tottie Vintage who I bump into often on my vintage travels. They both sell many pieces of 1930s clothing, with The Wardrobe Mistress mainly concentrating on clothes and Top Tottie Vintage offering all the accessories, especially an obscene amount of original hats.
In the end I bought two 1930s tops (Yay, original vintage separates!) from The Wardrobe Mistress which I’m sure will feature on the blog soon, 4 yards of original 1940s printed crepe in a pale Airforce blue, a huge white crochet collar which I’ll incorporate into something I make and the Margo Playsuit sewing pattern from Sew La Di Da Vintage. I fell in love with this pattern ages ago and had always planned to order it at some point, however, they were selling at the show and everything was at a special price, so it was hard to say no!
I had such a fabulous day, I’m so pleased we decided to go in, and I’ve already the dates for next year in my diary!