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Wonderful Wanda Gown: 1940 Embroidered Vintage Style Dress

This post was orginally shared over at A Jennuine Life as part of the Lost Art of Sewing Series, but we are bringing it home today.

One of our sewing resolutions this year was to learn more about the "sewing lost arts". I have wanted to learn for quite some time but didn't know where to start. But when my mom's neighbor, Wanda lent me three patterns to choose from for Boston's Easter dress (ya I was about 2 months late), I picked this one. It was a good baptism by embroidery fire.

My reason for wanting to work with the lost arts of sewing is to have a connection to my sewing foremothers. One of those women who I consider a personal sewing foremother is Wanda, so for me it was a joy. It was encouraging to sew with one of her patterns, for more on that click here

For this project I used:
McCall 927- Size 1: a vintage dress pattern from the 1940's with embroidery detail along the neckline.
Main fabric: Joann's Casa Collection Glitter Satin, Calypso (I would call it Coral)
Contrasting Fabric: Legacy Unbleached Muslin
Embroidery Floss: DMC colors based on the color scheme Riley Blake Designs Promenade in Blue Floral, which I am making a skirt for me, for a coordinating mother daughter outfit.

After weeks of diligently working and weeks of tossing it off to the side because I was frustrated, I finally finished this dress!

Lost Art Resources used for this project:
Wild Olive: Embroidery basics tutorials

My neighbor Linda

I opted to do satin stitch for the outside part of the petal and chain stitching for the stem and the interior of the flower petals. French knots for the buds.

I made a few adjustments to the pattern by doing a pleated front & back instead of a gather, because I was using satin instead of a light weight cotton as the pattern called for. I also used 4 colors of thread as opposed to the 1 on the pattern examples.
There was no direction on the pattern piece for back closures so I did a exposed zipper with only the teeth showing up the back.

I opted for a bubble skirt instead of a 4 inch wide hem.

I added a pleat to the shoulder seam because the side was way too big, but she needs the extra room to be able to get it on. 
For the bloomers I took the embroidery pattern and blew it up 300 percent and instead of using 1-4 threads like I did on the bodice I used between 4-6 threads to get a bold design.
It has been a pleasure to share this project with you. I have started an English Smocking dress and have an idea for a fun summer dress using embroidery that I will be posting in the upcoming month.

With Love,
PS. If you liked this project you should check out the sweet dress that my sister, Al made with almost endless chain stitching on the bodice.


  1. This is so pretty! I love the attention to detail and the embroidery with the satin is just perfect! Great job!!!

  2. Beautiful! I'm motivated to do the same to a jacket. Love to embroider!
    Following at GFC.

    Marie @

  3. That is darling! I am stopping by from the Homemaking Party Blog Hop. Visit me at


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