The 1940s Minnado Dress: N.R.F.O.

Hello everyone, thank you for your kind comments last time & sorry I’ve been a bit quiet on the visiting/ commenting front.  It’ll get back to normal soon.

Today I’m going to show you my 1940s Minnado dress (N.R.F.O).

Warning – picture heavy post….are you sitting comfortably?

This if you’ll remember was fabric gifted me by the wonderful Debbie at Minnado’s House (hence the tribute name).  It’s synthetic, but hangs beautifully, doesn’t fray too badly but has been pretty tough to sew with a very sharp (new) machine needle & hand sewing …phewee …it was definitely thimble-ville.

Anyway, this was a pretty slow make for me – I only managed to find bits of time to spend on it.  I was also happy to do lots by hand in tandem with the gorgeous weather we were / are having (touches wood).

It was only after I’d cut the dress out (I was driving somewhere if I remember correctly) when realisation dawned.  I’d not even traced this pattern, for shame, & there I was sewing some ancient living history, 7o years old no less.  I feel embarrassed & ashamed admitting it.  Perhaps I should have made an extra effort in this case & traced it.  Too late, no point dwelling on it now.

I was intrigued by the shapes of the pattern for making the yoke – it has gathers on the front & back – purty!  These pieces involved sewing right angled seams to join the bodice with the yoke.

Interesting.

The sleeves are also cleverly part of this right angled seaming, being part of a yoke that spans over the shoulder from front to back like this below.

Other interesting construction details – there is a waistband, however it was not faced or interfaced.  I didn’t like the idea of the inside showing all the seams & so cut extra pieces to face it.

Instead of front darts there are a couple of soft waist pleats each side.

The sleeves are hemmed with bias binding, as is the back of the neck.  In some of the pictures you might catch a glimpse of it – red.  There again maybe I should have used navy, but I didn’t have enough!

The dress is button up from the waist, but also has a side bodice to hip placket fastened with press studs.  This seems common with vintage dresses – like my “Too old for school “ dress.

It has a notched collar & if I’d had enough rick rack I think I would have piped it, however am glad that I didn’t.  I used rick rack for the waistband & that amounted to approx 3m of the stuff.   Speaking of the waistband, I struggled with this to get a neat finish – there was some differential between the facing & the outside that resulted in some ballooning that even ironing the sh*t out of (in the manner of Lladybird) would not rectify.   It has shoulder pads that surprisingly do not feel too Alexis Carrington when being worn.  It is a lovely swishy dress to wear.

So, this is it.  What do you think?  Now I need to explain what N.R.F.O.  or perhaps you can see for yourself….

Without that belt its true colours are revealed.  I feel like a waif in it.  Without the belt on you can see that it is MILES too big around the waist.  About 7” in fact.  Which is extremely comfortable when you’re feeling sticky in the heat.  It evokes war time rationing doesn’t it?

And why?  I made the cardinal sin of not trying it on after I’d made the bodice.  Positioning it on Barbarella didn’t ring any alarm bells.  Why?  Not sure.

Check out my salad patch.  Them broad beans are now taller than me & the scent of the sweet peas is delicious.  I keep cutting them to encourage more flowers…

It was funny.  I paraded into the room & showed Gary & he looked quizzically on.  I knew I had to extract his true thoughts.  But he is so diplomatic & careful not to get me on the defensive.  Eventually he said “It’s a bit big isn’t it?”  and then he became braver & said “there’s something of the overall about it”  but then he said “and your red lipstick.  I think it might be that because your face is so tanned wearing that lipstick makes you look like you’re wearing loads of slap”  ha ha ha !!

Luckily his truth was my truth (although I hadn’t reckoned on the make-up commentary!).  I need to take the skirt off the bodice & get it to fit.  That is if I can’t manage to wangle a nifty side seam adjustment.  But then for 7” I think that’s a bit too cavalier & certainly totally disrespecting the pattern & the fabric.  So there you are.  Worked out what N.R.F.O yet?

That’s it “Not Really Finished Object”

 

 

44 thoughts on “The 1940s Minnado Dress: N.R.F.O.

  1. Lauren

    Oh, it looks good on you! Bummer about the size – isn’t that such a weird/crappy thing about patterns? This is why I tissue-fit, muslin, *and* baste/test fit throughout the sewing process. I think yours looks fine with the belt, although you should def try to get the skirt off so you can sew up the side seams a little… it’s wayy too cute to let it languish in the closet unworn :)

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Thanks Lauren, yeah, I promise faithfully, hand on heart that I will not let it languish too long. I do really love it ….& I guess this time I have been caught out in my ultra laziness! Grr!

      Reply
    2. Roxy

      I can’t believe you manage to do all that testing and fitting and produce SO many garments. You are one super lady that’s for sure!! (But shows why everything you make fits so well).

      Good luck on the adjustments. this dress is too lovely to remain an NRFO!!

      Reply
  2. Sam

    Oh, it looks fabulous on you! I hope you can sort the waist issue without too much trouble, it will definitely be worth it! Although I’m sure it’s perfect as it is for this hot sticky weather.

    I love the red bias tape finishing the sleeves, and that yoke/sleeve seaming is gorgeous. I’m getting a real love of vintage patterns, must find one to make for myself soon.

    Oh… and I personally love red lips with a tan!

    Reply
  3. Jane

    I was truly shocked when you revealed the ‘without belt’ photo and explanation (it was a bit like the twist at the end of Sixth Sense!) I honestly had no idea as it looked so good with the belt on! Easier said than done, but I think it would be worth the heartache and pain-in-the arse-ness to take the skirt off to rectify the size issue, as it’s such a beautiful dress in so many ways.
    Or if it’s destined to languish, forever unworn, then I know somebody of the same height as you, but a bit curvier, who would pay good money to have it in her clutches…! x

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Ha ha Jane! Good point ….I will try to make it smaller though, but thanks for the offer ;-)
      As some of the other commenters have suggested, maybe I don’t have to take the full 7″ off to keep that “granny” feel but less sacklike :-)

      Reply
  4. Roobeedoo

    Am I allowed to say you look like my granny? I mean that as a compliment! Seriously, I don’t think it is meant to “fit” in the way you are expecting. I think it is meant to skim the figure rather than hug it. I like it! But I can see that you might not want that sort of “comfy shoes” look if you are keeping it at the below-knee length. It would look very cute at that width but much shorter… but then it would lose its vintage-ness! Ah problems problems! You’ll work it out! :)

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      This made me laugh Roo! It is exactly what I had in mind when I tried it on ….not only comfy shoes but weighty boobs filling out the waist pleats & the picture is complete!!!

      Reply
      1. didyoumakethat

        Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Winnie, you have brought unwelcome images flashing into my mind with the ‘weighty boobs’ comment. Roo may have a point with this dress not needing to be super-fitted. Like Jane, I was totally shocked when you did your ‘without belt’ reveal. Oh, and sweet peas – how I love sweet peas. I’ve grown a few meagre stalks this summer for the first time in years. Next summer I’m going to go for it! Don’t they smell divine? Talking of grandmas, my grandma grew loads and loads of them up canes every year. Can’t see a sweetpea without thinking of Grandma Beecroft!

        Reply
        1. scruffybadgertime Post author

          Ha ha again! Weighty boobs funnies (Les Dawson anyone?) I am really enjoying my sweet peas & I love that you need to cut them lots to keep them flowering, meaning I have sweet peas inside the house spreading sweet pea scent …lovely (I didnt grow from seed though, hence their success I’ll bet)

          Reply
  5. Katy

    I think your dress looks great and works well with the fabric. I wouldn’t have known it was too big until you pointed it out!

    Reply
  6. Sigrid

    It’s a lovely dress, but I can see how the fit is problematic for you. I think my grandma used to have dresses that looked like this. There was a waist defined by the styling, but it hung pretty loose so that you could work in your garden, tote water to the chickens, and all that. And since a guy noticed, those 7 inches might be a bit much.

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Ha ha! Yes indeed – there is definitely something of the granny about it – maybe that’s what drew me to my veg patch …I felt a bit of domesticity coming over me

      Reply
    2. Susan

      Oh yes Sigrid, I remember my grandmothers in similar dresses. I agree about the ease being there so they could work in them. Of course most women never wore trousers even to dig up potatoes! It was only young women who wore them in WWII, for factory and land work, ordinary housewives stayed in their frocks.

      Reply
      1. scruffybadgertime Post author

        I am hearing all this “not too fitted” commentary & it’s good. I follow what you’re saying & agree…however, 7″ + of ease at the waist feels too big :-(
        I think I still have some work to do :-(

        Reply
  7. Marie

    Hehe, love NRFO Winnie! Your belt really hid your sizing issue perfectly, I would have never guessed! It’s such a beautiful dress, hope you manage to tweak it soon ;o)

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      I’m glad the pops of red work – I was unsure – possibly because the red sleeve hems were down to my laziness / impatience (hmmm, should I spot the theme here?!)

      Reply
  8. Sherry

    Oh it’s so gorgeous – I love the red ric rac and buttons. If you are not going to wear it like is with the belt, then hey, it will be a waste to not take it in at the waist!
    I made a 1940′s dress that felt a bit granny-ish (it had side seam snaps too!), and have decided after a few months that it simply needed shortening to knee length to make it a bit sassier – sometimes it just takes one little thing!

    Reply
  9. Kerry

    It’s got a lovely vintage feel to it, and the touches of red looks great. It’s a shame about the sizing issue but it does look lovely with a belt, if you don’t get round to fixing it. But you should definitely not let it languish in the cupboard!

    Reply
  10. MrsC

    Oh Winnie wouldn’t it just bust your boiler! Dreadful but pragmatic suggestion – elasticate the waist! hehehe Although I suspect that would be a step too far down the granny style road ;-)
    I know exactly the fabric of which you speak, it is polyester and I’ve blunted a few needles and used a fair bit of bad language over it in my time But this stuff is sooo preetty! Well worth the fix.

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Ha ha – my boiler was broken whilst making this – that’s funny too (not quite as funny as elasticating the waist! Although I can see how practical that would be …..)

      Reply
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  12. Lynne

    It’s gorgeous! I love the pleats at the shoulders and back. I too was shocked at the “without belt” photos, because it looks great with the belt. Good luck with the alterations. :)

    Reply
  13. Helen Made

    Such a shame about the fit issues, but I think the dress looks good none the less. Definitely think its worth taking the skirt in a bit though so that you might be more likely to wear it – it’s far to pretty to just leave hanging in the wardrobe!

    Reply
  14. Rehanon

    Ah darn about the fit but it is a lovely dress on you :) And the addition of red lippy and red wedges is a stroke of genius. You look so well you should be on the tourist board brochure for Blighty :)

    xxx

    Reply
  15. Joy

    It’s so pretty! Too bad it’s too big, although it’s hard to tell from the photos and the navy color. Better than too small? I made a jacket with that same right angle sleeve/bodice connection and it was very tricky to get a neat seam. Hopefully it was easier in a drapier fabric.

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Hi joy. Gulp, sewing that seam in a thicker fabric sounds really challenging! I was daunted enough by the dress seam, don’t think I’d like to do it in jacket weight fabric!
      Agreed, if it’s too big I can alter it can’t I? Too small and I’d be stuck for options…

      Reply

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