I found one of my holy grail sewing patterns this year!
You’d think a “holy grail” pattern had to be some fancy couture or Polynesian number that sells for over $100 and is super rare at that, but nope. It’s a simple sundress pattern, from 1945, Simplicity 2465.
Some years back I saw the pattern without the numbers on it in some random image online somewhere, and was never able to put a pattern number to the art. I shelved it in the back of my head as one of those patterns that I’d maybe come across someday. Then through the magical world of Instagram, I happened to be talking to Mena about patterns one day, and in a side quest that related to our conversation, I just accidentally stumbled on the pattern. In my size. And $12. I bought it in a hot second.
I hung onto it for a few months, but I knew I wanted to try it this summer. In all honesty, I had pretty low expectations for the muslin. I’m short-waisted with a D cup and that historically hasn’t always played well with gathered bust styles on me… either they fit poorly (too big or too small), or accentuate the bust in a way that looks… well just looks like something I don’t want to wear. But there was something about the pattern so I was really determined to try to see through several muslins if necessary to make it work.
Lo and behold, it was almost a perfect fit right out of the envelope. I just could not believe it, I was ecstatic! And I decided that it was worth busting out a piece of vintage fabric I’d had in my stash for awhile and always kept pulling out but never felt I’d found a good enough project for it. Finally, I had the match!
I don’t even remember where I got the fabric or when, I’ve had it that long. But it’s an incredible atomic print in navy, chartreuse, and bright orange. (And true to me, so busy I couldn’t get the camera to properly focus on it *groan*.)
The bodice is boned only at the side seams and I more-or-less followed the pattern’s instructions to place it under the side seam allowances which you don’t trim down. The only difference is that instead of just placing it under the seam allowances (pressed towards the back) and topstitching on both sides, I took a cue from bra sewing in a way. I basted the inside of the boning channel just to the seam line first, so that when I topstitched from the right side, there was no chance the boning would slide around!
The construction was really pretty simple, and I love how the drawstrings look! They’re not sewn in place (though they could be), so you can adjust the drawstrings, which is kind of nice if you’re wearing a different bra or want a little more or less coverage. For example the first time I wore this I pushed the gathers in a bit more so that the upper part of the bodice curved a bit more towards the center front, whereas I noticed in these photos it was more straight across (I actually prefer it the other way).
While nothing but the side seams are boned, you can technically wear the ties in a bow and wear the dress strapless (as shown on the pattern envelope). I’d generally prefer a bit more support, but with a good strapless bra it’s actually do-able, surprisingly!
Which also means I don’t have to tie the ties so tight it’s trying to sever my head from my neck to feel comfortable in this bodice, which is obviously great, as that’s the worst part about most halters.
I was so thrilled to sew up this pattern, I launched right into a second version (this time with a sarong skirt) shortly after finishing this version. I hope to share that one soon!
Meanwhile what do you think… would this be good with a circle skirt, too?? I think it might!
dress – made by me
vintage earrings – misc.
shoes – Rocket Originals
Gorgeous! I was the most amazed to read that it fit you THAT WELL right out of the package. That must have been too thrilling for words because adjusting that pattern wouldn’t be fun – too many areas where it could go seriously awry. Love your fabric and I think circle, or even tulip skirt would be really cute.
Thank you! I was amazed that it fit me that well out of the envelope too, ha ha! Because yeah, with the bust pattern piece shapes… who knows how I would have had to alter it!
Definitely be good with a circle skirt. Fabulous pattern – and fabric.
Thank you! I’m thinking it would be nice with a circle skirt too. 🙂
Wow. Awesome fabric and a great dress. I would definitely try it with a circle skirt.
Thank you! I’m so happy I finally used this fabric!
That looks great, and very well-proportioned. Great job. I think it’d make a wonderful circle skirt, and that the sarong option should be really good too. Enjoy!
Thanks! Yes I was quite pleased with how the sarong turned out too, I’ll have to write about that one soon. 😉
Gay Housden says
Yes a lovely feminine dress and great fabric. I agree about the halter neck feeling like your head being chopped etc. Have had the same experience, can I suggest you cross straps over behind you kneck and reattach to the back of the dress with buttons and loops then it will still look like a halter kneck but be more comfortable. Or I could be wrong.
Thanks! Actually I wrote that the halter straps *don’t* do that so it’s not a problem. 🙂
Colette Godfrey says
So fabulous and I love what I’ve seen of the sarong version so far, also yes! to a circle skirt version ;o)
Thanks! Well consensus certainly seems to be it would be good with a circle skirt too. 😉
Super cute! I love it!
Thank you! 😀
Your dress looks great, but I really appreciate your size info. I’m short-waisted with an F cup, so your makes are helpful in working out if a style might suit me.
Thanks! I’m so glad you find the info helpful. I like to provide a lot of detail and part of it is for my own help and future reference (though I keep a sewing notebook for that) but part is because I hope it will help someone else out there at some point. I know I’ve learned so much about fitting from blogs and following people’s trials and tribulations!
I love it ! and good choice of fabric.
(now I want the same dress 😉 )
Ha ha thanks! 😀
Emily Kitsch says
Oh wow, this dress looks AMAZING! Love the pattern, love the atomic print fabric! I’m so glad you were able to find and sew this holy grail pattern! 🙂
Thanks! I’m so glad I was able to find it too! 🙂
Love it! I wish I had known that you were looking for this pattern, I’ve had it for years. If you’re looking for a specific pattern from late 30s to early 60s, let me know I just might have it. I can’t guarantee I can put my hands on it right away but I can check. I went through an insane pattern buying spree a few years ago.
Thanks! I certainly wasn’t on an active hunt, and it’s not like I couldn’t have posted about it on Instagram to see if anyone knew, but thankfully everything just fell into place at the right time! I should show you my Etsy “holy grail” list of the patterns I do have numbers for, ha ha! (Just kidding!!)
You definitely can. I have patterns ranging in all sizes. I bought them as reference for draping. I really want to get my vintage patterns into some sort of logical filing system. If you want me to check my stash my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Love the way this dress looks on you…perfect fit! And your shoes….oooh!
Thank you! And yes the shoes are great, I do love a good comfy wedge!
That is fabulously cute on you! Well done!
Thank you! 🙂
I just saw your dress on The Fold Line blog…made me gasp out loud! Such amazing fabric – I was hoping that it was modern…alas it was not to be. But it is an amazing dress, best one I have seen for ages. Well done!
Hi Tasha. Simply gorgeous!! How fabulous to find the pattern and also that it fit so beautifully 🙂 I’ve shared your story with our readers in our latest craft inspiration roundup. https://craftylikegranny.com/craft-creativity/ Cheers Jodie
Lovely dress, and amazing fabric, love the colours. And yes, do make it with a circle skirt. 🙂
Sherri S. Schottlaender says
Wonderful! I sell vintage patterns and I LOVE to see them sewn up! It looks fabulous!
Janey Ellis says
I am so glad you got a holy grail pattern! And I LOVE what you did with it! Such a great choice of fabric!
I have been enjoying all your variants on this. What a great fabric. It looks good strapless and with the tie around the neck.
That is a dream dress!