Sew For Victory – 1946 Hollywood Bird Dress


Here it is! My final Sew For Victory dress inspired by a 1946 Hollywood Pattern that I bought from The Blue Gardenia. I had originally planned to make a different dress, but when I saw the fabric featured on the front of the pattern I knew this was the one. I never would have pictured this fabric in the 1940′s, yet there it was. It’s such a beautiful print. Thanks to Spoonflower and Photoshop, I recreated the design and did my best to bring this dress back to life.










The print isn’t an exact copy, but I’m still rather proud with the way it turned out. I made two significant changes to the dress pattern by altering the neck line and exchanging the back zipper for a key hole with a button and loop closure, but other than that the pattern is the original shape. I’m not thrilled with the way the centered zipper looks at the side, but I am happy with how my self drafted neck facing turned out. I used a whip stitch on the bottom hem (my first time doing so) and it’s not perfect but it’s mostly invisible so I’m happy with that, too. Also a first for me was using shoulder pads in a dress! I’m so glad I went with the 1/4 inch size because they’re pretty incognito, yet still give the right structure. The fabric content is organic cotton sateen which I’m very pleased with as far as weight and drape. I’ve made this print available on Spoonflower for anyone else who’d like to make this dress.

I put so much pressure on myself to make this vision become a reality so I’m truly relieved to have finished it. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE this dress, but I felt it sort of looming over me for the majority of the sew along. Do you ever have sewing projects like that? Regardless, it’s finished and I’m happy so it’s time to move on to the next project. Sew For Victory has been a blast and I can’t describe how happy it’s made me to sew along with so many amazing seamstresses who are interested in my favorite era. You are all amazing.

Sew For Victory wraps up on the 1st of April so get your finished project photos to the Flickr pool! I’ll be collecting everyone’s pictures and including them in one big SFV parade post soon.

Have a great weekend,


shoes: payless, belt: Goodwill, hair: voguewigs (length altered by me)


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98 Responses to Sew For Victory – 1946 Hollywood Bird Dress

  1. Rosa Crumpton April 11, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    What a great dress! You did an awesome job!

  2. Gardenia_grrl April 9, 2013 at 12:38 am #

    This is so cool. The fabric is just gorgeous. Love the oxfords, too.

  3. sallieforrer April 7, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    So sorry I’m late to commenting! But this is just gorgeous! I can’t believe you replicated the exact fabric from the pattern envelope!! You are just genius! I’m so SO impressed! Well done Rochelle! You look simply stunning in your spring-y 40′s ensemble!

  4. Virginia Perry Daffron April 6, 2013 at 7:53 am #

    Victory, indeed! Your dress is a triumph. The print is so glorious, and it’s perfect for you, with your height and slimness. Truly elegant.

  5. Wendy April 5, 2013 at 9:17 am #

    Wow what a beautiful creation, I just love that you made your own fabric, it looks so perfect! Thats what I mean by being a pro, no one would ever tell how cold it was, as you look so elegant and relaxed! :)

  6. Paunnet April 3, 2013 at 4:07 am #

    Amazing, Rochelle! I love that you recreated the same fabric as the one on the envelope!

  7. Hannah Cohen April 2, 2013 at 10:28 am #

    The dress is gorgeous, the fabric is gorgeous, your photos are gorgeous! Great stuff!

  8. Maggie Smith April 2, 2013 at 10:02 am #

    This is just fantastic! I have never made my own fabric on Spoonflower, but I just love the way this turned out! Great job!!

    • Rochelle New April 2, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

      Thank you! Spoonflower can be addicting once you get started ;)

  9. Danielle April 2, 2013 at 6:43 am #

    Wow! This is just amazing! And printing your own pattern is just taking it to a whole new level… :)

  10. Rebecca Wagner April 1, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

    Wow!! That looks great. Love the print

  11. Miss Crayola Creepy April 1, 2013 at 6:04 pm #


  12. Lauren April 1, 2013 at 5:32 pm #

    Damn girl, that turned out pretty freaking awesome! Way to bring that dress right into the 21st century… where it needs to be. Too pretty to just exist on a pattern envelope :)

    • Rochelle New April 2, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

      Thanks! Now that I know it’s possible I have a sudden urge to MAKE ALL THE FABRIC!!!!

  13. Hazel April 1, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    This is AMAZING! The fabric is awesome and the dress really does look like the pattern cover, love it!

  14. Craft Sanctuary April 1, 2013 at 3:22 pm #

    I’m so impressed with how well the fabric matches up. You’re AMAZING! Love the dress as well, it looks great on you!

  15. Sarah Lee April 1, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

    Gorgeous dress! I’ve always wanted to design some fabrics via Spoonflower, but I never thought about reproducing 1940s prints. What a wonderful idea!
    I also loved your shoes! Thank you so much for mentioning they were from Payless. Even though they’re sold out online, I managed to find the last pair (in my size even!) at a store in my area. Yippee! They are pretty darn comfy too, which is saying a lot for my poor high arches. Do you have any other sites you go to for looking for ’40s shoes?

    • Rochelle New April 2, 2013 at 9:52 pm #

      Thanks! That’s awesome you found the shoes! Real 40′s inspired shoes can be really hit or miss so I just study vintage examples and try to get lucky! Modcloth has some, and Miss L Fire has some gorgeous examples but both are pretty far out of my price range. I keep my eye out at payless and second hand stores :)

  16. Ginger April 1, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

    What a great dress! I love it! I’m so digging everyone’s SfV projects!!

    • Rochelle New April 2, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

      Thanks! And yeah I’m totally blown away with the projects in the Flickr pool. Everyone did such an amazing job!

  17. Becca April 1, 2013 at 10:28 am #

    So lovely! I just love that you recreated the fabric from the dress on the pattern envelope. The dress is so flattering and flirty. Thanks for hosting the sew along!

    • Rochelle New April 2, 2013 at 10:05 pm #

      Thank you, I’m really happy with the way it turned out. It’s been a pleasure sewing along with everyone, and I’m one happy host because of it! Thank you for participating :)

  18. Emily Stringham April 1, 2013 at 9:29 am #

    Looks great! I love that you were able to reproduce the fabric, that’s fantastic!

  19. Katie Duncan April 1, 2013 at 8:22 am #

    It looks sooooo amazing!! great job! : )

  20. Debi_myhappysewingplace April 1, 2013 at 4:21 am #

    OMG! I just LOVE that you recreated this dress, fabric and all! It’s absolutely stunning!! I hope you’ll be selling the fabric???

    • Rochelle New April 2, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

      Thanks, Debi! Yes, the fabric is available to everyone on Spoonflower now :)

  21. Jessica Cangiano April 1, 2013 at 12:06 am #

    Oh Rochelle, it’s simply magnificent! From the cheerful colour palette to the fluttery sleeves, this dress is an absolute dream. Stellar job, dear gal!

    Wishing you a beautiful start of April!

    ♥ Jessica

    • Rochelle New April 2, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

      Thank you, Dear :) A happiest April to you, too!

  22. Charlotte Boyer March 31, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

    Fabulous, simply fabulous! I especially like how you recreated the print!! Love both the style and fabric :)

  23. unlabelled clothes March 31, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

    It’s so beautiful and cheery.

  24. Brigid March 31, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

    Oh, Rochelle! I love it! It turned out beautiful!!! You did an awesome job! Thank you again SO much for hosting this sew along. It has been great!

    • Rochelle New April 2, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

      Thanks Brigid! And thank you for being such an awesome participant. It’s been so fun watching your inspirations up to your final dress. You did an awesome job as well :)

  25. Sean MacKenzie March 31, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

    I have those same shoes, Love them!! I love your wig. I finally read the last line and was astonished. Wigs are so much fun!

    The Fictionista

    • Rochelle New April 2, 2013 at 10:10 pm #

      Thank you! Yeah I think I have more wigs than shoes ;)

  26. ShanniLoves... March 31, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

    Wow wee you actually made the fabric too!? Awesome! It looks just like the pattern photo!! Great job! I love it!

  27. Lorelai March 31, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

    I absolutely adore this dress! You did such a good job matching your fabric design to the line art. Off to post my dress!

  28. Joanne Lambert March 31, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

    gorgeous! can’t believe you designed the fabric too!

  29. ozzyblackbeard March 31, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    Your dress is gorgeous! I absolutely love the fabric, what a brilliant idea. Also, and completely beside the point(!), the backgrounds in your photos are beautiful. Lynne

    • Rochelle New April 2, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

      Thank you! I live in such a beautiful little area so I try to include some of its charm in my posts. I’m glad you noticed :)

  30. Amanda M. March 31, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    You are amazing! I can’t believe you actually replicated the fabric.

    • Rochelle New April 2, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

      Thanks! I kinda can’t believe it either haha! :)

  31. Julia Bobbin March 31, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    Absolutely stunning! You are just picture perfect! A real winner! X

  32. Sara Jolie March 31, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    adorable! I love it!

  33. Carlee McTavish March 31, 2013 at 9:41 am #

    Rochelle, this is absolutely amazing! And what an awesome idea to use Photoshop to make the fabric on Spoonflower! I’m at a loss for words…simply beautiful!

  34. Christi Polk March 31, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    This is beautiful!! :D

  35. Jane March 31, 2013 at 7:22 am #

    An amazing achievement Rochelle, your dress is truly beautiful, as is the fabric. I especially love that last photo. Thanks again for being such a wonderful sewalong host. x

    • Rochelle New April 2, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

      Thank you, the pleasure was all mine. It’s been so much fun to watch everyone’s progress in the Flickr pool. There will definitely be more Sew For Victory’s in the future!

  36. Donna Hensley March 31, 2013 at 6:46 am #

    It’s gorgeous! Spoonflower is a wonder :)

    • Rochelle New April 2, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

      Isn’t it? It’s such a wonderful service to provide people. I’m hooked!

  37. Anthea March 31, 2013 at 4:37 am #

    Amazing dress, and the fabric is sooo lovely! What a great idea to use spoonflower to get the same fabric as the pattern envelope!

  38. Sassy T March 31, 2013 at 4:25 am #

    Amazing!!! It looks identical in the pic especially the top one. Wow.

  39. Kat Sultanie March 31, 2013 at 3:48 am #

    Omg this is awesome! I love that you made the fabric the same as the pattern envelope. That is so cute. It’s gorgeous fabric too! And those shoes are super cute.

  40. Rowena Devonport March 31, 2013 at 3:47 am #

    That fabric is amazing! It’s a beautiful dress and the colour really suits you.
    I wish I could sew something as wonderful as that. I’m still on the real basics though :(

    • Rochelle New April 2, 2013 at 10:15 pm #

      Thank you :) This dress was actually pretty simple to put together. Everyone has to start sewing somewhere. Just stick with it and you’ll be passed the basics in no time at all. xo

  41. Katy Stillwell March 31, 2013 at 3:34 am #

    Wow, I love the fabric! I can’t believe you designed it, I think I’m going to have to get some. The dress is gorgeous too! I wish I had been able to take part!

    • Rochelle New April 2, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

      Thank you! There will be many more 40′s sew alongs in the future so hopefully you’ll be able to join us on at least one :)

  42. Sabs March 31, 2013 at 2:46 am #

    I’m really impressed that you got the fabric spot on. The dress looks gorgeous!

  43. thequirkypeach March 30, 2013 at 11:51 pm #

    This dress is amazing!!! I love spoonflower, and bravo on the idea to recreate the fabric yourself – it really is perfect! :)

    • Rochelle New April 2, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

      Thank you! Each time I use Spoonflower I love it more and more :)

  44. Chillmer March 30, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

    It’s incredible! I have always wished I could buy the fabric on pattern envelopes, and I never thought to recreate it from Spoonflower. That is such a great idea! It turned out really, really beautiful.

    • Rochelle New April 2, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

      Thank you :) I have to say, it’s pretty cool to be able to make your own fabric. I’m hooked!

  45. Tasha @ By gum, by golly! March 30, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

    Oh Rochelle you really outdid yourself, I just love how it came out!! The fabric really just is perfect. It looks beautiful on you and I adore that photo of you with the pattern in the foreground,

    You’ve led such an inspiring sewalong, thank you for all your hard work!!

    • Rochelle New April 2, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

      Thank you, Dear. You KNOW I struggled with this along the way lol so I really appreciate your sweet words of encouragement. I’m looking forward to more different “…For Victory” schemes in the future ;) ;) xo

  46. Loran Watkins March 30, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

    This is just too cha-cha for words!! I LOVE the fabric and may have to make myself a skirt. I’ve not tried Spoonflower yet but you’ve inspired me : ) I think I’ll just keep looking at your pics…

    • Rochelle New March 30, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

      Thanks Loran :) Spoonflower is pretty neat I have to say. I’m working on some more 40s fabrics to add to my shop there. Being able to create your own fabric is addicting!

  47. Lauren VsTheMachine March 30, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

    Absolutely gorgeous! The photo’s are lovely : ) Well done!

  48. Rachel Proffitt March 30, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

    This dress turned out to be lovely Rochelle! The only thing missing is your companion dog ;) I don’t blame you for changing the neck. I have a huge dislike of tops that come too close to my neck. Probably because the last two I made with high necks rubbed my neck raw! But this is beautiful- the print and the flutter sleeves- everything :)

    Watch out for a couple from me tomorrow ;) Our Easter outfits are vintage!

    • Rochelle New March 30, 2013 at 10:29 pm #

      Oh don’t worry, Lucille was there too. She and my brother were too busy checking things out on the beach to be bothered with photos though ;) I agree about the neckline, this one was so tight it hurt! Can’t wait to see your photos :)

  49. HouseOFpinheiro March 30, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

    Wowwwwwwww this turned beautiful

  50. March 30, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

    Swoooooooooon! Rochelle, this is simply stunning! I can’t believe you created a near replica of the fabric too…as of now, I am saving up some cash to snap a couple of yards up. It’s so delicious! Anyway, you look every bit the 40s vixen, love your photos!!!

  51. Mary Nease March 30, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

    Oh, my, I forgot that the deadline’s so soon! I need to get my other dress finished now… This dress of yours is fabulous! I LOVE that you recreated the envelope fabric! And I totally have those same shoes! My puppy chewed the strap on my 40s-repro heels and now they’re in the shop, but thinking about it, those Payless shoes would go well with my 40s dress that I need to finish up this weekend.

    • Rochelle New March 30, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

      Thank you! The shoes are great and surprisingly comfortable for being so inexpensive. I love them :)


  1. my sew for victory plans | Lucky Lucille™ - March 24, 2014

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