A 40′s Wool Crepe Wrap Dress

I know, this dress looks strikingly similar to the 40s wrap dress that Peter made for his identical cousin Cathy earlier this month, not to mention I’ve already dabbled in wool crepe for summer wear, as well as a full 40′s wool crepe dress. Yeesh. Ya think it’s possible for me to branch out a little here? Nuh uh, no way. Not me.

Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress

I actually bought this fabric ‘way back when I was visiting Mood Fabrics in NY. I’m sure y’all are sick of hearing about it at this point, but heyyyy I’ll be working through that stash for at least the next couple of months. Just so we’re clear. Editor’s note: Wool crepe is such a fantastic year-round fabric because it’s a natural fiber that breathes. The lightweight versions are even wearable on the hottest of days—seriously!

Anyway, fabric. As I mentioned before, I wasn’t planning on buying any wool crepe – but again, Carolyn talked me into it. She’s SUCH a good enabler! This wool crepe is actually a bit thinner and drapier than most wool crepes I’ve come across, making it a good weight for a smart summer dress (oh god, did I really just describe a dress as “smart”? I am totally stuck on this 40′s thing…). With Carolyn’s advice, I underlined the entire dress in a lightweight cotton batiste, to combat the slight sheerness and make the dress more comfortable to wear in the heat.

McCall 6113

I used McCall’s 6113 to make this dress up. Isn’t the pattern gorgeous!? A friend found it in her attic (along with an entire paper grocery bag full of patterns – ranging from the 40′s to the 80′s, all in my size. I MEAN COME ON, WHAT ARE THE ODDS), and gifted the whole stash to meee! Yes!! With this particular pattern, the pieces are intact, but unfortunately… the instructions are not. Wah wah. Thankfully, I’ve made a few wrap dresses in my day, not to mention I feel fairly confident in my assemblage skills, so I decided to give it a go.

McCall 6113 - pattern piece

… this is what I found when I pulled the pieces out. Not only is everything labeled (thank you, printed patterns!), but there are construction notes printed ON the pattern sheet, AND the notches are numbered in the order that things go together. PRAISE THE LORD. Although, in all honesty… I probably could have put this together without the help. But MAN, it was nice to eliminate most of the guesswork!

Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress

Despite the pattern being in my size, I did have to make a few adjustments to get everything to fit nicely (I generally like to go down a size or two – sometimes more – since I find most patterns tend to have more ease than I prefer to wear. Yep, even vintage patterns. What gives; am I just in denial of my size or something??), mainly in the form of taking in the side seams and shortening the shoulders, as well as hacking about 5″ off the length. I made a muslin for fit, but it ended up also giving me a great idea of how the pattern was put together so I had less guesswork with my wool crepe. Which is good, since wool crepe can be a sneaky little bugger when it comes to ripping out stitches.

Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress

In hindsight, wool crepe is definitely a little on the bulky side for the gathers in this dress. I’m afraid I look a bit boxy at the waistline here :( Oh well!

Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress

I do love the little tucks in the back :)

Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress

Oh, did you notice my pretty embroidery? This all happened entirely on a whim – I finished the dress, put it on and looked in the mirror, and it just looked… red. Overwhelmingly red, and plain! I decided to add a small punch of (neutral)color by embroidering the shoulder detail. The embroidery is from the Hoop Love Vintage Transfers Flickr Group, and it’s all just a basic back stitch with french knots in the middle of the flowers. Ha, that sound so easy but it seriously took me about 6 hours to do. Embroidery is definitely a time-suck!

Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress

Here you can see the underlined inside, as well as the series of snaps and hooks that hold the dress together.

Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress

How many of you will groan if I finish this post with something like, “WELL I GUESS THAT WRAPS IT UP!!”

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Comments


  • Kim
    June 11, 2013

    Wow that embroidery looks so good on this dress! I really love the tucks underneath the emroidery. I met you at the meet-up, I was the girl from The Netherlands with the red Watson jacket, and I just started my own blog after all you inspired me, so just thought I’d say hello!

    • Lauren
      June 11, 2013

      Yes!! I remember you, I loved your Watson! So happy to see that you’re blogging now :)

  • Maggie
    June 11, 2013

    I love this dress so much. I think the added embroidery makes it!

    • Lauren
      June 11, 2013

      Thank you! Doing all that embroidery took fooooorever, but I think it was worth it!

      • Marcy
        June 11, 2013

        WORTH IT!

  • Amanda S.
    June 11, 2013

    Great job, Lauren! The fit looks perfect and I LOVE all the embroidery you did.

  • Michelle
    June 11, 2013

    At the risk of sounding redundant, the embroidery is really lovely! I got to examine some embroidery on a blouse Liz (zilredloh) did recently and it makes me want to jump on board and try it myself. Thanks for the link to the flickr group, a bit of exploring there might get me past the tipping point.

  • Carolyn
    June 11, 2013

    The embroidery is what really makes the dress sing! So it was definitely worth the 6 hours of hand work! Love this!

  • Grace
    June 11, 2013

    Your waist does NOT look boxy. Very nicely done.

  • Rachel In Red
    June 11, 2013

    Gorgeous! The color, the embroidered shoulders. yeah, I lover this dress!And btw you look great in it, not boxy!

  • Marcy
    June 11, 2013

  • Lori
    June 11, 2013

    Lauren, this is gorgeous on you and so your style. The embroidery is the perfect touch for the vintage feel. Excellent job as always.

  • Kay
    June 12, 2013

    It is a very pretty dress.

  • Diana
    June 13, 2013

    This is a really lovely dress. I love everything about it and especially the embroidery. Looks fabulous on you.

  • Peter
    June 15, 2013

    What a beautiful dress — and the embroidery is sublime!

  • Ginger
    June 15, 2013

    Really, really pretty! I love this shape on you, and for some reason I feel like I haven’t seen you in too much red, but it’s a great color on you!