Sunday, 24 September 2017

A new CC41 dress

After the debacle that was the Dress of Frump, and the not-total-success of the green dress (although as hoped, that has improved with several washes), I really wanted a nice, easy, guaranteed successful project. So I decided to make a new CC41 dress - and not from green fabric. The original is looking a bit tired - hardly surprising as when I checked I discovered that it was made in May 2014. I thought I’d only had it for a couple of years; if I’d made it after the CC41 regulations came into force (confusingly, in 1942), it would have seen me through the war!

Just to explain, the name of the pattern came about when I decided to make a dress based on the one my mum is wearing (made either by her or her mum) in a photograph taken during World War II. In keeping with the original, I then decided to try to make the dress in line with the Civilian Clothing Regulations (CC41) in place at the time.

The inspiration - Mum is second from the left

I made a couple of changes to the pattern this time, to fix things which were annoying me; although obviously not annoying me that much, as I’ve happily worn the original for four summers! I made the bodice front a tiny bit longer at the centre, just between the darts, and I improved the fit of the skirt back by using the technique I applied to Simplicity 1777, namely putting two darts on each side. I also lengthened the skirt a bit. What I forgot to do was take any progress pictures.

The fabric featured in the original Collage of Shame back in January 2016, and I’d had it for a long time then. The small print makes it perfect for a 1940s dress, as it doesn’t waste fabric in matching up patterns. I flew in the face of the CC41 regulations however, and added trim to the collar and sleeves in the form of ric-rac. I could have just machine stitched it down the centre, but I don’t like the way the sides curl up if you do that, so instead I hand sewed it in place, loop by loop. I was especially pleased with the mitred corners in the collar. I cheated with the shoulder pads however, and used modern bought ones instead of making my own.

Ric-rac round the collar

The dress fastens with four buttons on the front, complete with hand sewn buttonholes, and a period-appropriate side placket with press studs (snaps) and a hook and loop at the waist seam - zips were forbidden under the CC41 regulations. There is an in-seam pocket on the other side.


Pockets are always good

Although I started this dress in July, for some reason it's taken until now to finish it. I did manage to wear it this weekend, though - and it's always good to have an almost unworn summer dress in the wardrobe ready to pull out when the warmer weather comes round again.

At last! A successful project!


  1. Really interesting as usual and the dress looks lovely. I like how your mum and her friends are all wearing the same pattern pretty much. And you can't beat a placket with poppers - so much nicer than a zip.

    1. Thank you Kate. Mum and the friend to her left are wearing dresses made from the same fabric. Mum told me that if fabric appeared in the shops you had to move fast and buy it - without worrying about anyone else having the same thing!

  2. A beautiful dress indeed, you just can't beat a bit of ric rac detailing. Me being me would add a bright red belt too, but then I can never go without a belt! xx

    1. Thank you Cate! The belt is pending - I deliberately cut the dress out in a way which leaves enough fabric to make one, but I'm a) looking for a red buckle and b) trying to find examples of belts with buckles from that period. Most of the CC41 examples I've found had tie belts, presumably to conserve metal for more important things. xx

  3. What fun! I love the print of the fabric and the ric rac trim! And it looks fabulous on you!!