235 Sporty Forties' Dress


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Sizes XS-3XL.

Folkwear's Sporty Forties' Dress and Sweater patterns are classic examples of the ingenuity of the 1940s fashion designers. They faced fabric shortages, government regulations, and the perennial desire of women to still look their best even in wartime.  

There was a sense of patriotism, even in fashion. The government asked designers not to use unnecessary amounts of fabric, not to make extreme changes, and not to indulge in excessive trimming. The British Board of Trade conceived of "utility clothes", which were to be simple, practical, agreeable to look at, and inexpensive. The clever results are a tribute to the designer's art. Clean simple lines and fine tailoring techniques contribute to the look that is still appreciated as classic today.

Our Sporty Forties' Dress sewing pattern is a shirtwaist, buttoning all the way to just-below-the-knee hem. The bodice softly pleats from the shoulder seams and into the waistband. Both long (View B) and short sleeved versions (View A) have pleating detail at the shoulder. The skirt sports knife pleats in the front allowing freedom of movement. Two breast pockets complete the dress.  

To compliment this dress, we offer the Sporty Forties' Sweater included in this pattern, with complete knitting instructions for this cardigan. The long-sleeved sweater buttons up the front and has a shawl collar. Body and sleeves are knit in a modified basket stitch; the waistband uses stockinette. The sweater pattern can be purchased separately here, but is included in this pattern.

Suggested fabrics: 
Dress: Crisp linen or linen-like synthetics or blends, medium-weight cottons or blends, medium-weight rayon, silks, and silk noil.  
Sweater:  wool, wool blends (135-150 yards/50g skeins) or equivalent; gauge: 24sts/4" on no.7 needles.

Yardage Chart (PDF)

This pattern is available as a Paper pattern and PDF pattern.  Choose the pattern format you want in the drop down menu.  The PDF pattern has files for copy shop (36” and A0), print at home (A4 and 8.5”x11”), as well as instructions and a sweater knitting pattern.