1940s-Does-Modern Anne Adams Dress

Summer is here, and I’ve been wearing dresses a lot lately. I’m trying to expand the number of dresses in my wardrobe and trying to incorporate more garments that make use of a pattern of some sort rather than just being a solid color. This new dress is… well, a dress, and it has a pattern! And, it’s purple with a wide skirt. What is not to like?

Robe with slip (1)

The inspiration is this Anne Adams dress pattern #4752 from the 1940s.


I love it, and really wanted to make a dress just like it. But then, I also wanted a nice full skirt just like another dress I bought from H & M years ago and wear often. Turns out that the full skirt made the angled stripes on the skirt totally impossible to pull off. I tried! It was sad looking, though, and in the end I decided I’d be much happier with the dress if I adjusted the design to accommodate my more-full-than-1940s skirt. Good decision, because I love the dress just as it is! I wouldn’t mind some day making the dress with a skirt that has less fullness and a more 1940s silhouette and trying the stripes as they are in the inspiration, but it wasn’t fated to be for this iteration.

Robe with slip
See? Because the skirt is full it’s a curved piece, which meant that the striped panel had to have darts to fit, which wrecked the line of the stripes.

Once I decided to go for the Modern-Does-1940s look I also decided not to bother with the buttons on the bodice. My dress does have topstitching like the pattern image, though you can’t really see it with all the stripes going on.

The dress is constructed from a medium weight cotton I found on the remnant table at my local fabric store for $3ish/yard. Love that price! The armholes and hems are finished with self fabric bias. The dress closes up the left side with a purple lapped zipper. If you’re going to be purple, why not be PURPLE? (Maybe I should call this the Purple People Eater Dress?)

Robe with slip (3)

The bodice is a little different than the inspiration, because I wanted to make it fit my body. Thus, both sides of the bodice are gathered into the angled waist piece to create space for the bust (in the inspiration the dress is drawn with the proper left side being flat… but that would mean also being flat chested on that side…). The other thing is that I have a shoulder seam in my dress, and I wound up gathering the front pieces at the shoulders to make the whole thing sit correctly on my body. You can see in the picture with the dress on the mannequin that it started out with no gathers on the shoulders, but it wasn’t fitting me in a flattering way, so I gave up and altered it to be comfortable.

Robe with slip (4)

The back bodice has darts and corresponding tucks in the skirt. The tucks were unintentional, added only because the skirt had stretched out and was bigger than the waistband when I went to attach them. That’s what happens when you cut corners and don’t stay stitch… But see the perfect chevrons on the side seam? They make me happy!

Robe with slip (2)

I’m wearing modern summer sandals, but I did attempt to do a nod-at-the-1940s hair style for the photos. I don’t mind the style, but clearly I need some more practice (and likely a different hair type without so much frizz) to really get a 1940s style going.

Thanks so much to my wonderful friend photographer, who is so willing and excited to document the things I make so I can share them on my blog! Of course, the trade off is that she gets to practice photography skills on a willing model… Works out well for both of us!

15 thoughts on “1940s-Does-Modern Anne Adams Dress

  1. That is just too cute on you!! You look great, and comfortable, both a big plus. How about trying it in a small polka dot next time, or even a flower print?

  2. Very charming, very summer-y. And there is nothing wrong with simple inspiration. No need for every garment to be an exact line for line replica of another. And I’m just guessing that the original pattern pictured produced a garment that had the fitting issues you discovered, such as flat chested on one side. (After all, a sketch doesn’t have to fit a body. Would have been interesting to see a photograph of an actual garment made from this pattern on a real body.)

    Keep on sewing and sharing.

  3. Your dress came out great! You hair? It is just fine. I have the same challenge and we just end up doing a lot of rolled and pinned styling which is totally period. You look great.

  4. Do you have a paper pattern from Anne Adam’s 4752A size small or 12 please let me know and how much would cost I live in New Zealand.

    1. Hi Tabitha,

      Thanks for your question. I’m sorry to say that the short answer is no, I do not have a paper pattern for Anne Adams 4752.

      By way of a longer explanation: I created the pattern for my version of this dress from scratch and made substantial changes to the original design in order to create a style I liked that also fit me. It is definitely an inspired-by dress in the end–I wouldn’t say that the pattern I created is really true to the original in many ways except the direction of the stripes.

      Sorry I don’t have better news and best of luck in your search!

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