Friday, December 1, 2017

The All Around The Globe 1940's Dress

I'm home! Yes I'm home! Around 11:45 pm, Wednesday, November 22, I was greeted at the airport by my family, best friends, and two welcome home signs!

I was home for Thanksgiving!
Now fast forward a few days to Sunday. I was standing in front of my closet trying to figure out what to wear to church. After 11 months of living out of a backpack, having an entire closet again was overwhelming! So, what did I select to wear to church on my first Sunday home? A dress from my pack. The same dress I wore on my last Sunday at home, on my first Sunday on the Race, on my last Sunday on the Race, and many, many, times in between. Yes, I wore my map dress to church last Sunday.

Picture taken in Ecuador, at a Cathedral in Quito
Way back, before I even heard of the World Race, let alone decided to do it, this late 1940's dress, made out of silk escape maps from WWII, came across my Facebook feed. I was immediately enthralled.

Follow the link to read all about this dress!
It turns out that during World War 2, soldiers were given silk maps to use to find their way out in case they got trapped behind enemy lines. Silk was used as it could be folded up really small and concealed in clothing. Also the silk maps would still be legible if they got wet, unlike paper maps. Following the war, fabric was still scarce, thanks to rationing, so women were creative in making dresses. A silk map that had saved your sweetheart's life during the war? Prime dress making material! 

Upon learning about these silk map dresses, I knew I had to make my own! Of course, I didn't have access to actual WWII silk maps, so I would have to use the next best thing - what ever map fabric I could find.

So, I decided I was going to make a 1940's map dress, then I just let that idea sit in the back of my mind for a while until the time came when I would be able to find a suitable fabric. That time came last December. I was in Hobby Lobby, picking up trim for some project or another, when I spotted it. A bolt of map fabric! It was a quilting cotton with a nice drape, and just what I'd been looking for! 
I didn't buy any that day, but I rushed home, told my mom all about it, and requested 3 yards as a Christmas present. By this time, I was less than a month away from leaving on the World Race, and I figured that a map dress would be just the thing to wear on my mission trip around the world!

Christmas morning I unwrapped 3 yards of map fabric, from my mom, and a card of vintage mother of pearl buttons, from my sister. Out of my stash came Simplicity 1585 (My only 40's reprint pattern, which had been just waiting for the perfect fabric!), and I was ready to get started! 

I cut out the pattern, and discovered at once that if I made the sleeves as they were drafted, they would be much too tight for my arms! Thus, before I could cut into my map fabric I had to draft a new, slightly wider, sleeve pattern. I was rather nervous messing around with the sleeve pattern - but my adjustment went surprisingly well! I lowered the sleeve cap and added 2 inches of width to the entire sleeve. This resulted in sleeves that still fit into the armscye, and were comfortable to wear! Definitely my best sleeve alteration work to date! 

Once the new sleeve pattern was drafted, the dress construction went well, just about as quick as easy as I could ask for. The only other alteration I made to the original pattern was to add side seam pockets - because what is a dress with out pockets?

The finished dress features 2 of the mother of pearl buttons from my sister on the front yoke, and one on the back key-hole opening. They were the perfect finishing touch for this dress! 

Even with the fabulous buttons however, the dress still needed a little something extra. So I made a matching fabric belt with a pretty coconut shell button I picked up at Hobby Lobby.

I wore this dress in all 11 countries I visited this year, and I received compliments on it everywhere I went - South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and even back home in North America.

Photo taken in Penang, Malaysia.
Yes, this dress is absolutely my favorite item from my World Race Wardrobe. It was one of my only dresses over the past 11 months, and I still like it enough to wear to church on Sunday - even though I now have other options!

1 comment:

  1. I love this dress! I want one! I'll make one someday, once I find cool map fabric.