Outfits · Vintage Finds

1930’s Polka Dot Dress with Tabs and Pleats

As I type this, it is 91 degrees Fahrenheit (32.7 C) outside. In September 😦 But that is Texas for you. The only good thing in my mind about a hot September is that I still have a few weeks left to wear summer fashion. Which means I have a few weeks left to SEW summer fashion!


I found this very summery Woman’s World Pattern circa 1930’s. I personally don’t think my body shape is suited particulary well to mid to late 1930’s styles (and I can’t even explain why I can’t pinpoint it) but that decade’s fashion is 1st in my heart followed very closely by early 1940’s. So I will wear it proudly anyway 🙂


The pattern envelope boasts only 5 pattern pieces for the dress and cape. It was an easy sew and I was done with the dress in a few hours. When I had finished cutting out the dress pieces I was sad to find I did not have enough textured polka dot cotton for the cape. Boo. So I will have to delay sewing the cape for now 🙂


The bodice has four bust darts, two on each side front, and a total of 8 waist darts. I love darts. Takes frumpy shapes and turns them into more tailored pieces. That’s one of the reasons why I love vintage, they knew how to make a dart work. Seems alot of modern fashion I try on is too flowy and boxy for my shape, and I end up looking like I’m wearing a bag. I personally thinking fashion should sway back to darts.

The pattern called for the buttons to be sewn on the dress and the tabs to have bound buttonholes. But the top tab buttons on the bust don’t NEED to be unbuttoned to slip on (there is a row of vintage side snaps under left arm at waist side). So instead of doing those dreaded bound buttonholes (shudder) I sewed the buttons and tab down together.

The belt also called for bound buttonholes and buttons to be sewn on skirt part. I omitted the buttons and buttonholes completely from the belt.


I LOVE the pleat that’s located on the front and back of the skirt. I like watching it swing open when I walk lol.


Close up of the button-less belt 🙂


It’s not too often I wear polka dots. But this dress is my favorite polka dot piece ever. The dots feel felted and textured. I’m sure there’s a name for this lightweight fabric but in this heat the name eludes me 🙂 The black contrast fabric is a linen blend. A satin slip is worn underneath for drape and modesty (the polka dots fabric is slightly sheer).



One can imagine a suspect in Agatha Christie’s famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot series wearing a dress like this. Now all I need is a jaunty hat and immaculate gloves to complete the look, along with a sinister motive lol 😉