A Red Gingham 1940’s Dress

Hi Readers!

Have you ever dreamed about a dress and then found that it turned out exactly as you imagined it would once you’ve sewn it?  That’s me with dress.  Since last summer I thought that this 1940 dress pattern (Vogue 8811) would look wonderful with a big gingham print.  Once I saw this 1″ Kaufman Carolina Gingham pop up on the Cali site, I knew it was going to be one of my projects.

1940's red gingham

I love gingham immensely and already have a few gingham dresses in my closet. (In fact, I’m wearing one right now as I write this 🙂 )  Gingham is a perfect summer fabric and it makes me think about picnics and barbecues and county fairs.  Speaking of picnics, I’ve steered away from red gingham until now as I was afraid of looking like a tablecloth.  Do I look like I’m wearing a tablecloth?  I hope not!


The design of this dress is pretty simple with dolman sleeves and a circle skirt.  It’s made a little more interesting with keyhole back closure and a self-fabric belt.  I added a vintage red Bakelite buckle to my belt.  The pattern includes belt instructions and a pattern piece, but I was using a wider buckle, so I went with those measurements and made my own belt “pattern.”


Aside from grading this pattern up a few sizes, the only alteration I made was a swayback adjustment to the back bodice piece.  I used the neckline facings, but skipped the sleeve facings and used rayon seam binding instead.  The belt does move around, so I’ll probably add some thread chain belt loops to keep it in place.  I also think the belt would look better with a carrier/loop on itself.


My most favorite thing about this dress is the skirt.  I made this dress long ago and that was my favorite feature of this dress.  The skirt pieces are one piece front and back instead of having to be cut on the fold.  The pattern has markings showing you how to place it so you can have a diagonal plaid/check look on the front and match the plaid/checks on the sides.  It really takes the guesswork out of matching prints.


I just adore this dress.  The Carolina gingham is such a wonderful fabric and one of the best woven ginghams that I’ve ever encountered.  It’s 100% cotton and not a synthetic blend like some of the gingham you’ll find.  Cali currently has it online in 1″ and 1/8″ red gingham, but I’ve seen a bunch of other colors in the store, so maybe Ron will add some more to the site some time? 😉  Besides being great to sew with, it’s wonderful to wear and not sheer, so I didn’t have to line it nor do I have a slip on underneath.

Tanya H, from TanyaMaile.com

Tanya is a Northern California ranch girl in love with retro prints and vintage patterns with a bit of modern flair. When not battling with her cat over her sewing table, she likes to repurpose junk, throw frisbees for her dogs, immerse herself in history books and geek out over sci-fi and fantasy. You can find her at her other home on the web: Mrs. Hughes.

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3 thoughts on “A Red Gingham 1940’s Dress”

  1. I absolutely adore this dress! It is impeccably made, and just so flattering and stylish! I am just starting to get into 1940s fashion, so this is so lovely to see x

  2. Tanya,
    Thank you for a very helpful and inspiring pattern and fabric review. And for your construction tips!
    I love this dress! And you look beautiful in this red and white gingham. Im a sucker for checks, have been my whole life. I’m getting this pattern! Love the cuffed dolman sleeves, and your belt.
    The neck facing fabric is fun and I’m going to start to use up my pretty scraps like this.

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