1940s Tea Dress

Sew Over It 1940s Afternoon Tea Dress pattern review

I love this pattern

This is another  vintage inspired pattern from Sew Over It. It’s a knee length dress with delicately gathered at the sleeves and bust areas. The waist is defined and, when put together with the V shaped neck and gently flared skirt, gives a feminine and flattering silhouette. It’s also fairly straightforward to put together! This is the first of many I feel.....


I have been hoping to get my hands on some of this modal challis from Atelier Brunette for months. I am still fairly new to understanding fabrics and this sounded quite close to the rayon and viscose styles that I’ve enjoyed sewing with lately. This fabric also has a silky feel to it, so it is really nice to actually wear as well as sew with. I got mine from The Splendid Stitch at £15 per metre as soon as it came back into stock. (I was fortunate enough to win a £20 voucher for posting a make in the Customer Gallery which went towards this – I highly recommend doing the same!) Delivery was really quick and I always love the extra samples that Amy slips in for future stash wish listing. This fabric is a little see through though …I only noticed when I went outside but you might want to consider a lining or slip underneath if you are making from this.

Sew Over It Afternoon Tea Dress

Pattern and Instructions

The pattern comes in a wallet with an instruction booklet and the pattern itself printed on tissue paper in 16 pattern pieces. The instructions were easy to follow, and contain a glossary as well as illustrations to help make each stage clearer. There is also a sewalong on the Sew Over It blog to supplement these (if you feel like you could do with colour photos too). The only part of the construction that foxed me a bit was the sleeve cuffs. I’m still not convinced I have sewn them as they are meant to be…but what I have got works for me.

Sew Over It 1940s Afternoon Tea Dress vintage pattern


I am starting to discover that I need to experiment with sizes a little. I am very well behaved when it comes to selecting pattern size, and always match exactly to my measurements. However, I am starting to find that I need to ignore this and select the size smaller. My measurements are an exact match for a size 10 (according to the pattern wallet), and I took in the centre seam by a good 2cm as it was too big. I found that I needed to select a size smaller on my Betty dress too so I’m guessing this is recurring feature for me.
I also left off the buttons in the front. I have quite a selection, but decided that the dress didn’t need them in the end. If I was making again I would think a little more about the pattern placement as I (by chance) almost ended up with a centre line of the key design...not sure how I feel about it.
Other than that no alterations needed whatsoever. A really nicely fitting pattern!

Sewing a vintage inspired wardrobe


Like I said, I love this dress. It wasn’t too complicated to make, and it feels comfortable on. No parts feel too tight or in the wrong place, including the sleeves. You can tell me if you think differently but I reckon it looks pretty good too! I would definitely recommend this pattern, and will be making more. I’m interested to see if different fabrics have an effect on the finished look so please do share!


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Welcome to Sewing and Other Stories; my journeys with sewing and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm also the designer behind West Beach Knits knitting patterns and I host a Knitting and Sewing channel on YouTube where you can see all of this in person. Come have a look!

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