Isn't this dress pattern from 1945 interesting? I found the image in the book Blueprints of Fashion: Home Sewing Patterns of the 1940s, and it looked awfully . . . familiar. Then I realized that the fundamental structure of it is almost the same as the Walk-Away Dress, which I posted about here. (I also admitted to being a little lukewarm about the potential hospital gown vibe of the Walk-Away shape.)
The 1945 pattern is kind of cool, I think. Is has an neat little collar and I like the waistline darts that radiate outwards. (Click the top image to see it full-size.) Interestingly, the dress was designed by a high school student named Lola Brooks (great name, huh?). She won the Chicago Tribune Teen-Age Fashion Competition and her pattern was produced by Beauty Patterns, a mystery company that I've seen a few other mentions of from the 1940s.
The reason I was so fascinated by the 1945 pattern is that it kind of diminishes the mystique of the Walk-Away Dress of 1952 (above). According to the Butterick Company history, their "simple yet flattering" Walk-Away Dress so took the world by storm that they had to halt production of all their other patterns until backorders for the Walk-Away could be fulfilled. (I admit, I've always been a little skeptical of that story. The intrepid journalist in me would just like a source other than Butterick to confirm it.)
You see plenty of other variations of this kind of wrap-around dress later in pattern history:
I'd always assumed these patterns were all based on the Walk-Away Dress of 1952, which supposedly was a pioneer in the movement of the ultra-simple wrap around dress. But the 1945 design above refutes that notion to a certain extent. Had this kind of dress actually been popular with home seamstresses in the 40s? Obviously, the Walk-Away is the one that stuck in our cultural history, but I wonder who truly first invented this kind of design? Who knows - perhaps a 20s version will turn up at some point. I can certainly see the wrap design blending seamlessly into a drop-waist flapper silhouette. Isn't it interesting how this simple composition could really work itself into any decade?
What do you all think? Do you like the 40s design above? Or could you do without this sort of dress all together?