Vintage Vogue 273, the Noir 40s dress

Vogue 273 pattern and fabric

Vintage Vogue 273, quite a special little number, very simple and elegant. I can see how this era influenced the 1980s, can’t you? I fell in love with this pattern, but was a little intimidated by it!

Vogue 273 pattern detail

I did a quick toile of this dress, using a sheet…then quickly cut in to this piece of fabric I had been considering for this project for a while. It is curtain fabric, I think, it has a heavy-ish feel, lovely cool to touch, a soft drape and slightly glossy grey sheen. Unusual, but I thought it would work, in the back of my mind was the thought that it just might be a bit too heavy for the drapes and folds to work…

Vogue 273 pattern lay up on fabric

All laid out to cut.

Vogue 273 pattern lay up on fabric 2

This dress was quick and relatively simple to make, no new techniques to use, just a different bodice shape, and much longer skirt than I have made before. I lined the bodice using a remnant of some lovely soft cotton, which has crayfish on it, cute!

Vogue 273 face Angela side

I was really unsure if those glamourous folds around the hips at the front of the dress would be flattering in real life, so I was really happy to see that it works well. I really, really love this dress, I can’t wait to make another one (perhaps a shorter skirt?) or even just another full length version in perhaps a stunning dark red or green? I love it. But then I’d need cocktail parties, at least every week, you know? So perhaps just one….

Vogue 273 back facing wall

This is also the lowest backed dress I have made, like lower than bra level, and I was a little concerned about whether I’d need to add any structural support. The pattern instructions didn’t call for any, and the high neck line seems to help it all stay in shape. Did I say how much I love this dress…?

Vogue 273 blurry hand up

I accessorised with my nana’s vintage fascinator with net, kid gloves, and some pretty vintage earrings also nana’s! Check out the box:

J R MacQueen Quality Jeweler Blenim

“J. R. MacQueen, Quality Jeweller Blenheim”, earrings and a necklace, which I don’t wear often enough….

J R MacQueen Quality Jeweler Blenim jewels

Back to the dress! The back skirt panels are extra flared, adding lovely folds to the back, and more lovely draping – I did worry that the fabric would add a lot of extra bulk and weight at the back, but I think it works ok. I made self covered buttons for the back, with loops, I also added a waist stay inside to help hold the weight of the skirt. It still sits somewhat out from my waist at the back, which is probably also exacerbated by my slight sway back.

Vogue 273 full length back buttons

The inverted ‘V’ front panel and the folds at the front…

Vogue 273 bodice

So sculptural. It actually was not quite as simple as I may have said…making sure the folds were going the right way did require a couple of attempts at basting in place, checking the fall etc was as it should be. But I’ll put that out of my mind so I’ll dive straight into another make…

Vogue 273 complete waist detail

Oh and that skirt! The back is so lovely!

Vogue 273 full length skirt side face

I like the simple elegance of the dress, really simple pleats, and the folds in the skirt work really well.

Vogue 273 full length

Oh and check out the shoes! I picked them up at the Very Vintage Day Out, NZ$20, 30s or 40s brocade heels…score!

Vogue 273 and vintage 30s:40s heels shoes


The pattern called for shoulder pads, but I was a child in the 80s and….I’m kind of terrified of shoulder pads! I made some, tried them but I’m not sure they’re right for me or the dress.

This is a special make for the Vintage Pledge, my first completed Special Couturier pattern. And it won me the Showstopper Prize for Vintage Pledge 2017!

#vintagepledge #vogue273


  1. that is stunning, some designs really stay classic, you did such a fine job and it looks amazing (agree with you on the shoulder pads, I avoid them as I remember the extreme versions of the 80s, and now see it as a slippy slope – I even had a sweater with shoulder pads…)


    1. Thank you for your comment Eimear…Isn’t it funny about shoulder pads? I actually made a pair, fabric covered and all, but eek – it just seems wrong!


  2. What a stunning dress, Angela! You look amazing in it, and the fabric seems just perfect to hold those folds in place. Like you say, a very sculptural dress.


  3. This is gorgeous. I think it’s one of my favourite things ever and I’m coveting it very hard. You did an amazing job. That front drape is just stunning. I agree with you on the shoulder pads; I spent a lot of time in the 80s taking them out of things. If you put them in, you’d get even more of a structural look, but I don’t think it needs it.


  4. There were shoulder pads in the 40s, too. But the shoulder pads of the early 80s did not all come in the same style. You would have a totally different size and shape with raglan sleeves than you would with a sleeveless gown, for example. The choice of shoulder pad cut, size and placement can drastically change the appearance, fit and success of a creation. An art form of its own!
    This dress would have a more square shouldered look with shoulder pads. Without them, it has a more classic flow that is probably more timeless. You pull it off because you are slim and have good physical structure.
    Shoulder pads, done right, can give the look of better posture, more focus on upper body and., in turn, an overall slimming effect. They can also add a sense of visual power.
    Done wrong, they can make you look blocky, lumpy or masculine.
    Edith Head’s books on costume design are a good source for more information on silhouette.


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