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How to Sew Vintage Vogue 9280

Collar and front bodice of 1948 Vintage Vogue 9280 | Vintage on Tap


Can we PLEASE take a moment to admire how epic Vintage Vogue 9280 is?

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I’ve been saying this since day one of getting my hands on this pattern. The collar slays me over and over– and I can’t get over how this dress looks like it stepped out of a movie scene in the 1940s.

Everything about it is over the top, just how I like it. My inner Drag Queen is a happy girl 😘


Sewing tips and video walk through for Vintage Vogue 9280 | Vintage on Tap


Spending the time sewing this vintage dress makes me appreciate all the intricacies of small techniques that build on one another.

Full disclosure- there is a lot of hand sewing on this piece. But, there’s something absolutely beautiful about pulling out all the skills you’ve acquired over time, growing them into a head turner piece.

I can imagine for someone attempting to sew for the first time, it can seem like an unreachable goal. But guess what- you can make it, too!


1940s vintage sewing, Vintage Vogue 9280 video walkthrough | Vintage on Tap


Is Vintage Vogue 9280 complicated? Yes and No.

For intermediate and advanced seamstresses, this retro dress is not a challenge, but more of a process, meticulously working your skills into a finished piece. You can observe the instructions, nod your head in understanding, and jump in.

For a beginner, though, this dress is a journey. Expect to take your time with it, completing one step at a time with patience, as you push your experience further. Make the dress with love and care, and accept the journey.


Collar close up, Vintage Vogue 9280 | Vintage on Tap


Machine sewing, Vintage sewing techniques and walkthrough | Vintage on Tap


Are there things I would have done differently with this piece? Yes.

I don’t have a laundry list of changes I would have done, but I have a few points you may want to consider as you’re working on this dress. None of them are particularly difficult, though, and the pattern is very straight from the envelope (and of course after you’ve done your fitting!)


Vintage Vogue 9280, sewing walkthrough and sewing help | Vintage on Tap


Consideration #1: Figure out what camisole you want to wear under this dress.

As you can see in my completed photos, I wore a black camisole since it was the only piece of clothing that I owned that could work with this piece!

Less than ideal.

Remember that this dress completely opens up above the waist and is generally form fitting, so whatever is worn underneath should match in some capacity. Also, depending on your bust size, you may see more (or less) of the camisole.


Vintage Vogue 9280, how to sew 1940s clothing | Vintage on Tap


Consideration #2: Wear a slip or light petticoat under V9280 for a better flare on the skirt.

No need to go crazy with a petticoat, but a couple layers of pleated tulle would be enough to give a little bit of a perk to the skirt while you’re swooshing around in it.

This is particularly noticeable at the center front, where the skirt inadvertently creates a pleat and sort of “sticks out” if you’re standing still. Not really a problem, but a light pannier would be more than enough.


Vintage Vogue 9280, sewing walkthrough | Vintage on Tap


Consideration #3: Re-Fit the dress before committing to the side closure.

This point is probably my biggest note, especially after having fitted the dress earlier in the video series.

Essentially what you need to consider is that when you’re matching up the center front of the dress during the fitting, you’re assuming that the center front will overlap- but it doesn’t when worn.

The center front is completely open once the piece is sewn up, causing the top of the dress to open up naturally and create a lot of extra ease in the side seams.

Suggestions to “fix” the issue:

  • Stitch further up the center front seam, closing up the center front (will require drafting changes to the collar pattern pieces)
  • Attach some sort of closure to the back of the detachable collar piece, to close the center front and bring in the extra fabric at the side seams
  • Nip in the side seams, committing more to the open-front look (may require redrafting a muslin with the collar open more realistically)


1940s Vintage Vogue 9280, learn about retro sewing with this video walkthrough | Vintage on Tap


You can see in my images that there are some gathers/extra fabric under my breasts at the side seams, which I’m guessing is because of this design feature— as well as the weight of the collar (each lapel had 6 layers of fabric.)

If I were to make this again tomorrow, I would opt for closing up the center front so I could kill multiple birds with one stone: not need a camisole and get a better fit under the breasts. 


Hand sewing, Vintage sewing techniques and walkthrough | Vintage on Tap


What I appreciated the most about Vintage Vogue 9280 was the lack of corner-cutting in the instructions.

Hand sewing everywhere, bound button holes (watch the Bound Buttonhole video here), waist stay, side snaps, and sew-in interfacing! Of course, to a strictly modern seamstress, all of it may seem excessive, but if you’re into doing it old school, this pattern has it all.

Even the shoulder pads are made from scratch. And they are amazing. I may have to make myself an additional set to properly finish my Butterick 6282 US Navy Dress.


1940s Vintage Vogue 9280, learn about retro sewing with this video walkthrough | Vintage on Tap

Pinning bodice, Vintage Vogue 9280 | Vintage on Tap

Bodice interior, Vintage Vogue 9280 | Vintage on Tap


Embrace the sewing techniques.

Sew-in interfacing is (arguably) easier to deal with than iron-on. Simply cut and baste and in a similar way as underlining, and the “interfacing” lends its qualities to the shell fabric.

In my case, I went with the pattern suggestion of using muslin, which lended a stable but soft feel to the collar pieces without being unnecessarily stiff.


Collar close up, Vintage Vogue 9280 | Vintage on Tap

Collar interior, Vintage Vogue 9280 | Vintage on Tap


Take care to match up your collar pattern pieces as closely as possible. With this style of collar, the drama makes any inconsistencies obvious. If you’ve had to make changes at the pattern level, be sure to walk your pattern pieces until you’re confident you’re good to go.


Back view, Vintage Vogue 9280 | Vintage on Tap


The only modern change I would make to the materials list would be a square piece of iron on interfacing at the center back pleat.

Unfortunately the weight of the Vogue 9280 skirt is immense and I had to go back several times to try and reinforce that pulling point.

You can see from the drag lines, the weight of the skirt is being yanked down at that point, even after reinforcing the pleat to the center back darts.


Vintage Vogue 9280, how to sew 1940s clothing | Vintage on Tap


All in all, Vintage Vogue 9280 was challenging but in a good way.

When I unfolded the directions, I turned to look at Jose and said something to the effect of… “This one is going to be a biggie.” — it didn’t disappoint and is probably one of the longest videos we’ve ever filmed!

For such a luscious retro piece, I’m happy to own it and to be able to pull it out of my closet for a night out with friends, sipping champagne and being fabulous.

Vintage Vogue 9280, sewing walkthrough | Vintage on Tap


Need additional sewing and fitting help with this piece? Check out the V9280 Sewing Compendium!

The sewing compendium has just finished up, and from the response has been an amazing resource if you’re planning on tackling this coat dress.

It’s a three part email series that matches up with the videos in this series, giving you extra resources for making this piece!


Get the V9280 Sewing Compendium!

Get the V9280 Compendium series, featuring additional fitting tips, sewing techniques, and fabric ideas for your next vintage style Coat Dress!

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1940s vintage sewing, Vintage Vogue 9280 video walkthrough | Vintage on Tap


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How to Sew Vintage Vogue 9280, from the 1940s. This is a full video walk through on how to make this vintage reproduction dress. | Vintage on Tap



This post is part of the Vintage Vogue 9280 Video series! Check out the other installment of this series by clicking the image below:

Sewing Vintage Vogue V9280 video series! This series breaks down the fitting and sewing process for this 1940s piece | Vintage on Tap


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Thank you, McCall’s Pattern Company, for making this video series and collaboration possible!

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  1. Kouign_amman Kouign_amman

    Hi there, I really enjoyed your video series! All said and done, here’s what confuses me: The fashion illustration on the pattern envelope and the line drawing are different it seems. For me I like the look of the buttons sitting below the bust line (pattern envelope fashion illustration) and not the look of the line drawing illustration where the buttons creep up the bust line. I think the buttons below the bust line gives a cleaner more tailored look. Because of your video series when I make this, I’ll be looking change that aspect of the pattern. Thoughts?

    • Thanks so much for watching the series!!

      Moving the buttons down is definitely not a bad idea– even moving them closer together in a way that fits your torso length might be something to consider as well. Looking back on it, I probably could have done the same, making those buttons closer set. The only thing to watch out for, though, is that when they’re moved closer to the waist line under the bust, the collar might open up more. If that’s ok, then I think you’ll be good to go moving them farther down 👍🏽

  2. Wow! This is the complete package! Your hair, makeup and shoes all are complements to this stunning piece of work dress that is fabulous! You look like you just stepped out of a vintage movie! Yet you are explaining a process that is both complex and doable! I appreciate all your candid views on how this pattern can be altered to fit better due to the construction of the pieces and the material chosen. Thank you for leading the pack on this challenging journey! Relish your amazing accomplishment and go out for those drinks with friends, dressed to impress! You deserve it!

    • Thank you so much for your beautiful comment, Danita!! It was such a joy to sew, but it came together so beautifully and I’m so happy people liked it. It’s definitely a project a little bit off the beaten track, but I’m happy to have sewn it up ☺️

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Vintage on Tap started in 2013

Since then, it has become not only a photo blog, but also a popular YouTube channel and Instagram Feed.

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