Behind the Seams: 1940s wedding dress from Dear Golden



You guys seemed to enjoy our last post on vintage construction details so much, I decided to make it a regular feature.

One thing I mentioned in that post is that I wish vintage sellers took the time to photograph the inside of garments more often.

Right after I said that, I spotted this photo of the construction details of a 1920s gown Lauren of Dear Golden posted on Instagram. Lauren has some of the most amazing vintage pieces in all of the land, and I proposed that we team up and show some gorgeous vintage construction to the world.

Lauren will be providing us with detailed shots of the interior and exterior details of some of her most stunning vintage pieces so we can study them like the little fashion geeks we are. Amazing, right?


First up is this beautiful 1940s wedding gown, now for sale in her shop.




If you want to purchase this dress, it’s here in the Dear Golden shop.

Images for Constructions Details are kindly provided in conjunction with Lauren of Dear Golden Vintage, purveyor of gorgeous vintage clothing. You should visit her shop!

Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. Her roles include communication, strategy, and creative direction. She also edits Seamwork magazine. She often thinks and writes about the way sewing impacts our lives – through body image, identity, and social awareness.

More about our writers

Did you enjoy this article?

Get all of our tips, tutorials, and discussions delivered to your inbox — completely free!

Comments 31


Is that background of the lace blue?? I would have thought at that time, a color on a wedding dress would have been very bad form, unless these were designed as a “second” wedding for war widows? Very curious.


I don’t think it’s blue, but I could be wrong. It looks like the outer fabric and lace are a warmer, creamy color, so the white of the lining appears cool in contrast.


I’m not sure about the 20’s, but by the 50’s a white dress was reserved for “pure” brides. A pregnant bride would have worn a pale colored dress, such as a pale blue.


You always have great ideas and projects! keep on doing ’em!!


Awesome post! How did I miss the first one? I love how they transferred the bust darts into pleats at the CF. This is a lot more feminine and it’s an easier on the quality of the lace (sewing darts in lace is hard). Also neat was the hip padding. Just goes to show how our eyes have changed for what the ideal body is. Could you imagine clothes today that added inches to the hips!


Love these inside details, thank you so much Sarai for making this connection. Looking forward to lots of inside looks!


Gorgeous! Thanks for this educational post! Is the satin stitch around the lace pieces done by hand or machine?

Nancy Anson

This is a beautiful example of grace and esthetic. I think I’m the only person on earth who doesn’t like the modern strapless bridal gowns. OK, I’m older and I don’t like to see so much skin in church (there, I’ve said it in public, I beg you to lay the brickbats aside), but I don’t think it’s the most flattering style for just everybody. Not every upper arm needs to walk down the aisle unadorned. However, the style is very popular and has endured many years.

That being said (and I’m quite certain 99.9% of everyone disagrees with me, but I’m OK with that), when I see a vintage gown like this one, with all the beautiful detail and gracefulness, I wish designers would shift the bridal gown to something more refined.

When I was married, the style was still influenced by Jackie Kennedy — simplicity.

Princess Di changed bridalwear — BIG time, but the poufs and ruffles couldn’t last very long.

Who influenced the strapless? I can’t recall. The last wedding I attended, the bride and attendents seemed to overflow their dresses to the point of distraction. That’s the overshadowing memory I have of that wedding, and that’s a shame. Every bride is gorgeous, just wonder how they will feel about this style when they look at pictures years to come.

I never had a chance to bring this up among people interested in fashion. My apologies to anyone who loves the style, it’s just MHO, and I’m looking forward to something new — or maybe something old — something borrowed — something — you know.


No, Nancy, you are not alone! Strapless is fine for prom/ball/any summer party (no matter what size woman is wearing it – if she’s comfortable, that’s great) . . . but I too think a little more cover is more appropriate at a wedding, especially a religious ceremony . . . and how many brides-and-maids groupings contain only women who look good in strapless?? (I was lucky, when my sister got married in, I forget, 1990?, her maid of honor had already been in several very formal weddings, and told Cat that she would only be m-of-h if C. promised her a dress she could wear again, as she had no use for another Scarlett O’Hara ballgown. We got very un-trimmed print cotton dresses of faintly Laura Ashley inspiration, and I wore mine to work at the office for several years after.)

This is a lovely dress, and I’m inspired to use some of the bodice techniques for a blouse. Thanks, Sarai!


I believe the reason for the current – and enduring – obsession with strapless comes direct from the wedding industry because they’re easy to design and alter. Standard size doesn’t fit the bride? Whip in the side seams, maybe a bit of the bust, and call it done. Or even just lace it up a bit tighter. I suspect a lot of the reason everyone wears strapless is because that’s pretty much all you get if you buy off-the-rack.

But I completely agree, strapless is great when it’s flattering on you, but when it’s not…


Lucy, you are spot-on! I got married in the last three years, and trying to find a fashionable wedding dress with sleeves (and for a Canadian winter wedding, no less!) was like pulling teeth. In the end I had to go sleeveless, but the dress happened to come with a matching stole, which I wore in the church, and I rented a fur jacket to wear outside for photos, so I got the best of both (three?) worlds.

As for the vintage dress pictured — simply divine!


I agree with Nancy. Strapless is not flattering on everyone (even for non-wedding attire), and I much prefer something more modest, especially in a church wedding. Of course it’s not my call unless it’s my wedding, but I just wanted to say so anyway!

This is a lovely dress. So nice to see the details. It does look a little blue. My cousin wore a lace gown with a blue tinge that was a family heirloom passed down to her.


No you are not alone. I am not fond of the strapless look at all.


Strapless is definitely NOT becoming to many (most?) but it is the trend. Remember bare midriffs (yes, even in wedding attire.) Again, never attractive unless it’s a bikini at beach or pool. Even then, caution should be the watchword. Strapless gown”overflowing” is just one disaster; scrawny necks, and bony backs and shoulders are equally prevalent . Still, all the wedding gown lines push strapless. Less fabric used, but the same price charged? Could be.


could i make a request? we look into vintage 50s dress / floral 1950s dress / Roman Holiday dress next time? it has a wrap too! gorgeous.


Nancy, no you are not alone.. I too don’t like strapless wedding gowns, they just never seem right.

Sarai thank you for this post.. I absolutely love vintage clothing and the making of it (and I mean real vintage clothing). Can’t wait for more posts like this one.




What a lovely dress!

Jane W.

This is embarrassing to admit, but it reminds me of my Girl Scout Troop Leader’s wedding dress. She gave it to me in 1978 after her husband left her, and my mother refashioned it as a fairy costume. I wish I still had the original!


This dress is gorgeous and I LOVE that you’ll make a regular feature of inside-vintage. As much as I adore vintage (and sewing), I adore the inside – after all, that is where the magic happens.

As for wedding gowns – so far, the dress worn by Grace Kelly is still as beautiful as it gets.


Lovely wedding dress. I love to see the inside of beautifully made garments. I make the occasional trip to the Chanel Boutique in SF just to look inside the clothes!
I made a strapless bridal gown for a bride who kept losing weight! I had to put a swim suit bra with elastic inside so it wouldn’t fall down on her wedding day. What a nightmare!

Diane @ Vintage Zest

This is so beautiful! I love the neck ruffle! However, the waist looks super tiny, but I suppose that was the typical body type back then. :)


Oh man, I am so geeking out over here… you are making my day, Sarai. Nothing better to me than looking under the hood of a beautiful piece of clothing constructed to withstand the ravages of time. Huge thanks to you and Lauren for this feature! I am now going to quietly wipe the drool from my lip with my very ladylike hankie. Ahem.


I’m a huge fan of Dear Golden- I’m always saving pictures of their clothes to use for inspiration on future projects. I appreciate how you showed some of theconstruction details on these gorgeous vintage dresses. I’m planning on making my own vintage-style wedding dress one day and I love seeing the way things were sewn back then and the techniques I can use!


This is incredibly beautiful and what really has me excited are those hip pads to help with the shaping. My daughter has the inverted triangle type of figure, – busty with little definition between waist and hip. What I’m thinking is how this feature might enhance the hip line of her dress I’m working on for her. Does anyone know of a tutorial on how to make this kind of hip pad?


This is such a wonderful idea. Please consider a book of vintage construction technique details, it would be an amazing resource. Many many thanks


The georgette underlining is such a clever idea. It’s a beautiful dress but definitely a sign of how tastes have changed – you’d have to go a long way today to find a bride who wants hip padding!


What a fabulous dress! I love lace for wedding dresses, and I love seeing the styles of years past. So many of today’s wedding dresses are the same cookie-cutter silhouette. I would love to see this dress on a real person!

Betty Jordan Wester

I’m going to assume everyone knows the- white wedding dress/Queen Victoria connection :)- but during and immediately post both world wars non completely white wedding gowns were definitely around, especially blue tinted wedding dresses. My own Grandma was married in a pale blue suit. Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly made white gowns popular again while greater prosperity and cheaper materials made them more attainable.


Beautiful dress. Thank you for the opportunity to see how it’s constructed. So interesting. I’m looking forward to what Lauren shows us next!


This is a lovely collaboration! It’s great to see the insides of such precious dresses. That’s one thing you don’t get to see in the fashion museums! I’m looking forward to future posts. Thanks Sarai and Lauren!


I follow Dear Golden Vintage on Instagram as well, I found her on Etsy, and I agree~ She has some of the most beautiful vintage pieces I have ever seen. This dress is beautiful, thank you for highlighting the construction!

We’re sorry, comments for this post have been closed.

Get all of our tips, tutorials, and discussions delivered to your inbox — completely free!