I just finished this yesterday - serendipity, since it had been on the table for a couple of months but I just recently started pushing to finish, before I realized it would be right for this week's challenge.
Oddly, it started out from an early '60s pattern, McCall's 6309
I knew it needed a firm fabric, but I needed washable summer dresses, so I used a sort of quilt-weight cotton print. Just as well, because the pattern doesn't make up like the image AT ALL. Basically, it was cut like an early '50s dress. The bust was huge, and the skirt did not have the bell shape at the top.
However, I'd left the hem extra-long (I always do, I'm tall and I like to leave options) and once I took the bust in I realized it had more of a '30s feel. So I went with it! I used some of these patterns for inspiration:
The sleeves on the McCall's were totally wrong now, and I didn't have anything I liked in my pattern stash, so I wound up drafting a sleeve based on McCall 9243 (http://www.etsy.com/listing/80109150/late-1930s-pattern-day-dress-with?ref=sr_gallery_22&ga_search_submit=&ga_search_query=1930s+dress+pattern&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_order=date_desc&ga_page=2&ga_search_type=all&ga_facet=). I don't have that pattern, I just looked at the mini pattern layout on the back and worked up something that looked like the sleeve piece.