Saturday, February 9, 2013

1950s dress inspirations

Before I started this project I spent more hours than I'll ever admit drooling over gorgeous vintage dresses and patterns on Ebay.  I wanted a finished project that felt retro without being so literal that it would limit its wearing potential (cause it's gonna be a crap ton of work).  These were some of my favorites:

I LOVE this one, but don't have enough fabric for the extended shoulders

I really like the contrast front and back neckline shapes.  With the roses in my fabric, I think I want something soft and rounded for the front and maybe the V neckline for the back.

I was so incredibly happy with the fit of Butterick 5455; you can read the full review which includes the various changes on my first version.  The line drawing below shows how simple and classic the back is.

Butterick 5455 line drawing (now OOP)

I think this may be a good starting point for the back.  The front was a bit more difficult.  I had drafted/frankenpatterened several bodice options until realized that the French darts on the bodice were trimmed.  Eeek.  So much for all of those lovely options... I was having trouble visualizing the proper way to manipulate them and wanted a pattern to compare.  Even though I'm a hoarder of patterns, I only had one, ONE, with a french darted bodice, Vogue 8725.

Vogue 8725 line drawing
I haven't made this dress yet, so I wasn't exactly sure about the fit.  This dress wasn't an exact match for the Butterick, and even though I cut the same size (10 in the bodice and waist grading down very small on the hips), the Vogue required shaving and additional 1/4 inch off each side seam.  I've adjusted the bodice darts several times and had to reduce the front darts on the skirt because they were creating too much poof in the tummy.  The final adjustment was the hem; I pegged it 3/4 of an inch.  This really helped create more visual curve at the hip which also emphasizes the waist.  Before these changes, the dress technically fit and had an appropriate amount of ease, but I basically looked like a barrel with linebacker shoulders.  I had to make quite a few adjustments to the Vogue for what I needed, but it was a good starting point and after 3 front bodice muslins and 2 front skirt muslins, I think I've hammered out the fitting!  Now on to cutting up all that glorious fabric...


  1. love the open neckline with the v in the back. what does your fabric look like?

  2. I'm reclaiming the fabric from this dress