Saturday, 29 September 2012

My attempt at sewing a 50s style dress!

Earlier this month I blogged about a free 1950s pattern that could be downloaded online, courtesy of the V&A museum. I promised that I would take some pictures and post them for all to see...

I decided to make mine from plain grey cotton as cotton is fairly easy to sew and grey is a pretty generic colour that you can wear with anything! It's the first dress i've ever sewn and i'm very pleased with how it turned out! The pattern instructions were excellent with pictures and step by step instructions to help you along the way. The skirt is panelled and has deep pockets either side. The bodice is lined.
The back has a bow detail that is very pretty, although can sometimes be a little floppy. Sometimes I starch it when ironing to make it nice and crisp. I'd also consider placing a few stitches here and there to  help it hold in place. Overall though the dress fits beautifully and drapes over the hips giving it a little flare; iconic of the 50s design!

More detail of the back. Some of the dress I hand-stitched; around the arms, the zip and I think on the lining. I french seamed the ENTIRE dress! Makes me feel worn out just thinking about it! However, i'm pleased I did because it looks as beautiful inside. I did this because I don't own an overlocker - it would save you so much time if you could finish off the seams this way.

The only real problem I had with making this dress (other than it taking quite a while), was hemming. It's almost circular at the base, therefore as you hem it starts to twist! My advice, having sewn it, cut it off and hemmed again, is to make the hem turning as tiny as possible. This helps to stop twisting as you sew. And obviously press the hem before you sew.

I can't be that scared off by the project... i'm considering making another! ;-) x


  1. I love this dress - still!! I never noticed before it was grey- it's not the sort of colour I ever think to buy but you're right it looks great with everything, and its simplicity just highlights the pretty dress & how nicely you have made it! x

  2. hi. looks great. i found the pattern for cut...but no manual for sewing. where did you get your information ?? :) would help me a lot, cause i want to sew soon...
    i would be thankful for your reply

    1. Hi Erica,
      The blog has been quiet for some time so sorry i've not responded! I have the manual somewhere which I can email to you when I find it and scan it in!