1950s Ladies' Suit
Added Mar 16, 2011
I have to confess I am glad to see the back – or rather the finished front – of this project! I started it ages ago and it’s been on the back burner ever since, working on it a little bit in between other things.
I got the pattern from a 1950s German pattern magazine. Some time ago I figured that the cheapest way to acquire a vintage wardrobe would be by collecting 50s fashion magazines with pattern supplements, like Burda. Most of the good magazines out there seem to be in German, and although my German is far from perfect, I thought “I can read Goethe, so how hard can a woman’s magazine be?” How wrong was I! The garment descriptions and articles are usually fine, but if you thought modern Burda magazines’ sewing instructions can be cryptic, think again! Instructions in vintage magazines tend to be very brief as it was expected of every woman to know more than just the basics of dressmaking, and what there is, is in a language I am obviously not familiar enough with. I soon gave up on the instructions and decided to improvise.
Another problem with vintage pattern magazines is that there were no multi-sized patterns like we are used to nowadays. On top of that I found out that the smallest size in many of them corresponds to a modern size 38, too big for me. So I had to get used to resizing patterns, which is a usefull skill anyway. There is also no colour coding and the pattern sheets are often a chaos of black lines, so tracing is not as easy as it is in the 21st century.
But I didn’t let the obstacles get me down, so I started tracing and resizing to build up my giant vintage pattern archive. This suit is the result of one of these efforts, and although it took me ages and is slightly too tight on the chest, I am really happy with it. I learnt a lot about resizing and tailoring while working on it. I also learnt about the exciting different ways vintage patterns were made, while at the same time developing a newfound appreciation of modern multi-sized, colour coded pattern sheets.
The suit consists of a short tailored jacket with a shawl collar and pocket flaps, and a pencil skirt with 4 darts in the front and 2 darts in the back and a back slit. both pieces are made of black suiting and fully lined. The buttons are vintage and button holes are bound.
Suiting (ca 3m), lining, shoulder pads, zip, buttons