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Vintage 'Berlin' Dress

Added Apr 19, 2010

by candyjoyce

Southampton, Uni...






It’s the ‘Berlin’ Dress as we are going to Berlin in May and this is going to be part of my holiday wardrobe, I’m a bit worried that Customs might be suspicious of my handsewn hems and unpick them.

I was inspired by reading Gerties New Blog for Better Sewing to give vintage patterns a go so I snapped up this vintage dress pattern with some nice details that was roughly my size (from Ebay seller benuteeblack)

Overall the pattern measurements were a bit bigger than mine (I got frustrated looking for patterns that had the perfect measurements so I just settled for something close-ish to my measurements) I attempted a tissue fitting but the design has gathers at the waist and it was hard to emulate this in a tissue fitting, I decided to just dive in and make it as per the pattern.

As suspected it came out too big overall.

Most of the instructions for the pattern were very clear but when I got to the side zipper instructions it just said:
“Insert Zipper”
I’ve got an invisible zipper foot but they often end up looking far from ‘invisible’ and I wanted to try out something new so I followed Sunnilj9’s brilliant tutorial on how to insert a prick-stitched lapped zipper. Sunni has created a really well illustrated, easy to follow tutorial. This is the first time I have ever actively enjoyed handsewing on a garment.

The picture on the pattern envelope was a bit misleading, the skirt section of the dress looked tapered but the finished result was almost A-line. The wideness of the skirt in addition to the bigness of the dress began to swamp me so I tapered the skirt in towards the hem. Unfortunatley I only decided to do this after I had inserted the side zip so I could only start tapering from below the zip.

I changed a couple of other things; I inverted the pleats at the shoulders as it was more flattering over the bust and I have omitted the sleeves and instead made a facing.

I’m mostly pleased with my pretty new dress and am going to make this pattern again with sizing alterations and better fabric choices. I am also encouraged to try more vintage patterns and have bought a 1939 dress pattern from Etsy……….

Material Notes

Liberty Print Cotton Lawn DUNVINA £16 for 3 MTRS from Ebay seller Katsfabrics.
I love the print but it is too busy for this dress and the design elements get lost. I am looking for a nice pea green silk or crepe for the next version.



Related Techniques


Garment Type
Casual, Classic, Vintage


Gerties new Blog For Better Sewing

7 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • P1170016_large

    Apr 28, 2010, 02.56 PMby mikabak

    I really like your dress!

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    Apr 23, 2010, 11.31 AMby machelefranklin

    Nice fabric !

  • Anna_large

    Apr 23, 2010, 05.15 AMby in-stockholm

    Love the dress, love the fabric. You’ll love Berlin and Berlin will love you and your dress!

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    Apr 23, 2010, 04.55 AMby claraverde

    Berlin is one of my favorite city in the world! So lively, cultural, free and beautiful! The dress is adorable, perfect to stroll around (but bring always with you leggings and a sweater, can be very cold over there, even in summer!)

  • Elenacresci_home_page_image_large

    Apr 22, 2010, 10.48 PMby lenarrrd

    This is lovely! Berlin will love it :) I was there not so long ago and I’m still jealous that you’re going hahaa

  • 029_large

    Apr 22, 2010, 08.28 PMby Erin E

    Lovely! I agree with emily.marie about the belt. It does help calm the busy print and create a more feminine sillhouette. It is a really pretty dress!

    1 Reply
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    Apr 22, 2010, 08.04 PMby emily-marie

    this dress is adorable! what great finds in both the pattern and the inexpensive Liberty lawn (that would be realllly great deal in the U.S., at least). i think your little yellow belt actually does a good job of breaking up the pattern so it’s not so overwhelming.

    • This is a question
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