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I love a great print, so when I spotted this lovely Japanese 1950s vintage printed cotton poplin featuring whimsical hot air balloons, I had in mind to buy it if it ever went on sale. A few weeks later, there it was, sitting on the clearance table, so I quickly snapped up 5 metres… (I know, what was I thinking…5 metres is an awful lot of fabric!)
True to the era of the print, I wanted to sew a 1950s style frock. I used Simplicity 1610 – Misses’ dress in knee or maxi length has fitted lined bodice and pleated skirt with pockets. There is the option of adding gathered sleeves or a belt. I made my dress using bodice A without sleeves and the short skirt. Upon reading the pattern sleeve, I noticed that there was approximately 6cm of ease at the bust, so even though my body measurements are that of size 8, I sewed the size 4 (as per finished garment measurements) because I prefer less ease at the bust. As usual, I started by sewing a muslin toile to check for fitting issues, Being a shorty, I had to shorten the bodice 3cm so that the waist seam would sit at my natural waist as the pattern intended. I also hemmed the skirt a bit shorter so that the dress would look proportionate. Apart from those minor changes, the size 4 was a good fit.
Overall, the pattern was easy to follow and construction fairly simple. My favourite part is the pockets – functional and fun. I took extra care to make sure the balloon print matched at the pockets. Because the spacing between the hot air balloons is irregular, I didn’t bother to try to match the print at the midline and side seams.
This silly, whimsical dress is sure to be one of my favourites this Summer!