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1950s Ladies' Suit

Added Mar 16, 2011

by analogue

Wonderland, Unit...






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.

Material Notes

Suiting (ca 3m), lining, shoulder pads, zip, buttons




Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Garment Type
Business, Classic, Vintage

11 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • Display_large

    May 1, 2011, 04.01 AMby VintageFusion

    ahh to live back in those times when it was expected for all woman to be able to sew at a seamstress level. Would love to have been able to do so without having to study. My mum wasn’t a sewer I can see what you mean on how hard it would be to follow a pattern such as that now though and it turned out lovely. I am jealous and want one. What vintage magazines do you buy btw or are they all german?

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    Mar 17, 2011, 07.49 PMby Laura Jane

    Love it!

    1 Reply
    • Avawa_large

      Mar 17, 2011, 09.15 PMby analogue


  • Toutetoutepatate_large

    Mar 17, 2011, 05.18 PMby chichil

    What an awesome, classy and gorgeous suit! It looks perfect on you!

    1 Reply
    • Avawa_large

      Mar 17, 2011, 05.45 PMby analogue

      Thank you so much!

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    Mar 17, 2011, 05.13 PMby irmchen

    Stunning! Great fit and well done. Richtig, richtig gut…. wie eine Lady aus früheren Zeiten aber auch heute eine sehr elegante Erscheinung. Tolle Fotos und ich schätze die Männer drehen sich nach Ihnen um, wenn sie dieses Outfit tragen! :-) Hope you understand my german… I am not Goethe. ;-) I feel inspired to sew vintage again.

    1 Reply
    • Avawa_large

      Mar 17, 2011, 05.45 PMby analogue

      Vielen Dank! Unfortunately my written German is atrocious, but I’m fine with reading and conversation. I’ll get lots of practice again when I’m in Germnany next month anyway :-) Looking forward to seeing more vintage creations from you!

  • Avatar-cupcake_large

    Mar 17, 2011, 04.29 PMby frkbustad

    Super chic! You’ve done an incredible job! Love the fabric, and the fit is great. Lovely!

    1 Reply
    • Avawa_large

      Mar 17, 2011, 05.43 PMby analogue

      Thank you very much :-)

  • Portait_4_large

    Mar 17, 2011, 12.35 PMby stuffit-1

    Congratulations to your patience!;) Your suit looks so fine and the silhouette suits you just perfectly. (Reminds me that I need a suit too;) )

    1 Reply
    • Avawa_large

      Mar 17, 2011, 05.43 PMby analogue

      Thank you! I confess that I’m not usually a very patient person, so I’m pleased with myself for seeing it through. It’s also the first suit I’ve made for myself so it was an educational experience. I’m sure you’ll make an awesome suit yourself!

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    Mar 17, 2011, 07.06 AMby lauriana

    The story is quite impressive and I love the silhouet of your suit, however the pictures are a bit too dark to show the details. I know that’s a major problem with dark fabrics but would love to see some lightened pictures of it.

    1 Reply
    • Avawa_large

      Mar 17, 2011, 09.38 AMby analogue

      Thank you for the feedback. I have tried lightening some more pictures as to your suggestion and have added them. I’m afraid they’re still not as clear as they should be but I hope this helps a bit.

  • Charlie-deeshadows1_large

    Mar 17, 2011, 05.11 AMby smallone

    wow what patience. ….and what a result!!

    1 Reply
    • Avawa_large

      Mar 17, 2011, 09.39 AMby analogue

      Thank you!

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    Mar 17, 2011, 01.11 AMby aluckmann

    This is some amazing work. I love the peak at the inside lining. The fit is divine and you look stunning.

    1 Reply
    • Avawa_large

      Mar 17, 2011, 01.25 AMby analogue

      Thank you, you’re making me blush now :)

  • Missing

    Mar 16, 2011, 10.06 PMby spikklubba

    That looks so nice, love the figure hugging fit. Vintage magazine patterns can be really difficult to work with, great work!

    1 Reply
    • Avawa_large

      Mar 16, 2011, 10.24 PMby analogue

      Thank you very much! I’ve encountered quite a few difficulties working with the vintage magazines, but they’re definitely worth it, especially as they can be picked up so cheaply compared to individual vintage (and new) pattens. And they’re really inspiring with so many styles to choose from.

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    Mar 16, 2011, 08.07 PMby lennert

    Really nice! It’ s so well fitted and sleek it could be from a modern day designer… Love it!

    1 Reply
    • Avawa_large

      Mar 16, 2011, 08.14 PMby analogue

      Thank you so much! I chose a fairly classic model and spent a lot of time resizing trying to get the fit right, and although it isn’t perfect I am really happy with the way it fits. There is slightly less ease than in most modern suits so it’s quite snug and figure-hugging, which I like.

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