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1950's Style Full Skirt Shirtwaist Dress

Added Jun 28, 2011

by burda-user-5...

Washington, Dist...






This dress I made from a pattern that was printed in the 1950s. One of the reasons I chose it was because the package said it was “Sew Easy” and I thought I could knock it out in like a day, but I’m pretty sure it is not an “Easy” pattern by today’s standards.
Instructions on vintage patterns are not as detailed as they are today and they tend to assume that the maker has a higher level of sewing expertise, and I made a few mistakes along the way.
I successfully made like a zillion miles of piping and neatly pleated the huge full skirt but I made a few dumb mistakes too. Dumbest of all was losing the front bodice pattern piece so I made a scale model of it based on the tiny sketch on the back of the envelope. Then I found it again and I redid all of the darts so that they were placed correctly, but I had already made the buttonholes so the buttons are kind of squirrelly and the placket doesn’t lay fat. Also, when I was trying to put the zipper in, there was extra skirt fabric and I didn’t understand that it was supposed to be used to make extra-big pleats to hide the zipper, so I just cut it off and now the zipper is in the only area that doesn’t have pleats.

I really love the fabric that I used for this dress, which I got at an estate sale for only $2 (for the whole piece!) Even though the dress has some “issues,” I think it’s really pretty. I have the perfect accessories to go with it, too: the super-50s coral and pearl necklace I am wearing in the photos and the gorgeous vintage hat (all from estate sales too)

see more about this project on the Rags and Feathers Vintage blog, My Antique Love

Material Notes

4 3/4 yards of fabric at 44" wide. kind of a lot because of the very full skirt.
2 1/2 yards of corded piping.
zipper, buttons



Related Techniques


Spring, Summer
Garment Type
Classic, Romantic, Vintage
Cotton, Shirting



10 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • Naburdaprofil_large

    Jun 28, 2011, 06.38 PMby janul

    Lovely, you look like from some old time movie :)

  • Princezica_large

    Jun 28, 2011, 06.06 PMby mokosha

    adorable fabric.. and your dress turned out great :)

  • Dsci1090_large

    Jun 28, 2011, 04.44 PMby Fipp

    So cute!!!! And the fabric is a lovely complement to the pattern!!Great job!

  • Mekidsmountain_large

    Jun 28, 2011, 12.11 PMby Lucha Suarez

    The dress looks fabulous!

  • 123_large

    Jun 28, 2011, 09.52 AMby tirrs


  • 64cee352357b3982096d7f17851f_large

    Jun 28, 2011, 09.43 AMby zetinja

    The fabric is just gorgeous! I just love all the looks – length, the piping detail, the hat, red belt and shoes. Awesome!

  • Image_large

    Jun 28, 2011, 03.38 AMby tashmopolitan

    I love vintage patterns! Great job!

  • 211490_1198325918_4269035_n_large

    Jun 28, 2011, 03.05 AMby ktuck79

    It is SO cute! Great job!

  • Octophant_large

    Jun 28, 2011, 02.56 AMby Sally Kramer

    I love the fabric and the belt. The colors look great together. Very nicely done.

  • Marcymom_110_large

    Jun 28, 2011, 02.05 AMby beaufabulous

    Lovely dress! the fabric is beautiful also

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