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Hot air balloon dress - Simplicity 1610

Added Jan 5, 2014

by cynthia-1

Wollongong, Aust...






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!

Material Notes

1950s vintage printed cotton poplin #2 balloon (ivory) 112 cm, 100% cotton ($6.00/metre Spotlight clearance table); Lining: broadcloth (cream) 112cm, 100% cotton ($5.00/metre Spotlight); 40cm invisible zipper; thread

Pattern notes suggest: laundered cottons, batiks, chambray, poplin, sateen, challis laundered silk-rayons, brocade, satin, shantung, taffeta, linen and linen blends




Spring, Summer, Fall
Garment Type
Casual, Classic, Romantic, Vintage
Cotton, Blends, Linen, Polyester, Rayon, Satin, Silk, Taffeta


Simplicity paper pattern

11 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • Img1401055272558_large

    Oct 15, 2014, 10.21 AMby SassyT

    Very cute! Love all your creations.

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    Jan 28, 2014, 07.28 AMby x-alexandra-x

    This is so much fun, and so beautifully made!! That fabric is just gorgeous!

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    Jan 7, 2014, 05.06 PMby surfjewels

    Pretty dress, love the fabric.


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    Jan 6, 2014, 10.24 PMby MojoHollz

    I love everything about this dress! The print, the pattern, the pockets! I love that you matched the print on the pockets. All of it is fabulous!

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    Jan 6, 2014, 07.23 PMby kisses

    Lovely dress and I really like how it shape

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    Jan 6, 2014, 06.20 PMby carolynsuzanne

    Adorable!! Beautiful dress and the fabric is perfect! It fits you so well too. Amazing job.

  • Bulgaria_and_france_burgundy_2012_101_large

    Jan 5, 2014, 11.12 PMby schnui

    Very pretty dress.

    1 Reply
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      Jan 6, 2014, 11.43 AMby cynthia-1

      Thanks everyone for all your positive comments! xoxo

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    Jan 5, 2014, 09.02 PMby dvinare

    looks so nice on you! and I really like the pattern :)

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    Jan 5, 2014, 07.47 PMby sarahsdaughter

    Lovely Summer Dress and your fabric choice is FAB!

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    Jan 5, 2014, 10.56 AMby RedDynamica

    your dress is awesome!

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    Jan 5, 2014, 10.15 AMby Mary Athey

    Beautiful dress and it looks gorgeous on.you. the fabric’s just wonderful x

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