1960s | Dresses

New Year, New Dress

January 5, 2012

Even though I didn’t have anything more exciting than church planned for New Year’s Day, I thought a new dress would be in order. Continuing my pretty well-documented shirtwaist fetish, I tried out one of my latest eBay acquisitions, Simplicity 3580 from 1961. The pattern called for button links, and as luck would have it I had some nice vintage pearl ones in my stash! (They are really just shank buttons with a metal linky deal in between.) The fabric is some wonderful Tula Pink ‘Parisville’ I’ve been hoarding for the right moment. Yes, that is a Marie antoinette-style lady you are seeing with a fully rigged sailing ship in her hair.

I used five smaller buttons instead of the one giant button they suggest – since I had the lovely vintage pearl shank buttons, it seemed a shame not to use them. I also used some wide ribbon instead of making a covered belt, but other than that, I followed the pattern pretty much exactly. It’s a ‘proportioned’ size, so I took advantage of that by making the bodice in the ‘tall’ size, since I am 5’7″. I cut the skirt at a Medium and still had to hem it up 4 inches (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, these patterns were drafted for Amazons) – next time I will save some yardage and cut the skirt at the Short length. Anyway, here I am all tricked out in heels and my trusty crinoline petticoat.

I love it, this dress was so easy to make (no side zipper!) and a lot of fun to wear. The only thing I really didn’t like is the one piece front facing/collar thing, it doesn’t lay flat no matter how much I press and understitch (but it’s a dark and busy print so you can’t really tell). I can see myself using this pattern again and again and switching out the collar and sleeves.

  1. What a fun dress! Tula Pink does make some cool fabrics.

    Not surprised you opted for the many buttons. Those ‘one big button’ tops look great in theory, but I’m not sure they really work in practice. Having made a blouse like that once, I ended up having to hide poppers all the way down because it kept gaping otherwise!

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