Tea Dress

by Netty on May 20, 2012 · 23 comments

in 1950s,Dresses,Vintage Sewing

There is such delight in logging into We Sew Retro and having a gander at the inventive posts by other vintage lovers!!
I have been a long time lover and sometimes drooler at the gorgeous fashions posted!!

In my town is the most adorable vintage collectables store. Now and then I repair the vintage clothing and this particular dress needed a new zip, so I was very happy to repair zip and take a pattern off this most wanted dress! ( it is teeny tiny, and I cannot suck my tummy enough to squeeze it on!)
So new pattern = new dress = excited lady!
This is the original dress, gorgeous colour and so cute !

I made this in some lovely cotton I found from spotlight from the vintage range. What I love about this dress is the cross over pleats on the bodice.

Also another wonderful feature is underarm gussets which give so much more movement and comfort for a fitted sleeve.

No beautiful vintage inspired tea dress can be complete without a petticoat! Now we are talking and walking with style :)

I love wearing my tea dress and receive so many lovely comments by passers by. There is something timeless and very romantic about wearing vintage inspired fashion :)

This post was written by...

– who has written 1 posts on WeSewRetro.com.

Longtime lover of Vintage. I own a Clothing alteration design studio where I specialise in vintage style reproductions including daywear and swimwear.

Netty's posts / Netty's website

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Kass May 20, 2012 at 10:49 am

Gorgeous! The fit and shape are so wonderfully spot on. Well done!


Katherine May 20, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Welcome Netty! These are gorgeous – nice work! :D


Jeanne May 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm

just beautiful!


silverstah May 20, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Oh, I love it! The floral print really works well with the pattern!


Foster May 20, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Wow! Absolutely fabulous! Great work!


Tessa May 20, 2012 at 1:41 pm

The fabric of the original dress is so beautiful! Your version is really well done, and such a great print. I would love to see a closeup picture and maybe an internal picture of the underarm gussets. I’ve been hearing more and more about how awesome they are lately, and I am thinking about adding them to a dress I’ve been planning. Were they included in the original dress, or did you add them yourself?


Lou May 20, 2012 at 4:08 pm

This is lovely.


Netty May 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Thank you Ladies for your really lovely comments.
Tessa ,the underarm gussets are in the original dress. Many dresses from the 50′s era had underarm gussets. Sadly through the fashions changing , patterns became much more loose and not so tailored. The underarm gusset sort of died out. I try to add underarm gussets when I can as they are perfect for a fitted sleeve that looks crisp and sits well. It also gives you so much more movement in your arm as the gusset underneath allows for your arm to lift right up, which a normal fitted sleeve wont let you do.
The other great thing about this gusset is that you don’t actually sew a sleeve in, it is a magyar sleeve , which just means the shoulder is extended to make it look like a sleeve.
I will try to put together a post of how a gusset is made and show a picture of the process of putting one in with pictures. I think you you should try and add it to your dress, and discover how comfy they are :)


Katrina - Edelweiss Patterns May 20, 2012 at 6:32 pm

Oh, how lovely! The 1950s is my all time favorite era, and I just adore the pictures you posted.

Welcome aboard, and happy sewing!



A.J.A. May 20, 2012 at 7:03 pm

These are both divine.


Miss Ava Kitten May 21, 2012 at 3:25 am

Just one word needed BEAUTIFUL!


Domestic Debbie May 21, 2012 at 9:14 am

Absolutely fabulous. I love the fabric on both dresses. The criss cross bodice is perfect. I can’t say enough wonderful things! :)


Isis May 21, 2012 at 10:20 am

It’s lovely! I really like the shape of the bodice!


retrosewer May 21, 2012 at 11:32 am

Oooh la la!


Sophie (monbouton) May 21, 2012 at 11:47 am

this is a stunning dress! The pleats on the bodice are perfect!


trish May 21, 2012 at 4:15 pm

that green is so gorgeous (and yes, very tiny-looking). How fantastic that you were on hand to (1) repair the zipper so that some lucky tiny person can wear it, and (2) reproduce the pattern to make another gorgeous creation complete with the wonderful underarm gussets, and also (3) share these pictures with us. Thanks for being so awesome!


Harriet Bazley May 21, 2012 at 6:15 pm

It’s lovely – I think I like your print version better than the shiny green original!


Netty May 22, 2012 at 2:36 am

Thanks lovely ladies for such beautiful comments :) Trish, I know for sure there were a few ladies trying to suck their tummies in enough to try this little green gem on! lol….


Michelle Marie May 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Oh my goodness!! Its a dream. Job well done :)


Joni May 23, 2012 at 10:53 am

Can you pretty please tell us some more about how you made the petticoat? I don’t think I can possibly be happy until I have added one like that to my wardrobe!


Netty May 24, 2012 at 3:47 am

The petticoat is made up of an A line skirt in satin, a layer of netting, and a layer tulle.
I made an aline skirt in satin, it does not need to be too full as it is the underneath layer. I just made sure it was wide enough at the waist as it needed to pull over my hips as there is no zip.
I then cut 4 lengths of netting from the roll, the length that I wanted my petticoat and seamed the edges together to make 4 panels to my skirt. Then gathered the waist and stitched it onto the satin.
Then repeated the process with soft bridal tulle, I think there is about 5 metres width of the tulle in the skirt.
After I have all my layers together and stitched at the waist I cut a length of satin about 4 cm bigger than my hips ( the widest part ) and 10 cm wide. I stitched the ends together and made a waist band with this and inserted a 2.5 cm wide x comfy waist measurement, piece of elastic. So this is comfy and fits over the hips great!! Of course you can determine how full you want your skirt by how many layers of netting you decide to do. I made the decision to put a soft tulle on the top layer as it is not so harsh and gives a softer look , especially when wearing dresses in fine cotton :) hope this is of some use to you Joni :)


Joni May 25, 2012 at 9:08 am

Yes!! Thank you so much!!


Danielle July 16, 2012 at 5:31 am

That is fantastic! Oh, why can’t we all wear dresses with lovely petticoats! Love it!!


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