1950s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Chambray shirt dress

June 21, 2012

I finally got round to making up my first 1950s shirt dress! I used a Butterick kimono sleeved blouse pattern for the bodice and drafted a 3/4 circle skirt pattern, cut in 4 gores, for the bottom. The fabric is a lovely grey cotton chambray that was only £1 a metre.

For closure, I used two vintage buttons that are 1.5″ across, with my first go at bound buttonholes due to their large size. I also added a short zip to the skirt for ease of dresing, and made a self-fabric belt with a vintage buckle that is an almost perfect match for the buttons; the colour is right but the pearling is different.

I’m really happy with the result. It’s comfy and cool enough for all day wear (the weather was pretty warm this day) and is lovely to wear. And, according to my two-year-old, makes a good tent.

More info and photos here.

  1. This is a beautiful dress, you look stunning (especially in the photo where you are sat on the grass) – great work!

  2. Awesome dress!

    I absolutely love chambray, but it’s obscenely difficult to find, especially in 100% cotton, and I can’t figure out why. I thought it was a good basic fabric? So where is it all?My local fabric shop had a bolt of charcoal chambray as part of one of their fall fabric lines last year, but it sold out in record time, which I think should be a clue that the sewing world wants more chambray!

    1. I know! I’ve never seen it in any of the regular fabric shops (even having worked in one for two years), but this was one roll in a church hall crammed floor to ceiling with racks of bargain fabrics. I wish I’d bought more now as it only cost me £1 a metre!

  3. I love kimono sleeves! your dress is great! I would like to see the pattern of the bluse, I’ll visit your blog to see if you show it there

  4. Loved seeing your blog, and charming to see how useful a circle skirt can be, especially with children. Will add this skirt to my never-ending list of things to sew, and hope it turns out a nicely as yours. Beautiful work – brava on bound buttonhole!

  5. What a gorgeous dress! And those buttons are to die for.
    But my immediate reaction when I saw the colour of your hair was ” How great would it look with a contrasting red belt?’

    1. There’s a red belt in the works- I had the same thought! I have a lovely 1930s/40s buckle that will be perfect too- a two part buckle in the form of two overlapping circles, one red and one grey.

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