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1950’s Christmas Dress

Hi Everyone!  I have been a lurker on here for a while and this is my first post. 🙂


I fell in love with this barbie as soon as she was released and decided to make myself a Christmas dress inspired by her.

Yuletide Yummies 2012 Barbie

I used Butterick 5556, a retro pattern from 1955, and altered the neckline.  My Christmas dress is made of emerald green taffeta with red lace edging and red and green plaid taffeta sash.  I also put a back zipper in instead of the side zipper as the pattern called for.

My 1950s Christmas Dress

Figuring that I would be dry cleaning this dress anyway, I opted to sew a petticoat on to the lining.  I used red netting with a red lace ruffled edging over pongee lining.

I also added red lace on the cuffs like the Barbie inspiration.

I finished this dress last week and wasn’t having very much luck finding some red and green plaid, so my mother-in-law gave me this plaid taffeta that she had.  It wasn’t quite enough fabric to make a bow like I would have liked, so I may change the sash if I can find some fabric that will work for me.  I am wearing this dress for our family Christmas photo and am hoping to find some by then, but just in case I don’t, at least I have this sash.

About the author: I hail from a Northern California cattle ranch where I live with my husband and our fur kids. I’ve been sewing since I was a wee lass and am in love with fashions of the past — especially the 1910s and 20s. I’m a former anthro-archaeologist who now spends her days rescuing Border Collies, repurposing “trash”, organic gardening and adding to my fabric stash. I sew daily and mostly for myself as a girl can never have too many dresses.

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Michelle jadaa November 14, 2012, 4:00 pm

    What a wonderful dress!Well done!

  • life is stlye November 14, 2012, 4:15 pm

    lovely 🙂

  • Bea W November 15, 2012, 2:51 am

    OMG who wouldn’t want to be that Barbie doll? Your version is a great copy. Well done, enjoy twirling!

  • Tanya Maile November 15, 2012, 10:30 am

    Thank you everyone! 🙂 I can’t wait to wear this dress!

  • Ange November 16, 2012, 11:06 pm

    I love it!

    You have done such a great job… will there be a photo of you to come?

    • Tanya Maile November 17, 2012, 11:16 pm

      Hi Ange,
      Thank you! Yes, I’ll post a photo of me wearing it. I also found some red plaid fabric that I like better, so it will have a different sash. 🙂

  • Becky Culbertson November 17, 2012, 9:13 am

    I literally have Butterick 5556 sitting three inches from my computer. I plan to make myself a dress out of it for my niece’s wedding. What did you do at the neckline in the way of changes? Make it more open? I’m just trying to determine how your dress compares to what the finished product would have been.

    This is a fun look! Good job!

    • Tanya Maile November 17, 2012, 11:16 pm

      Hi Becky,
      This one was view B and I didn’t add the collar and opened up the neckline more. It’s a pretty good pattern although I didn’t like the side zipper, so I just put it in the back seam instead. It would look good with the collars as well. 🙂

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