1950s | 1960s | Burlesque / Pinup | Dresses | Hats | Vintage Sewing

Simplicity 3445 – Birthday Burlesque

May 6, 2013

If it’s early May, there are two things those around me can count on:

1. I’ve tormented them for the last month with a countdown to my birthday (39 this year) and…

2. The Vancouver International Burlesque Festival (8 this year) is going on.

I love Vancouver’s burlesque scene.  There are some AMAZING, creative, sassy women working hard. This is why for the last four years I have attended at least one of the three showcase nights for my birthday.

Now usually I prefer to make something colourful, but my husband gave me a bespoke hat for my birthday gift and so I chose to make a 1959 Simplicity 3445, View B for my night out IN BLACK.  How very simply basic of me!

Thank you to momspatterns.com for always having what I need!

One thing I love about buying vintage patterns is the items you sometimes find tucked in the pattern envelopes.  I found a full page from The Los Angeles Times showing a dress similar to View 2, made in jersey for $11.98!  What a treat!

Newspaper from Feb. 21, 1960 with the newly married Mrs. Larry Cessna McVey.
"Star in no-iron Arnel jersey white as the Milky Way"

This pattern was really quite simple to put together and I used some black crepe I found in my stash.  I did a muslin to ensure that I didn’t have to do any major alterations.  The only alteration I had to do was to shorten the dress by 20cm (8″), but being 155cm (5’2″), I’m use to shortening everything!   I had given myself a week to work on the dress, but unfortunately I caught a head cold early in the week. Boo.  Needless to say, I am VERY lucky that this was a straight-forward pattern.  I managed to finish it up in about 12 hours over two days.

Full length picture of finished dress.

I really love the simple details of this dress.  I was worried that the waist gathers would add a paunch where no lady wants a paunch to be seen, but they are really very flattering.  The pleated sleeves are wonderful!  I really would like to make a bright, eye-popping version of this dress, that’s how much I love this dress.

Close up of waist gathers.
Subtle, but gorgeous sleeve pleats.

I don’t have a full body shot of the finished look yet, but I will post one once I have one!  Hopefully you can accept a head shot of the finished look.  I love my bespoke beaver felt percher with antique veil.  My necklace was also a gift – a design from the early 60s.  I wore seamed fishnet stockings and peep toe satin heels with bows at the heels.  We’ve had beautiful weather in Vancouver this week, but the nights still get a little chilly, so I finished the look with a rabbit capelet.

Head shot of the finished look!

I had a fabulous time celebrating my birthday with friends and the girls AND boys of burlesque.  The highlight of the night for me was when Judith Stein, Canadian Legend of Burlesque (in her 60s and STILL putting on a fantastic show!) stopped me after the show and complimented me on my look!  Meep!

EDIT:  An ALMOST full length picture of the finished look.  Picture by Pin-up Perfection Photography.

The final look outside the Vogue Theatre. Picture by Pin-up Perfection Photography.

    1. Thanks Jen. I adore the hat. I’m not ashamed to admit, I’ve worn it around the house while in my pjs!

  1. I like the 60’s style dresses. From what I have seen, they tend to be lady like but comfortable. You made a lovely dress.

  2. I love it. What a fab pattern, another one I want to steal.
    It he blousey bodice is gorgeous & those subtle gathers look perfect, giving a really nice curve at the hip.
    The hat is also to die for.
    Thanks for sharing, can’t wait to see a full length pic of the whole look. What shoes did you wear?

    1. Thanks Jayne! I’m waiting for the photographer to post the pictures.
      I wore a lovely pair of satin peep toe pumps in black. They have black ribbon bows at the back of the heel. Pretty and comfortable!

  3. I have this pattern at home! I haven’t made it, because I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. Seeing this, I might have to pull it out and get to work! Really lovely. Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    1. Thank you Michelle. The dress is really comfortable – I highly recommend trying to make this one. I made the self fabric belt, but liked it better without. I found it took away from the waist gathers. This style is great if you’re going to an event that’s going to be outside and warm. You can remain cool without having to worry if you’re showing too much skin.

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