My first 50’s newlook dress

I have been admiring the amazing 50’s fashion for a couple of years at least. But never had the guts to really wear it. Here in Ukraine or almost any other post-soviet country being too different from everybody else is not a very cool thing. Especially if your work suggests a strict dress-code. You have to at least match one of the common trends and vintage is not one of them.

50s wiggle dress

My first 50s wiggle dress

Fortunatelly for me at me current work place I have more freedom in what to wear, so I am enjoying it big time))).

This is a first dress I made drafting the pattern by myself. I used an old Soviet sewing book published back in mid 50’s. Here’s the original pic from the book.

I used about 1,50 meters of pretty thick stretch fabric. This made the dress extremely comfy and easy to sew. Non-stretch fadric would have been more complicated for someone so in experienced in pattern drafting as I am.

50s wiggle dress

Original dress picture from the book

50's wiggle dress - front view

50's wiggle dress - front view

50's wiggle dress - back view

50's wiggle dress - back view

This has become my magic dress: I wear it when I need to look good, and when I don’t feel like dressing up, but still need to look nice.

One terrible thing about this dress. After I made it I had nothing to wear immediatelly))). Simply because nothing else looked as good on me as this one))).

• Meet the Author • Yulia


Hi! I was born in USSR, growing up in post-soviet-collapse-tough-ninties, nowdays living in capitalistic ;) Ukraine. My Mom was sewing for me and my sister, so we never looked like kids around. At that time I thought it was a thing showing off how poor we were. I grew up and started sewing because this was the only affordable way to dress for me. Now I do it because I love it. Not long ago I have fallen in love with the 50's. I draft my patterns based on old Soviet sewing books.


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22 comments… add one

  • Great dress! You did a fantastic job particularly since it was self drafted. I have to try that. It is also very interesting to hear what it is going on in the Ukraine, vintage fashion wise. :)

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  • This is so so gorgeous–I love everything about it! The fit looks perfect, too.

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  • Great dress!

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  • fabulous job, especially as you drafted it yourself. You look great in it- hope you are encouraged to make more wiggle dresses!

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  • Wow, it looks great! You did a very nice job.

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  • I can see why you don’t want to wear anything else! You look lovely in that beautiful, beautiful dress. Nice job!

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  • This is beautiful. You may single-handedly change the fashion trends in the Ukraine with this dress.

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  • You’ll have to make one for every day in different fabrics. ;)

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  • Va va voom lady! That’s a knock out dress. I think Joan Halloway would chase you down the street to steel it of you if she could. I can’t believe this is your first go at drafting your own pattern. You are either super skilled or soviet pattern drafting books are the best out there. Great, great dress. I can see how it’s an absolute favourite. You look stunning in it.

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    • Oh, Joan Holloway was actually the one that really pushed me to wearing this type of clothing. I am not really super skilled))). The books are good, they were developed for amateurs with advanced skils, so explanations are not too complicated. Back in those days people did not have too much variety in stores and lots of women knew how to sew. I have been sewing almost all my clothes for 6 years by now using Burdastyle patterns. But I found out patterns require too much alterations, so decided to try making my own. It turned out to be so fun!!!

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  • Beautiful dress! That could definitely turn into a go-to pattern in different fabrics. And it’s got a vintage but classic feel to it, so you can wear what you like but not feel like you stand out too much (it’s a careful balance sometimes, to look vintage but not costume-y), although as you wear more of it, you start to feel more confident standing out.

    And so interesting to see what was going on in Soviet fashion! People were all such a mystery to one another on the two sides back then. We had a family friend who was able to travel to the USSR back in the 80s, and she brought back a tiny bottle of Soviet perfume for me. I looked up the Cyrillic letters and I think it was called Moscow Red. Very much an 80s perfume, similar to Giorgio.

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    • The perfume you are talking about is definitely “Red Moscow”. This is Soviet “Chanel #5″ ever since 1925. In 1958 it won a prize at Brussels. They actually still sell it in Russia and here))).

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  • Love it! So flattering to the figure! Dxx

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  • Dear ladies,

    Thank you all for all your comments and compliments. You are absolutely right – this type of clothes makes you a different person))).

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  • This is a knock out. It’s so interesting to hear about fashion in the Ukraine.

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  • That looks lovely! I’ve recently started drafting my own patterns too – so satisfying :-) You’ve done a brilliant job here. I’ll bet you’ll be making more.

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    • Oh, definitely))) I have made some more already, but I am a very bad model(((. This was actually my first dress I’ve ever enjoyed posing in in front of the camera.

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  • What a great dress you look so stylish! Well done.

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  • You have done a great job, it is SO satisfying when a garment feels like so good you want to wear it all the time! And for a self drafted dress, wow, I’m impressed, I haven’t tried it yet myself.

    I’m looking forward to your next project!

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  • Yulia! That dress fits perfectly and is so flattering! Great job!

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  • wow, your dress looks stunning! well done! Absolutely gorgeous!

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  • Wow! This dress is gorgeous and looks incredible on you.

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