1950s | Dresses

Marilyn Monroe’s Brown Check Dress

By on April 14, 2016

Fans of Marilyn Monroe will recognise this stunning dress as a Travilla Designed costume for the movie “Gentlemen prefer blondes”


Well I had been planning to make my own version of this lovely wiggle dress for sometime, so when I was searching through my fabric stash for a fabric for a different project, and I came across this brown houndstooth stretch which I had put aside for this very dress, I thought it was about time to bring it to life.


The pattern drafting and garment construction was quite simple and explained a little more in depth on my blog. The dress has cut on kimono style sleeve, a few darts here and there, and it stretchy enough to slip on over my head, so no closures were needed. It is very comfy, and quite warm, so I think I will be getting a lot of wear from this dress over the coming winter.


Here are a few photos of me wearing it (as it fits me better than my mannequin) the first was this morning before I had make up on, an the second was when I returned home this evening, and the lighting was less than great, but you get the idea.



I just love Marilyn Monroe and reproducing some of her fabulous movie outfits. Some of you may remember my version of the white seven year itch dress last year, and I am already planning my next one, which will be another outfit from “Gentlemen prefer blondes” want to try and guess which one?


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1950s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

A New Frock for the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival

By on March 30, 2015

If you live in the Hunter Valley region of NSW in Australia, you know about the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival. Chances are if you are into the classic car scene and live anywhere in Australia you’ve heard about it. Those of you who don’t know about it, it is a whole weekend full of 1950’s goodness. There’s a show ‘n’ shine, lots of bands and dancing, heaps of market stalls selling vintage and reproduction clothing, accessories, homewares and gifts. It is probably the one weekend a year when I really love living in the area I live.

I always make at least one new Outfit for Nostalgia Festival. In fact, my very first 1950’s style dress that I sewed was for this festival. So I guess you could blame it for my obsession now? As I will be in my work uniform for one day of the weekend, I only needed to make an outfit for the Sunday (which is the biggest day of the weekend)

I recently came to possess this 1956 Australian Home Journal, and I knew I had to make the pink dress. So I found some divine pink rose cotton from my stash and set about grading up the pattern. As this is a true vintage pattern, and fabric from my stash, I’m also counting it towards my Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge, Yay!

Pattern and Fabric
Pattern and Fabric
Bodice minus the sleeve cuffs
Pleating the Fabric for the skirt, goodness there is a lot of fabric!

I did modify the pattern slightly, by adding bust darts at the side of the front bodice, as it was quite gapey in the armscye. I also hemmed it a bit shorter than the pattern says to, as I am not too tall myself, it is still quite long though. I used a solution of 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts water in a spray bottle to help set the pleats. No, I didn’t smell like vinegar, and the pleats stayed lovely and crisp all day

On the Saturday night, after working all day at the festival, I made a last minute decision to make a new petticoat for this dress, as I didn’t like how it hung with any of my other ones. I put it together nearly completely with my overlocker, only using my sewing machine for a straight stitch on the elastic casing. Then I put everything on my mannequin and admired my work.



Unfortunately I didn’t get a good full length shot of me wearing the dress, so here is a quick shot of my Mum and I before we headed out for the day. She came and raided my wardrobe and had me do her hair


Please feel free to head over to my blog to see more of my sewing. Parts of the initial construction of this dress are included in this post, and this post has a few more photos of the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival

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1950s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Frock 7852 from a 1951 Australian Home Journal

By on February 21, 2015

Inspired by some cute fabric I picked up on sale at Spotlight, I made myself this cute frock for a belated Valentines day weekend away with my Husband.


Unfortunately we forgot to take nice photos while we were away, so I’m stuck using this selfie I snapped at work one day.

Cutesy Kitty Fabric
Cutesy Kitty Fabric, only $2 p/m!

I’ve always loved the Neckline on the dress on the left of the cover of this home journal, and thought it would combine really well with the drape of this fabric. Together they make a great, easy to wear, girly frock.

1951 Australian Home Journal

As always, I had a helper with my sewing. This time it was my boy, Prince. He loves when I cut out fabric on the floor, but thank goodness he doesn’t jump up on my sewing cabinet like his sisters, he’s twice their size!

My boy Princey

As with pretty much all my vintage patterns, I had to grade this one up to fit, so I thought I would trace and scan my graded up pattern pieces to share with the world. To get the PDF pattern for yourself, just head to this blog post, or if you want to read a bit more about the construction of this dress or my pattern grading process, read this post.


Dixie O’Dare

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1950s | Blouses | Shirts | Vintage Sewing

A Floral Blouse from Maudella 1326

By on February 11, 2015

Hi Everyone!!!

This is my first post here, so I hope you like it!

The Pattern and Fabric (and a button that didn’t get used)

Here is my first sew for the 2015 Vintage Pattern Pledge, a pink floral blouse made from a vintage Maudella Pattern. The pattern I have is for a 36″ bust, so firstly I had to grade it up to 44″ bust to fit me. I usually have to grade up my vintage patterns as I have as they are so hard to find any where near my size.

Original V graded up Pattern
Original V graded up Pattern

The Fabric I used was a lovely piece of pink floral print cotton, gifted to me from a friend. This top will mostly be worn tucked in to skirts or pants, but it looks fine left out as well

Half made - tucked into some high waisted pants
Half made – tucked into some high waisted pants

I altered the pattern slightly, as I found the shoulders too wide for me.

Having a glass of wine at the in-laws
The sun was bright
But the View is Magnificent

To see more about the construction of this blouse, you can read my blog post about it here.

Happy Retro Sewing!

Dixie O’Dare

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