1950s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

1950s Green Drop Waist Sundress – Butterick 7754

By on September 19, 2015

My girlfriends and I attended an adult night cocktail party at a local interactive children’s museum. I really wanted to make a dress that would fit the spirit of the event. I have always loved the drop waist silhouette of the 1950s as it is flattering and flirty! I had this pattern, and was missing some green in my wardrobe.

Butterick 7754 size 18, bust 36. ca. 1956
Butterick 7754 size 18, bust 36. ca. 1956

I used a stretch cotton sateen solid for my bodice, and used my cotton quilt print as the skirt and trim for neckline and armholes.

butterick 7754 trimThis dress was super easy to make. Not including my cutting time, I was able to sew, alter, and hem this dress in one day. The skirt is one large piece with one seam. It is gathered at the drop waist and is semi-full.

Dress front
Dress front with petticoat.

This pattern has a WHOLE LOT of ease. My copy of bust 36 had finished measurements of Bust 40″, waist 32″, upper hips 40″. The darts were perfect for me, so I had to take in 2″ on each side seam. Due to my stretch cotton bodice, I didn’t even have to place the side zipper.  Also to note, this pattern is ideal for a bigger busted gal…up to a D cup due to the neckline gathers. You will most likely just have to drop the front darts, but I wanted to mention it.

butterick 7754 pr review mainOverall, I really loved this pattern. It was quick and easy to make. I am sooo in love with the silhouette, and it could easily work as a sundress or cocktail dress. You can read more at my blog: What’s New Pu55y Cat.

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1950s | Blouses | Vintage Sewing

Baby Pink Novelty Print Halter Top – Advance 6394

By on September 8, 2015

I picked up a yard of this super cute ‘baby-print’ fabric at a thrift store, which was just enough to make this 1950s Advance halter top.

advance 6394 halter

The lining is an exact mirror of the outside design, so this is a great pattern if you are looking for a pattern that could also be reversible. I lined my print with a white cotton, and added white piping around the neckline and back.


advance 6394 halter close upadvance 6394 halter side

I added some boning to the sides for added structure and support. Also, the pattern called for three bound buttonholes. I think it calls for so few to fit with the coordinating skirt and shorts without adding too much bulk. Since I was not making these other garments (for now), I opted for five conventional buttonholes instead.

advance 6394 halter back

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1930s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

1930s Cotton Butterfly Day Dress – Butterick 5764

By on September 3, 2015

I was able to snag this pattern, and loved the variation of the dresses.

butterick 5764

I wanted to make this a true 1930s day dress for view C, so I constructed the dress of a quilter’s cotton. I wanted to keep the natural drape of the collar, so I made that piece of a poly peachskin.

butterick 5764 fullI made a few changes, and there were a few challenges with this pattern. One change I made was that I added a slight elastic waistband instead of making the belt. Some of the challenges included having to make a back yoke as the collar did not come close to reaching the back bodice. Also, the french cuffs were designed to be very small, the construction was odd and the end result was not practical. I ended up just scrapping them, and making a keyhole construction while keeping the gathers at the button cuffs. You can read more of my trail of tears here.

butterick 5764 close up

I fully lined the dress, and am most pleased with the finished product.

butterick 5764 side

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1950s | Dresses | Modern Patterns | Vintage Sewing

Butterick 5882 – Shoulder Pad Shelf Bust Bra

By on July 26, 2015

Cocktail Rebel was a Rockabilly event at the beautiful McNay Art Museum. Upon deciding to attend with two of my girlfriends, I asked them what they wanted to wear. My BFF sent me a picture of Cha Cha’s prom dress featured in the movie “Grease”.

I had Gertie’s retro pattern, Butterick 5882, that I had been wanting to try.

butterick 5882

I wanted to keep the ruffles from the Cha Cha dress, at the bust. I pulled out a damaged vintage peignoir set that I was saving for such a project.

ruffle peignoir

I had also recently snagged some small shoulder pads at a thrift store, and immediately thought I would try something new. I wanted to place a shelf bra in the dress with padding at the bra cups. I decided to sew the shoulder pads together to make a full circle. I then added elastic, slightly stretched, around each top half of my ‘cups’ to ensure coverage and give each a more natural shape.

shoulder pad cup

I then encased each cup in the peignoir fabric, and hand sewed the peignoir ruffle collar to the areas of the cups that would be exposed. My shelf bra was made by taking the bodice pieces to slightly below the bust area. I used a thin, lycra poly knit and added a 1″ elastic band, cut 1″ short of my my BFF’s under bust measurement. I then added an elastic bra hook to the back.

shelf bust bra butterick 5882

I sewed the top of the shelf bra to my main fabric like a would a lining, leaving the center back unattached. Once all was placed together, and my zipper was placed, I then hand sewed my bottom bust ruffle trim, securing the outside dress to the bra cups to prevent separation of the pieces while in wear

One additional change was that I changed the arm straps into a halter.

I could not be happier with the end result, and my BFF was gorgeous!!

susan cha cha 1

susan cha cha 2

This is my first post to We Sew Retro, although I have followed for quite a while. Hopefully, this method may be helpful to some, and inspirational to others!

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