Brocade Butterflies Dress


Hello everybody! I have another dress today, this time it’s a retro 40’s/50’s inspired wiggle dress in a beautiful poly brocade!



I had this butterfly and floral patterned brocade in my fabric stash for years, and it was high time I finally put it to use! I needed a dress to wear for an evening wedding and decided a classic wiggle dress would be perfect in this fabric. I used the same bodice pattern I used for my last dress I showed you all a few weeks ago, only adjusting the neckline into a sweetheart shape. I really like these little kimono sleeves as I like having my shoulders and upper arms covered if I can. I think the main thing I have learned about sewing with poly brocades like this one over the years is to finish the raw edges by sergeing or using a zig-zag stitch over them. I am super happy with how this dress came out as it will be so useful to have for nice dinners out and other evening events! You can see more photos over on my blog The Closet Historian!



1950s Green Drop Waist Sundress – Butterick 7754

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.

WeSewRetro Sew & Tell Group on Facebook

Ever wanted to share your project with the WeSewRetro crew but felt awkward about making a blog post? Maybe you just wanted to ask a quick question about a particular vintage pattern or technique? If this sounds like you, check out our WeSewRetro Sew & Tell group on facebook. This private group has 2800+ members sharing tips, photos and encouragement – I guarantee your facebook feed will become a much nicer place as soon as you join!

The group is set to ‘private’ which means only the group members can see what is in it. This is great if you don’t want your non-sewing-obsessed friends and family to be flooded with posts and comments about pretty dresses. It’s just you and bunch of your fellow retro enthusiasts pursuing our own special brand of craziness ;)


We have a strict no selling/advertising rule in the Sew & Tell, but if you have something vintage-sewing-related to pass on to someone else, check out our buy, sell, trade group here.



Earlier this summer, I decided I needed some new shorts.  I wanted something very 40s-ish…high waisted, side opening, pleats.  I hunted around until I found this patternpic4Very simple style but so very perfect!

I had to size the pattern up a bit, but that wasn’t hard.  It only had 3 pieces.  I transferred over the markings for the pleats, as well.  Going through my stash, I found a red gabardine to make a working muslin.    It had a nice weight to it and it was very soft.  Sewing went very quickly.  The pleats are sewn down on the front.  The directions didn’t call for it, but I used my fancy stitches on my machine to put a  little diamond on the end of each line of stitching to make it sturdier and of course, for pretty.

I put snaps in the side closing and me made bias tape in a  cute plaid from my stash. I didn’t put buttons down the side.  But  since I wanted them to have the sailor look, I added big white buttons down the front on both sides.

I think I like them.  The leg opening is very large and drafty.  :)  Something about the front crotch doesn’t seem right, but I’m not sure what it is.


My husband assures me he thinks they’re cute.  HOWEVER, he also kept calling them my Mickey Mouse pants.  *harrumph*  Not sure how much I trust HIS judgement!


Since he kept calling them Mickey pants, I decided I might as well go all the way.  Using some vintage  Mickey and Minnie fabric I had, I made a little sleeveless shell to wear with them.  They do make a really cute little outfit

Capper’s Weekly (1950’s) 2875 Western dress

Capper’s Weekly (an agricultural magazine) 2875, 1950’s. I was outbid on this ages ago but then stumbled across another copy relatively recently. The copy I have is a vintage 10 (bust 28) and I’m . . . not. I know that two sizes is considered to be the maximum safe grade, but when you can’t just pop out and get another copy in your size, what do you do? You suck it up, grade three sizes, and make a lot of test muslins.

Cappers 00 dress

(Actually, I think there is a bust 34 for sale on Amazon, but I have enough duplicates, and I was going to have to personalize the fit, anyway.)

I really, really, wanted to wear this to a concert on Friday night so I graded and sewed like crazy all Labor Day weekend, most of the evenings last week, and all day Friday (which I had off from work). I didn’t quite make it and ended up pinning myself into it, but it was dark and nobody was going to notice that I didn’t have buttons.

The fabric is green plaid homespun with, yes, gold lamé running through it.  It had to be a cowgirl dress.  I got 1 yard + 3 yards, which was all my Joann’s had, and never did find any more. That’s a lot of fabric but not for a 1950’s dress so I had to make it count.  I didn’t trust snaps to hold a whole dress closed so I went with white pearl buttons instead:

cappers 2875 02 fabric

I cut the yoke on the bias and made self piping to play up the Western-shirt look. The lamé only runs in one direction so I had to piece it.

cappers 05 bodice back

Since homespun is comfortable but kind of flabby, I went overkill and lined the whole thing (this meant I had to alter the pattern pieces into a lining that was in single pieces, front and back, to avoid the bulk of the yoke seams and gathering). The bodice is lined in green sheeting scrap and the skirt in muslin. It’s heavy but I sort of like the feel and body of it.

Cappers 2875 lining

I finished the armscyes using the 19th-century neckline method of whipstitching the piping seam allowance to the lining. Worked great.

cappers 06 armscye

I chickened out on grading the skirt and used a “pattern” I’ve been messing with in small scale, for a gathered quarter-circle skirt. Basically between a circle skirt and a dirndl–lots of sweep but more forgiving to fit around the waist than a circle, but less bulk than a dirndl. It worked beautifully, although it took every inch of three yards, and I wish I had had enough to make it an inch or so longer.

I LOVE this dress. The only issue is that it still has a bit of “side boob” going on–it’s poochy around the front dart. Not along the dart, though; it’s not a dart issue. I made a copy of the bodice front last night, slashed it diagonally from center-front-waist to side-armscye, then perpendicularly from that slash to side-waist, and rotated the quadrants inward a bit.

Cappers 01 comparison edit 650

That left the waist, side, and front measurements the same but took up some slack in the side front (around my ribs, basically) and made the dart shorter and shallower.

Cappers 02 comparison edit

I made a really ratty test of it last night and I think it’s what I want. It’s not meant to be tightly fitted but it’s less baggy without spoiling the softness of the gathers into the yoke.

Cappers 03 bodice refit

(Link in comments to the Flickr set, which has pictures of what I did to fix the bodice piece.)