1960s sundress

This Butterick pattern from 1960 has been floating around my workroom patiently waiting it’s turn and when a couple of meters of this Makower cotton came my way it was a perfect match. Even have a glass necklace I bought in Venice years ago to follow through on the oranges theme… just need some sunshine and warm weather now.

About the pattern:

Fit- The 34″ bust easily fitted my 35 1/2″ bust. The bodice needed to be shortened a good 1″ through the waist as I have a rather short waist measurement, which happily also made the waist the  2″ bigger I needed.The shoulders sit very wide which I like, but the front and back necklines both gaped a bit. There is a centre back seam so the back was easily fixed. I could take a little tuck under each bow to fix the front but its not dreadful gapping so will probably leave it alone. It is easily fixed on the pattern for making another time. I also shortened the skirt pattern about 2″ to finish at 26 1/2″.

Style- The skirt is 92″ around the hem, I love a full skirt! However I don’t really like when vintage styles are left looking limp without a petticoat but at the same time often feel wearing a petticoat is too much… so I compromised by sewing a 2″ wide band of crinoline in the hem turning. That does help keep a nice skirt shape but wasn’t quite enough as the hips needed a bit of ‘oomph’ too. My theory is it makes my waist look smaller :)  so I made a very simple petticoat from some stiffened cotton mull. It’s not very nice looking and is scratchy as well so I’m going to redo it in some organza instead. It is just an A-line shape with tight gathering only at the sides to hold the dress out just in that area. The pattern illustration is of course a little idealised. The main differences are that the neckline is really more of a bateau neck and sits almost above my collarbone rather than in the shallow curve pictured. Also the neckline notches, by the bows, which are a nice detail, sit quite high, nearer the shoulders than as sketched and could do with being lowered. These are alterations I will make for using it again. I’ll probably add side seam pockets in the next full skirt version too.

Will I make it again- Yes. Both in the full skirt style and in the jacket and narrow dress version too as that is the real reason I bought this pattern. Now I know exactly what to do to the pattern to make the fit perfect next time though for the jacket I will do a quick toile first because I really want the collar to be just as pictured in the illustration and I suspect the pattern will need some tweaking and a good interfacing to achieve the look.

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