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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1940s | Blouses | Buttons | Vintage Sewing

The PEPLUM plague

By on June 14, 2012

⁃ Fabric: some cheap cotton blend thing that should have been better used just as a toile, as i know the weight of the fabric is not really conducive to wearable garments-as i have made a top out of this stuff before. Dont worry i wont do it again. As you will notice from my  pics, there is a red and orange in my blouse, i didnt have enough red and i figured the orange will contrast-but it really looks to washed out. (shrug)

⁃ Pattern: free burda peplum blouse in wrong size so i had to grade up (i dont know how to grade?)

⁃ Year: modern 1940’s style blouse

⁃ Notions: 2 yellow buttons (i only have an assortment of yellow buttons so i am kind of limited. Although after showing my bf my finished blouse he so sensitively told me that the yellow buttons were different shades -dammmm you.

⁃ Time to complete: 8 months or some horrible timeframe like that, it has literally plagued my thoughts, like well the plague. I stopped. started.stopped.moved house.started. The areas of most annoyance were the sizing, creating a button opening and the gathered sleeves-it literally took me 4 hours to do the 1 sleeve so it didnt look cack.

⁃ First worn: after making it, after all that grading up its still too big in the waist and the back is shorter, so not great without a cinch belt

⁃ Wear again? hmm, i dont know.

⁃ Total price: bought some new red thread, everything else already had or was given – like a chisel set that im using for buttonhole slicing.


Well it took me awhile, but i did survive and finish it. Yes it has alot of mistakes but im just taking this as just one big learning curve.

– What I learnt:

Dont be over-ambitious, messing about with tricky details

Your size-This pattern was from the burda magazine, not my size! but you know how it is you fall in ove with a pattern arghhh. so grading up i thought would be as simple as adding some inches, WRONG! I had to add a front portion to the top as it was initially a blouse-buttons up front-so it really looks nothing like the original pattern/style picture. So please dont run before you can walk – buy for your measurements. it will only lead to massive frustration.

I did pick up the iron alot more,i love this quote ”if you dont have time to iron, you dont have time to sew”

Im not cutting corners as much anymore, using more interfacing web and ive used bias tape for the first time.

Im getting over my miser tendancies, yay. So im going to buy some proper toile-scouts honour.

A big thank you to all the peeps who post on wesewretro, you motivate and inspire me.xx

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