1950s | Burlesque / Pinup | Dress Forms | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

The Little Red Dress Project, Butterick 5603

By on December 22, 2016
Butterick 5603 | Vintage on Tap

The holidays are now in full swing and I knew I had to hurry and stitch up my holiday dress! Fortunately I was able to fall into the “Little Red Dress Project” guidelines with my 1956 Butterick 5603!

Butterick 5603 | Vintage on Tap

Butterick 5603 | Vintage on Tap

Butterick 5603 | Vintage on Tap

Butterick 5603 | Vintage on Tap


I used silk dupioni, silk charmeuse to underline the whole thing, and silk organza to stabilize it. Surprisingly, for a dress with so much hand sewing, it didn’t take more than a few days to complete. The fit itself also wasn’t too difficult, though I did need to change the bust darts into pleats to be able to handle a full bust adjustment of 2″. From the waist, I cut about 5-6 inches to accommodate a small waist length as well.

To see more photos and read more about my specific tips sewing this dress, please check out my blog.
To watch the whole start-to-finish making of video, head on over to YouTube! 

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1950s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

A 1950’s Grad Dress from Vogue S-4727

By on July 18, 2014

For my high school graduation, I made my dress from Vogue S-4727, a vintage pattern from 1956. It may look familiar – I posted my wearable muslin for this dress here back in March!

I used turquoise silk dupioni, which wasn’t as challenging to sew with as I expected! The pattern itself was far more challenging than working with the fabric was. I underlined parts of it with silk organza to reinforce the seams, and it had underarm gussets and a very awkward zipper insertion. I spent a lot of time hand basting!

I ended up putting in an invisible zipper, which I would usually avoid, but the lapped one on my wearable muslin didn’t look very good because of the way the zipper curves into the godet. Because I don’t trust invisible zippers, I put in a waist stay to support it. I hemmed the skirt by hand with horsehair braid, which I love!  I wore it with two crinolines (a bigger, itchier one with a subtler, softer one underneath), both of which were vintage from my aunt. She wore one of them to her high school graduation in 1960!

My shoes are vintage that I bought at a thrift store. I love them! They’re all leather, made in Italy, and have a really gorgeous cutout detail on them. I borrowed the purse from my mom, and the pearl earrings and necklace once belonged to my grandma. I did my own makeup, although I didn’t do much. I did a bit of a cat-eye and wore some super subtle false eyelashes and my favourite lipstick.

My hairdresser did my hair and nails – hair is one thing that I can’t do myself! I loved my hairdo, so it was worth it to get it done (although it was quite a challenge to get my dress over my head without wrecking it!).

It was such a fun day, and I was so happy with my dress! For more construction details and photos, check out my blog post!

If you want to read about other steps in sewing this dress, I wrote posts on choosing a pattern, my two muslins, and my wearable muslin.

Thanks for reading!

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1910s | Dresses

An Edwardian Lacy Dress for Christmas

By on December 2, 2011

Hello Ladies!

This is one of my favorite dresses that I’ve sewn in a long time.  Using the “1910s Tea Gown Pattern” from www.sensibility.com , I changed the sleeve length, altered the overlay, added lace puffing, and sewed on some pleated ribbon trim for a gorgeous gown that is still similar to the original design. 

I had these pictures taken in a 1914 Edwardian mansion which was the perfect backdrop for this dress.  And despite my aversion to hairspray I was able to pull off something akin to an airbun which looked authentic for the time period. : ) 

The dress itself is made from ivory silk shantung with an overlay of embroidered tulle that cascades elegantly down the back.  Whenever possible I added hand sewn details, such as with the lace appliques on the sleeves and the hand sewn zipper. 

I used a plum colored silk dupioni for the sash, and ommitted the pattern’s rosettes in favor of a big, pouffy bow.  And I hand pleated the lavender ribbon at the neckline for added detail. 

There are far too many details about this gown to mention them all, but I have written more about it over on my blog, and there are additional photos on my Facebook page.  This gown was an absolute delight to wear, and I really felt like I had stepped back in time in that beautifully elegant house!

Hope you enjoy the pictures!

Katrina www.edelweisspatterns.com

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Vintage Sewing

A Silk Fabric Comparison

By on November 23, 2011

Hello Ladies!

I’ve recently been sewing some dresses using two of my favorite fabrics – silk dupioni and silk shantung.  These gorgeous materials make the most stunningly elegant outfits, and they are just perfect for holiday ensembles.  But recently I’ve heard some people wondering, “What’s the difference between dupioni and shantung, anyhow?”

I’ll admit that the two are so closely related that it is sometimes tricky to tell the difference, but you can usually make an educated guess if you know the following infomation:

Silk Dupioni is thicker, has more slubs, and the general texture is almost rustic.  It has recently gained more favor for formal wear and party attire, though in previous years it has been considered not quite as formal as shantung because of its rougher appearance.

Silk Shantung is thinner (though it still has a crisp feel), and has much smaller and fewer slubs.  This lustrous silk is perfect for almost any type of gown, and when viewed from a distance you may not be able to distinguish any texture at all.  You can use shantung for nearly any historic period as well, from Elizabethan, to Regency, and the 1950s (my favorite!). 

You can see more comparison photos and read the full article here.

Happy sewing!

Katrina – www.edelweisspatterns.com/blog

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1950s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

My Blue Silk Dupioni 50s Dress

By on October 22, 2011

Hello Everyone!

I just finished sewing a dress from one of my favorite eras – the 50s!  In the last few months I have posted pictures of my summery vintage dresses, but with the weather turning colder I knew I couldn’t continue wearing them for much longer.  So when a friend of mine gave me her mother’s collection of fabrics, I spotted a gorgeous piece of silk dupioni that begged to be made into a party dress! 

For this dress I used Butterick 5556 (a retro reproduction), which is a terrific pattern to work with.  Unlike some updated retro patterns, this style fits very well, except that there was too much room in the bodice in the picture of their model garment.  So with this in mind I cut the bodice smaller than my usual size, and it turned out nicely. 

I added a button closure down the front in addition to the side zip closure, which allows for more ease when you’re getting in and out of it.  At the sleeve ends I added a frill of double-ruffled silk, and I omitted the pockets and the skinny little belt. 

And I am so happy with how it turned out!  I love wearing this dress with my crinoline petticoat, and you can be sure I’m planning to use this pattern again in the upcoming months!  To read all about it you can visit my blog.

Happy sewing,

Katrina – www.edelweisspatterns.com

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