1950s | Dresses

Marilyn Monroe’s Brown Check Dress

By on April 14, 2016

Fans of Marilyn Monroe will recognise this stunning dress as a Travilla Designed costume for the movie “Gentlemen prefer blondes”


Well I had been planning to make my own version of this lovely wiggle dress for sometime, so when I was searching through my fabric stash for a fabric for a different project, and I came across this brown houndstooth stretch which I had put aside for this very dress, I thought it was about time to bring it to life.


The pattern drafting and garment construction was quite simple and explained a little more in depth on my blog. The dress has cut on kimono style sleeve, a few darts here and there, and it stretchy enough to slip on over my head, so no closures were needed. It is very comfy, and quite warm, so I think I will be getting a lot of wear from this dress over the coming winter.


Here are a few photos of me wearing it (as it fits me better than my mannequin) the first was this morning before I had make up on, an the second was when I returned home this evening, and the lighting was less than great, but you get the idea.



I just love Marilyn Monroe and reproducing some of her fabulous movie outfits. Some of you may remember my version of the white seven year itch dress last year, and I am already planning my next one, which will be another outfit from “Gentlemen prefer blondes” want to try and guess which one?


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1940s | 1950s | Dresses | Mad Men Inspired | Pattern Drafting | Vintage Sewing

mono dress & faux film noir

By on May 28, 2014
self drafted dress film noir

self drafted dress film noir

This dress is my second attempt at pattern drafting. I re-drafted my bodice block and made further alterations but still I need to take some volume from the back.

This was apparent when I came to draft the skirt. There was precious little difference between the back hip and waist measurements!

But I went with it after checking the measurements of the bodice.

It all works reasonably well but the side seams sit a little bit too forward for my liking and I’m sure by taking out the excess at the back it will make them sit properly. And will also give the back skirt a better shape at the waist!

self drafted wiggle dress

Hoping to prove myself right with the next version.

The design is based on a general 50s shape but I really like the angular necklines of the 40s. I’m not sure of the fabric content. It could be upholstery material! About 6 meters was given to me so I figured I could use it for this test dress and have plenty left over if I messed up!

As for the crazy  photos, Mr Ooobop was determined to practice with his new camera flash and who am I to argue?! A little wave of the Photoshop wand and abracadabra, all sorts of crazy faux film noir was achieved!

self drafted wiggle dress

More over on the blog

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1960s | Dresses | Mad Men Inspired

Weigel’s 2039 in blue crepe

By on December 9, 2013

Another new favourite dress, I love this pattern, I made a version in lovely green and black houndstooth over here.  And when I found this lovely blue crepe in an op shop, I had to make the slim skirted version, it was the perfect colour.  I’m sure you all know how exciting that can be!  So, here are the finished photos…

I went for sleeveless this time, and I have enough fabric left to make another dress too, so that worked out just fine.

I have been wearing it a lot lately, and it wears well, is comfy and so very blue!

I spent a bit of time working on the bodice for the best fit, I took some photos along the way, and shared some tips I have found useful.  Many more photos about the making over on my blog of course.

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1950s | Dresses

Green Vintage Dress

By on October 23, 2013

This is my first post on here!  I was so excited to find a site like this for all of us vintage sewing enthusiast.  I finally feel like I fit in!  I am the kind of person with zero patience and if I am going to sew myself something I want to wear it right away.  So I had this pattern for awhile but couldn’t think of any occasion to wear it.  Finally we were invited to our friends surprise birthday party and had the perfect occasion for this dress.  I wanted it to be green but had a hard time picking out the fabric.   I had decided on a linen kelly green by Robert Kaufman that I had ordered online.  It was a tad brighter then I had hopped for but I actually grew to really love the color.


This is the original pattern, but I changed the neckline into a v-neck because it just wasn’t fitting me right.

I took out my handy seam ripper and went to work.

Had I known that I was going to change the neckline I would have sewn it a lot differently.  But it turned out okay  (Its good to think of each project as a learning experience).  It fit great and we had a wonderful time.

This is me attempting to do what is called the “Cupid Dance”.  The whole time I thought that they were calling it the “Cuban Dance”.  My husband got quite a laugh watching me attempt this.

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1960s | Dresses | Modern Patterns

1960s Wiggle Dress – Inspired by The Hour

By on September 30, 2013

I’m obsessed with The Hour, an incredible show set int the 1960s, and this is the first dress (hopefully of many!) that I’ll be recreating from the show.

The inspiration:

This is a heavyweight cotton fabric with a fun lace print. I used Bluegingerdoll’s Billie Jean pattern for the dress.

It was originally an off-the-shoulder dress which I modified so I could wear a regular bra with it. I also added a larger vent so I could walk easier and faster.

This was such a quick sew and it turned out so well! You can read more and see more pictures on my blog.

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1950s | Dresses | Pattern Drafting | Vintage Sewing

My first 50’s newlook dress

By on June 14, 2013
50s wiggle dress

I have been admiring the amazing 50’s fashion for a couple of years at least. But never had the guts to really wear it. Here in Ukraine or almost any other post-soviet country being too different from everybody else is not a very cool thing. Especially if your work suggests a strict dress-code. You have to at least match one of the common trends and vintage is not one of them.

50s wiggle dress
My first 50s wiggle dress

Fortunatelly for me at me current work place I have more freedom in what to wear, so I am enjoying it big time))).

This is a first dress I made drafting the pattern by myself. I used an old Soviet sewing book published back in mid 50’s. Here’s the original pic from the book.

I used about 1,50 meters of pretty thick stretch fabric. This made the dress extremely comfy and easy to sew. Non-stretch fadric would have been more complicated for someone so in experienced in pattern drafting as I am.

50s wiggle dress
Original dress picture from the book

50's wiggle dress - front view
50's wiggle dress - front view

50's wiggle dress - back view
50's wiggle dress - back view

This has become my magic dress: I wear it when I need to look good, and when I don’t feel like dressing up, but still need to look nice.

One terrible thing about this dress. After I made it I had nothing to wear immediatelly))). Simply because nothing else looked as good on me as this one))).

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1960s | Dresses

Grapesicle Dress

By on May 12, 2013

So there I was minding my own business when I thought, “Hey! That bright purple stretch cotton shirting in my stash would make a GREAT wiggle dress!”

Of course I had to do it. The Sewing Gods must be obeyed.

I combined two patterns in my stash – I put the bodice from 5808 (dated 1960) on top of the skirt from 5507 (dated 1961). This was a great instant gratification project – about $15 in supplies and a day and a half of labor. Even better, it allowed me to check off one of my resolutions as I’ve been meaning to make a wiggle dress for ages! Of course, what happens when don’t make a muslin is that you discover that the bateau neckline is about an inch too wide on either side… after it’s been faced and understitched. (This is at least the third bateau neckline I’ve had problems with, maybe someday I’ll learn!) Rather than undo all that hard work, I took a couple of pleats on either side of the neckline to rein in the extra material. They coordinate with the double pleats in the skirt so I’m calling it a design element.

The purple color is really hard to photograph – it’s a bit grape-ier in real life. And I am hard to photograph too!

All in all, I’m really glad I made this dress for myself. For one, it was really nice to have a new dress for Mother’s Day! For another, I’m gradually getting over my fear of my giant hips. I was really surprised to learn that I don’t look like Barney the Purple Dinosaur in such a form-fitting dress. Actually, while I used a material with a wee bit of stretch, I didn’t really need to – there is plenty of ease in the hips. Once I get the neckline issues worked out, I actually have some vintage brocade that would make a SMASHING wiggle dress!

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