1950s Day Dress – Simplicity 1507

February 10, 2011

Pattern Description:
1950’s sleeveless dress with lowered waistline, waistband and below-knee pleated skirt. bodice is fitted with bust and side darts. version 1 has a bit of neck trim.

jacket is cut boxy with a shoulder dart in the front and no shaping in the back. collar and facing are cut-in-one and 3/4-length sleeves have cuffs.

Pattern Sizing:
size 15/B33

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
close enough for government work!

Were the instructions easy to follow?
yes. by the 50s, simplicity patterns seemed to be including more details with their instructions and better illustrations as well.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
the elongated waist immediately drew my eye because, as with many modern women, i’ve had a difficult time adjusting to the shorter waists of so many vintage styles. i loved the waistband and the change into a pleated skirt, and i was intrigued by the idea of doing two different orientations of stripes on the same patter, as depicted in the pattern drawing for view 1.

Fabric Used:
liberty of london tana lawn “purple chris”, from purl soho in NYC
bemberg rayon lining, NY Elegant Fabrics

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
tucked out 1/2″ on the bust darts and pulled in at the sides for a tighter fit. i wish i had altered the armscye as well, since it comes closer to the edge of my shoulder than anticipated and can be uncomfortable, almost like carrying a heavy bag, after all-day wearing. i may go back and re-fit this section.

i added interfacing to the bodice for greater stability against the tana lawn and lined the bodice with contrast bemberg, as well as adding a contrast waist stay and bias-binding the zipper with contrast tape, just for additional interest. i added a straight skirt lining, eliminating the pleats, and trimmed it with contrast lace hem.

i eliminated the neck trim because 1) the instructions didn’t make enough sense and 2) with the busyness of my fabric, i felt i had enough going on.

i ended up hand-picking the zipper and adding beads because, well, i like the look, and it gave the back a bit of visual interest. also, the first time i tried inserting the zipper with my sewing machine i almost lost the garment.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
it’s a great little dress and i can see myself doing it again, but right now i’d like to focus on completing the matching jacket. i had attempted one earlier this year but had a massive series of headaches, first with the incredible amount of wearing ease in the design (the jacket is truly *boxy!*) and then with construction errors (i may never attempt to “bag” a lining again!), but the dress really needs the jacket to complete it as a “look”, especially if one wants to wear it at work, or in the winter.

i will grade the pattern slightly, adjust the sleeve and cap ease, and hand-attach the lining with some light tailoring according to kenneth d. king’s techniques as outlined in his “tailored jacket” e-book.

  1. I wasn't sure I was going to like the fabric from the swatch posted, but the dress made up in it is FABULOUS. I'm not brave (or thin) enough to wear horizontal stripes, but on you they look great.

  2. Love the multi-directional lines and the dress looks lovely. Which way will the stripes in the jacket go, like the skirt or the bodice?

  3. i'm going to do the jacket in a solid color with a solid lining and, if i have enough stripe fabric after making a shirt, maybe make some bias tape to pipe around the jacket. i may also do a topper hat from one of Wearing History's patterns to complete the ensemble.

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