1950s | 1960s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

The Lavender Dreams Dress

May 6, 2012

Hello Ladies!

I love this party dress! I feel like going to a ball in it.

With how much sewing I’ve done this year, it seems hard to believe that I had not yet sewn one single 1950s dress until now!  The 1950s quickly became my favorite “wearable” era last summer when I discovered the fun of making Butterick’s “walkaway dress”, so you can be sure I snatched up a copy of Butterick’s new vintage design which looks similar on the pattern covers. (B5708)

In actuality, there are hardly any similarities between B4790 and this design I used, such as wraparound closure vs. side zipper, circle skirt vs. gathered rectangular skirt, no darts vs. darts, etc.   However, that vintage silhouette is still similar in both dresses, and while the pattern I used is technically a 1960 design, I think it’s close enough to the 1950s to still call it that!

While the pattern doesn't call for an overlay, I added one over the top and have it split down the center.

So now for the fabric!  I used a lavender matte satin which had a lovely sheen to it, and I had a lot of fun embellishing the bodice with Swarovski crystals and sheer ribbon.
The overlay is very unique in that is has three rows of machine embroidered scallops towards the bottom, and it has lots of lovely faux sequins.

If I use this pattern again I would definitely use something lighter weight, because the bodice is a little too firm with two thick layers of matte satin.  Personally I think the shoulder ties would probably be more suited to a sundress sort of fabric, but I still loved the way the dress turned out!


Lavender is my favorite color!

I sincerely wish that we could all go back to wearing dresses like those! The world would at least be a prettier place if every woman was all dressed up, but I suppose it’s just wishful thinking on my part.  Can you imagine what it would be like to walk down the street and see everyone dressed up like you see in the classic Hollywood films from the 30s and 40s?  Ricky Ricardo always wore a suit and tie on “I Love Lucy”, and more often than not Lucy herself wore a 1950s shirtwaist dress or blouse with circle skirt.  Nowadays we buy jeans with holes in them and frayed edges (I cannot claim to be innocent in this matter, and it’s very rarely that I actually dress up like this!).


Every dress looks better with a vintage hat!

Nevertheless, I always love wearing my 1950s dresses, and this one was a lot of fun to have photographed! You can see lots more pictures on my blog, where I whittled down the 168 photographs of this dress to just a couple dozen. : )

Happy sewing!


Edelweiss Patterns


  1. You know what? I am trying to class up the corner of the world where I live. 🙂 And you look positively smashing in that dress!

  2. Love it! The 50s is probably the era I wear most! Circle skirts = awesome! I just picked up that new Butterick pattern last week so I think I’ll have to try it out this summer.

  3. It’s a beautiful dress! And, I share your dream of people dressing nicely again. Actually, I’d settle for the jeans at this point, over the pajama pants (worn with slippers or crocs, of course) that people seem to think is suitable to wear out and around town! :O

    1. Thank you, Jenni! Maybe all of us at Sew Retro should start a classy clothing revolution. : )

      Well, I must admit that jeans are preferable to pajamas. : ) Let’s hope clothes get classier, because they can hardly get any sloppier!

      Happy sewing,


  4. Beautiful Dress. And thank you for all the comments on the pattern. I have recently bought this pattern myself and have two versions of it already planned. I can’t wait to get to them.

  5. I am in complete and utter awe of your skills, a genuine talent, this is truly beautiful xmx

  6. Katrina, that dress is simply GORGEOUS. I love the color, the overlay and the other extras you added! Perhaps the fabric is too firm, but I have to tell you it looks just perfect in the picture. My 15-year-old daughter (who is into vintage dressing and sewing, herself) really wants me to make this one for her, and I’m inspired by your version of it.

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