1950s | Dresses | Pattern Sizing | Vintage Sewing

Advance 5971, a “wearable muslin”!

September 20, 2012

Hello again!  I finally have pictures of the Advance dress that I was complaining about so bitterly a few months ago.  Here’s the pattern envelope again:

And here’s my version!

Since the pattern I have is (nominally) a little too small for me, I wanted to do a muslin first.  On the other hand, if it happened to fit, I wanted to be able to wear it.  So, I made up the bodice out of leftover fabric from one of my first circle skirts and added a little length to the lower edge of everything so that if it ended up being the right size-ish, I could just tuck it in to the waistband of the skirt and pretend it was a dress.

As it turns out, the bodice DOES fit, which is a bit surprising since it lists the bust measurement as 29″ on the envelope!  Either a gremlin switched out pattern pieces or this pattern has a heck of a lot of ease.  Of course, I’m not big-busted by any stretch of the imagination, but with a gently-padded bullet bra, my measurements come in a lot closer to 34″ or 35″, and this top wasn’t THAT snug.

I ended up extending the zipper placket all the way up to the bottom corner of the underarm gusset, as I felt like the snugness of the top made it a bit difficult to put on.  Once it’s zipped, it’s just fine… but wiggling into it is a trick.  It does pull a little across the bust/upper back, but I’m pretty happy with it anyway.  Speaking of gussets…

I think I managed some pretty successful First Gussets Ever.  I really love how much more range of motion they give… I will be on the lookout for more gusset-sleeved patterns in the future.

General sum-up?  I really love the finished result, even though I hated some parts of the construction process.  I’ll definitely wear it again, and I might even consider making a full dress with this pattern… although it may need a few small sizing tweaks.  I’ve got a few more (less over-exposed) pictures of it styled on my blog here, as well.



  1. Hi, Really cute dress! Those “bust” measurements on the really old patterns are the high bust measurements. So a 29 would most probably translate to a 32 or 33 full bust that is seen on newer patterns.

    1. Is that it? Huh. I know that some patterns of similar vintage I’ve bought seemed to be the regular bust measurement… they said they were 34″ and worked out just perfectly.

  2. This gorgeous! I love! You must be really excited and pleased with how this turned out! Interesting comment above on the bust measurements, will have to keep that in mind.

  3. Gorgeous! I love it! I remember the first 1950s dress I ever sewed was just supposed to be a practice version constructed with $2 a yard fabric… Everyone loved it so much that I didn’t have the heart to say how much it cost me. : )

    Muslins really do end up being the best dresses sometimes!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.