1930s | 1940s

Dance Lesson – Playsuit & Skirt?

October 11, 2012

I always have a project in mind for a dance outfit. And I saw a post today on a blog highlighting another post about the outfits in stage door.

 Ginger Rogers in Stage Door


I like the thought of a ‘playsuit’ but with a matching detachable skirt. As I’d wear it purely for dancing rather than ‘all day’ the usual issues I have with play suits and jump suits wouldn’t apply.

I’ve seen a few vintage patterns with this concept of shorts, swimming costume or playsuit with a detachable skirt.

I was looking at maybe using a modern pattern like M6533 and drafting a matching skirt. But what kind of skirt? A-line, circle, half circle, pleated or dirndl? What do you think.

I have been keeping back in my stash a nice printed cotton, black with little flowers.

  1. The style of skirt depends on the era you’re trying to imitate. Playsuits with matching, detachable, skirts were pretty common. The style of the skirt went along with whatever was the prevailing skirt style, except they often buttoned all the way down the front.

    This only has a few images so far, but here’s my playsuit set on Flickr. DuBarry 5615 (1943) is mine; the “dress” on the left is actually the playsuit with the skirt over it. The skirt is a standard early-1940’s A-line.

    1. Sorry–incomplete post.

      If that were mine, I’d go back and look at some Seventies patterns for ideas. That looks a lot like a lot of Seventies and early Eighties jumpsuits. Maybe a wrap skirt?

      1. Had a little look. Didn’t really like the 80’s look.
        The only modern pattern I’ve found that comes close are ‘marfy patterns’

        Apparently Marfy Patterns
        Do not have cutting layouts
        Do not have seam allowances
        Do not have hem allowances
        Do not have instructions for assembly

        I could probably cope with the lack of allowances and cutting layouts just lack of instructions would throw me.

        1. Sorry, but . . . what the heck? Patterns for masochists? I mean, I could learn to deal, but why?

          How much sewing have you done? Could you combine a blouse and a shorts pattern?

          1. I don’t understand the point of paying for a pattern with nothing to help you put it together. lol

            I’ve sewn skirts half circle, dirndl, A line & pencil, 3 shirts,1 blouse, 2 dresses….I always use a pattern even to start from before I start changing things. I have not sewn shorts before. I’m just worried not seeing the construction of a playsuit close up how I would make it so it fitted. I was wondering if I could find one in a sale take it apart and use as pattern.

            I have this blouse pattern
            what shorts pattern to match it with though?

          2. I could photograph the directions from my playsuit pattern for you. Not the same as getting the pattern, but you could see how it’s assembled.

            I think mostly you need pants that open down the center front (as most do, anyway). Pants with a waistband might be helpful, too, at least for a first attempt, and probably pants that aren’t too fitted.

    2. I like the advance 4161. That’s sorta what was in my head.

      btw. just looking at your flikr groups. Inspirational images. I really have got to get over my fear of sewing things with yokes as its obviously what gives a 40’s impression.

      1. What’s up with yokes?

        I love yokes myself, but I’ve never had any trouble with them. Get yourself a pattern and some cheap fabric and practice.

  2. My mom had one of these. Playsuit had collar, buttoned down the front, gathered skirt that buttoned down the front so HAD to have the buttons on the skirt and the playsuit line up. No waist in the playsuit so it bloused over…she wore it to drive to Barstow in the 1947 Chrysler…it felt cooler that way but once we saw Grandpa we were forbidden to let him know that it was a one piece suit…somehow that was scandulous and he would be disappointed in her.

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