1950s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Safari Summer

June 1, 2013

Hello all!

Just when I thought I was making some serious dents in testing out my vintage patterns, this happens:

Happy Birthday to me indeed!

My friend’s mother found out I like to sew with vintage patterns and for my recent birthday, she sent me a box of patterns that belonged to an auntie that sewed all the time.  There was one knitting pattern (which I passed along to Laura Mae over at Lilacs & Lace – LOVE HER!!!) and 67 sewing patterns.  They included mens, womens, teens and kids from the 50s to the 80s.  SCORE!

But I digress…

This post is about a cute little pattern I’m pretty sure I picked up from momspatterns.com.  (She has some great stuff – go check her out.)  Simplicity 3471.

Simplicity 3471

View 1 and 2 are the same dress with different styling.  With both you can make the adorable bolero jacket and then either use extra fabric to make a matching belt, or the pattern comes with instructions for a cummerbund belt.  I wanted a really casual  summer dress and opted for no jacket.  I may make the cummerbund at a later date in the same contrasting fabric I used for the facings.

Elephants, giraffes, warthogs and lady lions!

I found this fabric at a local fabric store last year.  A friend of mine gave me a gift card for my birthday and of course I used it to buy fabric!  This is a basic quilting cotton.  The background is a mottled mixture of dark coral and light salmon with aubergine vines and animals.  From far away the colour combination caught my eye and when I got closer the whimsy of the print made me just want it that much more!  Perfect for a casual summer dress to walk the dog, run errands or sit on a patio.

The bodice for this pattern was the most cone shaped of any 50s pattern I’ve used to date.  I needed to reshape the horizontal darts and reshape and lengthen the vertical darts.  It’s still not perfect, but at least the bust points don’t sit an inch out from my actual bust point any more!

The zipper insertion was new to me.  It called for a slash in the skirt piece, a facing sewn and turned and then a lapped zipper put in.  For the most part, I prefer using invisible zippers whenever I can –  I just prefer the clean look of no “flaps” to a lapped zipper.  The skirt of this dress is quite full so I decided  it wouldn’t be a big deal to just slash the skirt all the way to the hem, bind the edges and insert an invisible zip.

Now that I’ve made the bust adjustments, this dress could easily be made in a day.  Here is the finished dress:

Sweet little sundress.

(That is my wee little house guest, Diefenbaker the elderly Jack Russell, photo-bombing the picture.)

My mother was taken with the bias work I was doing on my seams and she thought the inside deserved a picture as well, so here it is:

Contrast facing and Hug Snug finishing.

I should be starting on my “Pride & Prejudice & Zombies” dress next, but in that box of patterns above is that cute girls red dress with head scarf that may need my attention first…

Keep an eye out for what comes next!


    1. Even the men were enthralled with all the envelope artwork and the age of some of these patterns. Thank you!

    1. Thank you! My grandmother taught me that the inside should as nice as the outside, even if you’re the only one who knows it!

  1. That is such a pretty summer dress in a whimsical and fun print. Looking forward to your next creation.

  2. I’m glad I’m not the only one making clothes out of quilting fabric! They have so many colors, and the designs often have a vintage feel. Plus, quilting fabric holds up really well.

    Your grandma was right. I got to see a 60’s dress recently that was home-sewn. Beautiful seam finishes and craftsmanship. It was inspiring.

    1. I like working with quilting fabric – especially for warm weather items! I like how it holds a press without melting.
      There is such a selection of quilting cottons out there that just make me drool.

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