1950s | Dresses

A bright new dress.

By on October 12, 2012

Can I start by saying I’m loving the new Sew Retro vintage sewing patterns board over at Pinterest?!

Without it, this dress would never have existed… 😉

You see, I recently was cruising around on Pinterest & found this pattern on the Sew Retro board;

And I thought that dress would be perfect to make & wear to a friend’s wedding. So that’s what I decided to do. It was all a bit last minute, but it worked out in the end.

Unfortunately I didn’t have a copy of Vogue 9061 on hand. But it wasn’t to hard to modify the pattern for a simple shift dress (I used Vogue V8146) & turn it into this pattern. I posted some basic instructions for how I did this on my blog, Orchids in May.

The fabric I used was from my husband’s late grandmother’s fabric collection. It’s a Thai silk that I think she brought back from Thailand many many years ago. Despite the age, the colour of the fabric is brilliant – the photos don’t do it justice. I don’t know if it was the age of the fabric but it was really fragile & a little tricky to sew with. I ended up using a Hong Kong finish on all of the seams because I was petrified of it just unravelling before my eyes.

I’m really happy with how this dress turned out. I’m still thinking of making some changes to the bow at the back – at the moment it looks a little limp, but otherwise I’m pretty happy.


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Vintage Sewing

Blue & Pink Floral Summer Dress

By on September 3, 2011

I made this dress using Vintage Vogue Pattern V2962. I made quite a few alterations to the pattern, I took a bit of the fullness out of the halter neck & the skirt. I’m still thinking I should have taken a little more out of the halterneck as it’s a little puffy. I also added a tie to the halterneck (the pattern suggests using a loop & button). Finally the pattern called for the dress to be closed with a heap of tiny buttons… I did that once for my wedding dress & never again. So I used a zip instead.

For more information check out my blog, Orchids In May

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Vintage Sewing

Modern Interpretation of Vogue V8729

By on July 17, 2011

I had an awards dinner to go to recently with a dress code of ‘black tie preferred’ so decided to make a new dress. I had some silver lace in my stash that I was really keen to use, so I decided to make a version of Vintage Vogue V8729.

I thought the skirt might be a little too full blown ball gown for the evening so I elimated it & turned the bodice into a pencil dress.

I still have plans to make the skirt from Vogue V8729 but to make it as a seperate piece so that the dress is a little more versatile.

For more info & pictures check out my blog, Orchids in May.

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Vintage Sewing

My Blanket Coat

By on February 12, 2011

I’ve had this fabric in my stash since August when I got it in Shenzhen. It’s a double sided cashmere & I’ve been wanting to use it to make a short coat since then, it’s just been a matter of finding the right pattern. In the end I settled on a Vintage Vogue V1137 (reprint). I’ve used this pattern in the past & this time I shortened it & left out the lining to end up with what I wanted.

The coat is unlined as I wanted to make it reversible to take advantage of both sides of the wool, (I prefer the tartan side though). All the seams are flat-felled to hide the raw edges & the edges are trimmed with blanked trim. I quite like the results it has the feel of a vintage weekend esape to a country estate or the sea… I think my imagination is running away, anyway, you can find more information on my blog.

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The Reversible Evening Dress

By on January 17, 2011

This year the theme for Melbourne Malanka (Ukrainian New Years Eve Ball) was ‘Carnival’, like the circus or fun fair.

Originally I was feeling flowy vibe for Malanka, I wanted something that would just drift across the room on the faintest of breezes. But then the theme for Malanka was announced & I also realised that I’d have to deal with sewing a lot of chiffon & possibly some draping. Truth be told it all got to hard & I just wasn’t that inspired. Then, whilst reading ‘The Golden Age of Couture’, I happened across this Richard Avedon photo;


This dress was designed by Givenchy for Dior for SS 1955. I wanted that dress. PLUS it was in a photo with elephants. Clearly that means it can be worn to a Carnival themed event, right?! Anyway, I couldn’t get this dress out of my mind & I started to think that I was sure I’d seen a pattern for it before, then I found Vogue 2720.

I decided to make the dress in a bright red fabric. Strangely, despite red being my favourite colour, I’ve never owned a red dress, so I figured it was about time. I couldn’t decide on the lining though, so I bought some more of the facing fabric, except it was in black. Then I decided it would be fun to just make the dress reversible. So I did. Then I went a little overboard & made the sash reversible too. THEN, I thought since the theme was Carnival & there are heaps of places at the carnivals (like the hall of mirrors) that are all about visual illusions, why not change it around halfway through the night. I did & it was hilarious. I got SO many looks & double takes. The people I came with (about 7 of us went together) totally freaked because they knew I hadn’t brought a second dress with me. It was so much fun.

Here are some photos from the night (taken by my brother-in-law);

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I had to make a few alterations to make the dress work I’ll be posting details on them later this week on my blog. I’ve also posted a few more pictures there.

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60s Style Mini Dress

By on January 14, 2011

Last night was Geelong Malanka, (a Ukrainian New Years Eve celebration). This Malanka party is fairly relaxed & so the dress code is more semi-formal, the girls tend to wear short party dresses & the boys in a nice shirt & tie or maybe a suit. This is the dress I wore, these pics were taken in the hotel before we left.

I bought the sequined & embroidered lace when I was in Shenzhen last August. Given the fairly ostentatious design of the lace I wanted to have something fairly simple, so I went with as 60s style mini shift dress. Here’s a few detail shots of the lace.

In order to get the pattern matching up (somewhat) at the seams & darts I had to do a bit of applique work. For instance in the picture below half of the blue flower was originally trapped in the dart. It looked really weird so I cut out the flower from another bit of lace and hand-stitched it in place.

For more information, check out my blog.

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