Sunday, September 16, 2012

1960 Dress Style: How to Get That Look



Aren't these classic dresses from 1960 cute? They are from a Penney's department store advertisement. The dresses are cotton and use a black and white gingham check. What makes each one special are the details: pockets, borders and banding trims.

When you plan to sew a dress like this, designing the details are half the fun. This ad has very simple dresses when you look at the cut and style, yet the details make each one seem interesting and stylish. All of these elements would be easy to copy using a pattern that has the basic fit.



1960 Dresses: I found some current fashion patterns that could be used to sew up your own dress in this early 1960's style. What I looked for were fitted bodices with either simple darts or princess seam lines. For a curvy figure, those princess seams are best, since a clean fit can be shaped down the bodice dart in front. More slender figures can use the simple darted bodices.



It isn't easy to find a current dress pattern with a fitted bodice and gathered skirt. You may want to make your own full skirt. Many of the best full skirts are about 3 yards around, or 108". This was probably due to the fact that their cottons were sold in 36" widths. They would cut 3 panels that were the full fabric width and sew them together down the selvage edges for each skirt.

Some skirts are gathered, others are "knife pleated". These are the small pleats you see in dresses that tend to 'flatten' the skirt around the waistline. For many, this results in a more slender look at the waistline.

Yardage: How much fabric do we need for a full skirt?
1. Measure your length from waistline to hem.
2. We want about 108"(36" x 3)around for this skirt. If we use current 42" wide fabric, we need 3 panels. Two would be the full fabric width, but the third panel is going to be only 24" wide. If your fabric print is large, you may need to make adjustments to plan for the motif.
3. For each panel, add 2" for the hem and 1/2" for the seam allowance around the waistline. This means that yardage for a skirt with three panels would require: 3X length + 7.5".

Next we will look at how to get our details and trims to have the same cute look!

2 comments:

My Handmadehappiness said...

Brilliant post... Have to bookmark! looking forward to the detailing post :)

Jen O said...

thanks! I think I may sew up one of the dresses in the advertisement--someone gave me the perfect black and white checked gingham taffeta, and it's begging to be made into a dress.

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