Monday, September 22, 2014

Sewing a Vintage Style Wardrobe: 1952 Dress

When I saw this Lobell's advertisement in "Charm" magazine, spring 1952, I thought those amazing pockets seemed very familiar. It only took a quick look through the Butterick pattern's set of retro styles to find this exact dress! How often does that happen? So in the interest of fun sewing and vintage styles, here is a great project that is easy to sew as well.

This is the original 1952 ad, and in it you can see all of the fun details that make this dress unique. The only departure from this original design in the sewing pattern is the lack of buttons down the front, but those are easy to add.

Here is Butterick 6055, the pattern that captures this vintage look perfectly. The bodice has an easy fitting kimono shoulder and sleeve, which makes any alterations easier too.

This close up of the pocket details shows how similar the dresses are, and it also gives a better idea of how the pockets are sewn. These could have contrasting ties, or even be a contrast color as well.

When sewing a dress with this type of kimono sleeve bodice, I recommend fabrics that aren't too stiff, thick or crisp, since this will make the sleeve look and feel like wings. Any moderate woven will do, even sheers like organdy or organza sew up well in this style (plan on a co-ordinated color full length slip instead of lining). For fall or winter, a dark plaid cotton with white collar is a classic look, both in the 50's and now as well.

Advertisement copy:
Pocketeer, in flower fresh zephyr cotton…Just $8.95
So smart…this combed zephyr cotton step-in that takes a day’s labors in its stride…goes blithely on to an evening’s date!
Pockets on the grand scale…a skirt that billows free and full! Sanforized to launder perfectly!
Raspberry, green, navy, aqua, charcoal grey, maise, lilac
Sizes 10 – 18, 9 – 17, $8.95.
Lobells, Inc., Hanover, Penn.


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