A styling pair

Author: fraise

Thursday 28 April 2011, in Crafts

A-line tartan skirt

I’ve been on vacation this week, using it to rest, sew, and write. Our sudden summery weather in Nice, coupled with favorable fashion winds, combined to spark my desire to sew. I’ll also admit… I love the TV series “Mad Men“. It’s been nice to see designers follow the trend; even sewing pattern publishers are linking some of their vintage designs to the show. On Tuesday, while shopping for buttons in a mercerie (crafting notions specialty store), I noticed they had posted a large ad on the side of a counter in the middle of the shop, for this Butterick pattern (B5557), with the woman in the red dress, and a caption along the lines of “Mad for style”. It’s something of a windfall for me, since I don’t get along so well with contemporary styles that seem to be in a race for tightest fit and sheerest fabrics. Conveniently for clothing manufacturers, that means less fabric used, and the fabric itself is often cheaper. Before the advent of fabrics with stretch, clothes were tailored with ease, a sewing term for allowance added to body measurements in order to make a garment wearable. Tight clothes such as sheath dresses, when made of non-stretch fabrics, often require special undergarments, such as corsets and girdles, in order to keep a stable foundation so that seams don’t pull or tear.

As for the Mad Men-like pattern, I had already ordered the same a few days earlier! I also got the two other patterns shown with it in the photo below:

Retro patterns

The wrap dress on the left was Butterick’s most popular pattern in the 1950s: dress 6015. “Sales of the pattern were so great, that at one point manufacturing of all other patterns ceased, and only the ‘walk-away’ dress was produced until all back-orders for this dress could be filled.”

Before those patterns arrived yesterday afternoon, I finished a few Burda magazine (now called “burda style”) patterns, including the simple A-line skirt in the top photo. Kanoko was adorable, as usual, and mimicked my pose for the camera. Others include a purple shirt dress and a flowery seersucker empire dress. I’m working on a pair of pants from the same tartan fabric as the skirt (practical for wearing to the office), and plan to start on one of the retro dresses tomorrow. It will probably be the walk-away dress, so named because you could start it in the morning and “walk away” in it for lunch.

6 responses to “A styling pair”

  1. zuleme Says:

    That is a wonderful dress pattern. Kind of like the back wrap button skirt I loved and just found the pattern for.
    Notice how the waist sizes were so much smaller then? Either we were all thinner, or the sizes were different.
    Hope you post a photo of this when you have done it.

  2. N Says:

    The wrap dress was actually my first sewing project! (There is a post about it somewhere buried in my blog). I had no idea that it had been the most popular dress pattern in the 50’s. I chose it as my first project because at that time I was using my old Singer Featherweight (1951)… I thought it was only fitting to go all the way with the 50’s theme! :)

    Can’t wait to see your version of the dress.

  3. fraise Says:

    It’s a great dress! I had to lengthen the waist (always do, I have a long torso), but I think next time I’ll adjust it so that it’s narrower, as on the original: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fraise/5699274511/

  4. N Says:

    Great job! Didn’t you find that there was a need to adjust a too wide opening under the armpits? I had to add fabric (the cut was too “generous”)… Luckily it doesn’t show.

  5. Blaithin Says:

    Hello Anna, Its a long shot I know but its worth a try ! I would love to know if you have a source for the patern you used to make the beautiful cherry blossom dress ?
    I would love to make this style for myself but have had no luck getting a pattern.
    Many thanks

  6. fraise Says:

    I just sent you an email! For anyone else who comes across this and also wonders: it’s this dress pattern from McCall’s.

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