Princess Pin Curls: I have always wanted an original Fifties full-skirted cotton day dress in a beautiful  floral pattern. My ideal would be a Horrockses frock, crisp cheerful cotton pattern in a soft pastel colour, but I have never found one in my size. Sadly, there are very few vintage dresses that will accommodate my non-vintage sized waist, let alone in my choice of fabric, cut and colour.

So I decided to make my own using a 1957 Vintage Vogue pattern #8789. This is a modern re-print which is exactly the same cut as the original – with one small exception – it has detailed, easy to understand instructions. Sewing with original Fifties or Sixties pattern can be challenging to say the least. I do wish they would re-size the patterns when they re-print them though, it’s quite disheartening to be told you are a 1957 size 20!

Up until now I have always avoided rouched waistlines in because they tend to be hip-enhancers, preferring to make dresses with box pleats and flat fronted circle skirts. This pattern included a matching cummerbund and I was praying that this would be its saving grace, pulling my waist in and smoothing over the bulky rouching.

When it came to fabric selection I wanted a fun sunshiny lemon floral. I just happened to have an odd 5 metres of fabric kicking about in my sewing cupboard – as you do – (fabric sales are a bit of a weakness of mine). I bought this lovely lemon fabric at the end of last summer for $5 a metre, with no particular purpose in mind, but knowing it would come in handy. I’m glad I bought all of the fabric on the bolt because this dress used almost all of the fabric.

This is because I decided  to make the bodice fully lined, which is easier than fiddling around with binding tape and facing to the neck and sleeves. Lining the bodice also helped mask the fact that the fabric was slightly sheer, and it intensified the lemon colour of the background.

Throughout the early stages of production the dress looked quite puffy through the middle and I was  a little worried about looking like the side of a house. After a firm press with the iron and the addition of the cummerbund and a crinoline, the dress seemed to take on better proportions.

This whole sewing project was quite pain free, apart from the three hours of hand-stitching required for the hem of the skirt. I will admit it isn’t the most flattering cut for my figure, but I do love it’s swishy full skirt and would definitely recommend this pattern to anyone wanting to create a similar look.

All my dress needed was some sheer lemon gloves, a lemon cardi and some Fifties poses to complete the look.
Princess Pin Curls

Princess Pin Curls is Shauna, who lives in a leafy suburb in Melbourne, Australia. She shares her little home with her two beautiful children, her very own Prince Charming and a fat little doggy named Misty.

Shauna loves all things vintage ; hats, gloves, petticoats,corsets, jewellery, furs, hair accessories, silk flower belts…the list goes on and on. She also love ‘new vintage’- well crafted reproduction pieces.






7 Responses

  1. Karen

    Hi Princess Pin Curls,
    I adore this dress on you, I love lemon too and think that the lemon fabric with this floral print is so pretty, adorned with your lemon cardi and those adorable lemon gloves. I admire your talents and taste.
    Lots of love, Princess Karen xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  2. Helga

    Indeed,I have surmised that if I am to have my dream 50’s frock I will have to make it myself! Excellent tip,I shall be hunting out this pattern! It would seem we are the same size, which is hard to find in vintage.

  3. Cherry

    I too, will be searching out this pattern, as I love 50’s vintage, and the original stuff (when you can get it) is tiny! I make bell skirts (think they were called drindl skirts back then) as they are nice and easy to run up! xx

  4. ang

    OMG, I am making this for my wedding dress, purchased some french lace for the entire dress with satin underneath. thanks!

  5. Leslie T. (Fla., USA)

    You and the dress/ ensemble look WONDERFUL!!!

    And my mom did some intricate dressmaking. That dress was A LOT of work!!! A +++

  6. Carol L.

    Love it! Been wanting to try and do this myself, now I see it is possible! Thank you!