I'm warning you now, I took a stupid number of pictures of this dress, and I'm going to post them all because I can. Sorry, not sorry.
So, this dress began, as many of my makes do, with the fabric. My mother gave me this stinking adorable cotton print with vintage pattern illustrations all over it. Obviously, it had to become a 50s style dress! Then I saw that Lucky Lucille and By Gum, By Golly were hosting Fall for Cotton! It was a sign. I needed this dress!
It will not surprise you to know that I have a rather large number of pattern in my stash from that era, but when I came across Butterick 7238 at Vintage Martini, it was love at first sight. They were obviously made for each other.
The pattern is a fairly typical fit and flare 50s silhouette, but with a few unique details.
The most obvious is the shoulder yoke and collar. The yoke wraps around, shaping the shoulder and upper back area. The collar is cut onto the yoke and seamed at center back. It has a couple of darts, concealed under the collar, for shaping. The entire yoke is assembled, then attached to the dress with a lapped seam. The point of the yoke is actually supposed to be a functional button, but my muslin slipped over my head easily without it, so I just sewed it down.
There is a contrast band at the skirt hem, which is cut on the bias. I added bias cut sleeve bands as well.
In back, the bodice is shaped with darts and the shaping in the yoke. As a girl who has broad shoulders, the yoke is genius! It gives me the movement ease I need without any bunching. Love that!
The dress closes on the side with a zipper. Mine is lapped, and I did a shoddy job. Moving on.
I decided to add a little vintage touch inside and pinked my seams instead of serging them.
For fit, I made a 1/2 inch FBA, then added another 1/2 inch of ease at the side seams. Thanks so much to everyone who weighed in on my muslin post! I do like the additional bust ease. I also shortened the left side of the bodice to accommodate my lower left shoulder, so that fits really well.
I added pockets and shortened the skirt about 5 inches. It was drafted to be closer to tea length and I wanted it to hit below the knee. The skirt is interesting. It's just a big ole rectangle, but the seams aren't at the side seam, rather they are slightly forward. You can see where I inserted the pocket into the seam. Not only does this make for a perfect pocket placement, it means the skirt has no side seams. Instead, there is a dart on the right, and on the left, a placket is inserted for the zipper. Pretty interesting construction!
It's also nice and twirly.
When I got started making this dress, I was really unsure if I would wear it much. I mean, it's adorable, but does a twirly 50s dress fit into my modern mom lifestyle?
After wearing it today, I have to give it a resounding YES! It's comfortable and easy to wear, and I don't think it's ridiculously costumey if I'm careful with accessories. I can do all of the mom stuff, even playing on the floor! The full skirt keeps everything covered. I may not step out in gale force winds though. Don't want a Marilyn moment!