Fittingly Fifties

blue 50s dress Burda 7253

Well hello there, your lackadaisical sewing blogger finally returns… *waves sheepishly*

After the stress-inducing deadline of my last project,  I was surprised to find myself back at the sewing machine so quickly last month. However, I had this 1950s style sack-dress all cut out and ready to go after receiving the pattern (Burda style 7253) for my birthday, and the call of the sewing machine was too great to ignore.

Burda 7253

The fabric is the most gorgeous, Japanese lightweight cotton lawn drawn from my stash, the first to be sewn from the time I went so crazy in a patchwork-fabric shop’s sale that I needed a lie-down afterwards (with some of the aforementioned fabric draped across my forehead for its medicinal purposes, you understand).

In my fevered purchasing frenzy I didn’t notice that the other Japanese fabrics I bought are a standard quilting weight; however, this is so light that the folded dress feels like a cloud in the palm of one’s hand.

(It’s Monday. I’m allowed to wax poetical. Shush, you.)

As befits certain garments, it looks less on the hanger than it does upon the wearer; with the waist tightly cinched by the self-fabric belt, ensuring a flattering blouson effect for the front of the bodice, I totally look the business. In fact, I’ve already worn it to two vaguely-related-to-business thingys (technical term) already.

As for the construction .. well, now, look; if I had followed the instructions exactly to the letter, then I wouldn’t be me, would I? Because some of the instructions fair took my breath away in terms of the internal finish. Burda, please, some of us want our garments to look PROFESSIONAL *sighs*.

Here’s a brief over-view of my tinkering;

  • Placed pattern on dressmaking dummy. Shortened pattern by a good 10 cms/ 4 inches+ due to a) having 25cms less fabric than the pattern stated and b) wanting to make the dress ‘below the knee’ length rather than mid-calf. Essentially, I reduced it to my own height (Burda is designed for ladies 5’6″, and I’m only 5’2″)
  • Ensured the neckline facing hid the attaching seam, as usual with a neckline facing (Burda’s instructions basically said ‘pin it all together and serge’, which would have been fine except for the gap where the button and button-holed pieces of the facing overlapped. Eesh, guys, EESH). Working this out nearly killed my brain;

Sewed the inner collar facings together close to the centre front, so it was all one piece.

Cut a short additional facing just for the curved button-hole-sided piece.

Stitched and turned the button-hole-sided with its new short additional facing, so the curved overlap could be a competed flap.

Sewed the short additional facing to the other front collar piece (which would have the button), which I extended during cutting out. So had a one-piece front facing, with a weird little flap inserted into it.

Sewed the all-one-piece inner facing to the now all-one-piece front facing along the inner/shorter curved edge, then attached it to the dress as a standard one-piece neck facing, stitching in the ditch to secure the inner facing’s lower edge.

Frankly, if you can understand that without accompanying photographs (which I forgot to take *face-palm*), you’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din…

  • Rolled-hemmed the edges of the armholes, rather than using bias binding (which would have been too heavy).
  • Inserted a proper back vent, complete with overlap (rather than the slit advised in the instructions). Come on, I’m a classy dame, you know this about me…
  • French-seamed the side seams. Because, show-off.
  • Ignored the pattern for the belt as ran out of fabric, using a scrap left over to make a softer cinch-style belt sans belt holes.

Will I make Burda 7253 again? Actually, I think I might.

The style suits me and it would be a shame not to, now I’ve adjusted the pattern to the correct length. Sorting out that collar/facing malarky would be easier the second time around (cutting out the inner facing as all one piece from the get-go, so I’m not having to be super-clever and layering my seam allowances to reduce bulk, yadda yadda). And the button hole needs to be stitched so it’s parallel to the curve of the facing rather than the floor (I’ve sewn a button on to hide this last error on Burda’s part, it’s fine, it’s FINE.)

But yeah. It’s a fun little sack dress, people. Wearing it helps me masquerade as an adult.

In fact, this dress hits a sweet spot; perfectly suited to the lifestyle I’d love to live (it will take up no weight or space in my luggage when we head to the Amalfi coast, my daaaaarrrhling), AND I can wear it with a cardigan and noodle about in Sainsburys whilst wearing it, too. With the right bling, it’d probably pass muster at a wedding, even.

And you can’t ask more from a frock than that.



One thought on “Fittingly Fifties

  1. Pingback: Go, Gingham Girl | Everything Just Sew

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