This 1950’s dress is super chic and makes for an amazing vintage inspired piece. It’s perfect for a sunny Spring day spent outdoors.
Skip To Spring In This 1950’s Dress
Spring’s sunny weather makes for beautiful days, perfect for flouncing around in a 1950’s dress you’ve sewn all on your own. What are you waiting for? Grab a few yards of lining and polka dot fabric and get to sewing on your latest chic piece!
Here’s what you’ll need for the 1950’s dress:
- 3 yards of polka dot fabric
- 3 yards of cotton broadcloth lining
- Hook and eye closure
- Starch alternative spray
Tip: Different bodies have different measurements, so this tutorial won’t be measurement-specific. However, that shouldn’t stop you from learning how to sew without a pattern.
Step 1: Pin The Skirt Pattern To The Lining
Use 1/4 of a circle skirt for the skirt pattern. Pin this onto the folded edge of your lining. Remember to fold your lining in such a way that you’ll have a semi-circle once unfolded.
Step 2: Cut Along The Pattern
Once your pins are in place, cut along the pattern to cut your lining. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to make 2 pieces of your semi-circle linings to make the full circle skirt of this vintage dress.
Step 3: Place Lining On Fabric And Cut
Pin the cloth lining to your fabric. Then, cut around it. Repeat the process to have 2 semi-circle pieces of your polka dot fabric.
Step 4: Cut A Line For The Zipper
Cut a straight line down the center of one of your fabric half-circles. Doing so will help you attach the zipper on later.
Step 5: Sew The Fabric Pieces Together
Attach pins to the sides of your polka dot fabric, and sew half inch stitches at the seams. Make sure not to sew the back seam you’ve just cut.
Step 6: Sew The Lining Pieces Together
Similar to the polka dot fabric pieces, you’ll want to repeat step 5 for the 2 lining pieces. Don’t worry if you don’t have a sewing machine. You can simply sew by hand.
Step 7: Iron The Seams
Iron the seams on both sides of the fabric to make them smooth. Then, let the skirts hang overnight. Doing so will prevent the skirt from having an uneven hemline.
Step 8: Spray Starch Alternative On Fabric
Spritz on a few sprays of starch alternative onto your fabric. This will help stiffen the fabric a bit. Don’t forget to go over it with an iron after.
Step 9: Cut Bodice Pattern
Place the bodice patterns onto your lining. Pin them in place to keep them from moving. Then, cut along the sides.
Step 10: Mark The Darts
Mark the darts with a pencil. Remember to mark only on the wrong side of the fabric. Then, remove the pins. Connect the marks you’ve made with the help of a ruler.
Step 11: Cut The Fabric For The Bodice
Place the bodice pattern on your polka dot fabric and place pins on the sides. Then, cut along the sides. By the way, you can opt to cut the front panels one by one to help make the polka dots look symmetrical.
Step 12: Mark The Dart Lines
Don’t forget to mark the dart lines with chalk. Use a ruler to help you maintain a straight line.
Step 13: Align And Cut Fabric
Place the fabric you’ve just cut on the rest of your polka dot fabric with the wrong sides facing each other. Make sure the polka dots are lined up, then, pin the fabrics together and cut. Once cut, mark the dart lines as well.
Step 14: Cut Fabric For Back Of The Bodice
Repeat steps 11 to 13 for the back part of the bodice. For this part, it’s not necessary to have the polka dots lined up.
Step 15: Pin Darts Together
Pin the darts you’ve previously marked. Take note, the pins should go through on both sides of the fabric to make it easier to sew on.
Sew the darts on. Need a tip for making your darts look smooth? Simply sew past the point where it tapers off.
Step 17: Attach Panels Together
Iron the front panels. Then, pin them together. Don’t forget to ensure the darts line up within the seam. Repeat the process with the lining cloth as well.
Step 18: Sew The Seams
Sew the seams together, placing a half inch seam allowance on the edge. You should have a Y-like pattern on the front part of the bodice after.
Step 19: Prep The Bodice
Begin by placing a few snips on the tight corners of the bodice, then, pin along those ends. Repeat this step to the lining cloth.
Step 20: Sew The Bodice
Sew along the pinned edges, leaving a half inch seam allowance. Sew along the shoulder seams as well. Do this on both the polka dot fabric and lining cloth.
Step 21: Sew The Sleeves
One of the great things about this tutorial is how the pattern of the bodice already contains the sleeves. To begin working on them, iron the seams you’ve just sewed on. Then, stitch the sleeves, leaving a half inch allowance from the seam. Doing so will give you a guide to turn the hem of the sleeves inward.
Step 22: Attach The Fabric To The Lining
Pin the polka dot fabric to the lining cloth along the neckline and back edge. Don’t forget to line the major corners and seams first. From there, you can line going outward. Once pinned, sew the two pieces together.
Step 23: Clip Corners
Snip the corners to make turning the cloth smoother. Once snipped, turn the bodice with the correct side facing out.
Step 24: Pin And Sew Back Edges
Pin the back edges together and sew. When sewing, remember it’s best to stay as close to the seam as you can.
Step 25: Pin And Sew The Sleeves
Turn the edges of the sleeves inward, then, pin them in place. Double check to ensure there are no raw edges sticking out. You can do this by tucking the two fabrics inward on its own. Once you’re happy with the pin placements, sew them together leaving a 1/4 inch allowance.
Step 26: Pin Pattern And Trim Skirt
Place the pattern on top of your skirt and trim if necessary.
Step 27: Sew The Skirt
With both the right sides of the fabric facing each other, sew around the skirt’s edge, leaving a half inch allowance. Remember to be careful when turning the skirt to sew, so the seam allowance remains equal in all areas.
Tip: If you’ve made a mistake, simply trim the excess seam allowance after.
Step 28: Sew The Hem Of The Skirt
Turn the skirt right side facing out, and pin the edges. Sew across the hem, leaving a half inch allowance on the edge.
Step 29: Secure The Pieces
Secure the pieces together by sewing on a top stitch across the waist line and top edges.
Step 30: Iron The Hems
Make the hemlines nice and smooth, by running an iron over them.
Step 31: Attach The Bodice To The Skirt
Attach the bodice to the skirt by finding the center point of both and placing a pin in. Then, continue pinning going outward. Once you’re done, sew these together with a half inch seam allowance.
Step 32: Sew On Tape
Cover the raw edge of the fabric by sewing on a strip of tiny bias tape.
Step 33: Sew On The Zipper
Follow the instructions that come with your zipper when sewing this onto the back seam of the clothing. I recommend using a top stitch for this step.
Step 34: Sew On The Hook And Eye
Finally, hand sew the hook and eye for your dress.
And there you have it!
You’re now ready to rock the vintage look with this 1950’s dress. Do a little twirl and you’re all set for a beautiful Spring day ahead!
Press play to watch the full video tutorial on the 1950’s dress:
I hope you love this 1950’s dress as much as I do. To be honest, I’ve made 2 of these polka dot dresses already. One’s in navy blue and another’s in black. I can’t help it. They’re just so stylish!
Will you be making this 1950’s dress this weekend? Let us know in the comments below.
Looking for more Spring outfits to create? Take a look at these patterns you can sew!