Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Reproducing a 50s shirtwaist dress for a client

Last year I was asked by a new client to help her preserve her vintage gowns by reproducing them for her so she can wear the new one, rather than the vintage dress. I thought this would be an interesting project and I was right. We started with the 50s shirt waist dress on the left.

The bodice is a simple blouse style, the skirt however is a different kettle of fish, its pleated in sets of three and the front zip is hidden in a nest of pleats.

I took a copy pattern from the bodice and fitted it to the client, we lengthened the waist as the original was too short for her. I then started on the skirt. The fabric I was using was modern width and I had to calculate the width of the skirt and the pleats required to fit the waist of the bodice. Now that was fun ... not really, but an interesting exercise at least. I managed to finish the dress for a Christmas party.

Here's the new fabric, roses and scissors, really unusual! Far more busy and way less geometric than the original dress. A fabric will always change the outcome of a pattern, the fabric drape, colours patterns, all influence the style.
The fabric chosen for the reproduction
Here's the result. I'm pleased with it and the client loves it, she wants 12 more in different fabrics, LOL! I'd prefer to move onto the next gown in her collection!

Gown on the client


I'm The Tailor's Apprentice, maker of The Miss Page 1940s reproduction patterns, gowns developed from pattern pieces found amongst the remnants of Miss Violet Florence Page’s life and work. Affordable, elegant, and unique garments from the 1940s war years. 

All my patterns are available on Etsy and my website where you'll find out more about me as well. This year I am publishing an 1820s gown wardrobe pattern and an Australian Army Nurses Services WWI uniform pattern.

If you'd liked to be included on my mailing list for events, pattern release dates and interesting snippets about vintage and historic sewing, please subscribe to my Newsletter on The Tailor's Apprentice website.

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