Vintage Pattern Contest – muslin progress

I officially dislike vintage pattern magazines for their lack of instructions, markings and, well, clarity. Hats off to the seamstresses of the time — they obviously knew what they were doing! I mean, look at this sheet:


Seriously? I’m dizzy just looking at it!

I took the bull by the horns and attacked tracing my pattern pieces. Lucky for me, there are only 5 pieces, 6 if you include the back facing. Pleats and darts are somewhat clearly indicated, however you’d expect a bit more markings, like notches to know where to attach the pleated front bodice pieces to the lower piece? I can only rely on the sketch and the picture in the magazine to imagine what goes where. Again, hats off to the seamstresses of the 50’s!

Here are my pattern pieces, ready to cut my muslin fabric. As you can see, I got confused around the back dart/pleat, hence the extra lines.


After this was all done and my muslin fabric was cut and marked (so. many. pleats. to. mark. ugh.), the first challenge: how the heck to assemble this? Where do I start? What comes next? And better yet: how are you even supposed to get in and out of this dress? They don’t mention a zipper or buttons in the list of notions, and the pictures don’t help at all. I studied the pattern and figured out I had to put a zipper at the side seam — both back and front pieces are cut on the fold, and the skirt is composed of side panels, also cut on the fold. That leaves only tiny side seams, about 20 cm, where to put a zipper.

Below is my (almost) finished muslin, with only one side skirt panel attached. Seeing the width of the skirt, I’m not worried about not inserting the 2nd one to check the fit, I was more concerned about the waist and the bust to be honest!




The front/side pleat hangs funny because I didn’t press it at all and I’m still wearing my sweatpants under the dress 😛 Interesting construction though, basically the joining seam of the front and side skirt panels form a pleat that merges into the front darts. Brilliant. Same happens on the back.

I’m absolutely ecstatic about how the muslin turned out, I think I won’t need many alterations. The lower bodice is snug but not uncomfortable, I can bend, breathe and sit without a problem. And the fabric I’ll be using is a gorgeous stretch sateen, so I’m not worried about the final dress being too tight. I might give myself a bit more room under the sleeves though, I guess ladies of the 50’s didn’t have big muscular biceps and triceps with extra loose skin hanging after losing a lot of weight 😆

Talking about fabric, here’s what I want to use:

stretch satin blue

Isn’t it amazingly beautiful? And only 4.50 EUR/meter! I should receive my package today or tomorrow. Can’t wait to start on the real dress! 🙂



  1. Looks like a lot of work and gives me a headache just thinking about it but honestly……..the dress is just beautiful!

  2. Santie de Klerk says:

    looks very good on you. Great shape..maybe little more clevage to show? 🙂 Love the colour and the print…has it got some shine to it?xxgood luck!

    • mcfdekker says:

      haha a lady of 1959 cannot show cleavage 😉 But I know what you mean! The fabric is shiny but it’s subtle, really nice.

  3. Whoa! You are doing a great job!

  4. Beautiful! Can’t wait to see the finished item. I know what you mean about those pattern sheets – hats off to our sewing foremothers!

  5. The toile is looking really interesting, congratulations on figuring it out.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: