February 20, 2016

Pattern nr. 1

My sewing for the for 2016 Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge is going nowhere fast... I may have started even before the new pledge was announced but I still haven't found a suitable fabric for that 1920's dress and I didn't start on anything else either. 
However, I also promised to share the vintage pattern love by trying to share patterns and projects from my collection. And this is my first attempt at doing just that. 

This a a "draft according to this diagram" project from sewing magazine Bella. Back in the day, readers could also order this pattern in two sizes from the magazine's mailorder service. 

This particular issue of Bella was the first one for October 1950 (it appeared twice a month). The pattern is a ladies' dress for a bust size of 112 cm.

I think the design is pretty typical for one from Europe in that year: Chique but practical and still fairly modest in its use of fabric. 
The A-line skirt with pleats would have been very useful to the average Dutch lady at the time: It is a skirt in which you can easily ride a bicycle!
Although active resistance to the New Look had died out by spring 1949, many women (at least, according to the magazines which wrote for them) were happy with the overall simpler, narrower and shorter lines of the fashions of 1950. And we shouldn't forget that here in the Netherlands (Bella was a Dutch magazine after all) fabric rationing ended in 1950 and when it did, fabric was still very expensive for most people. 

In Bella, the "draft it yourself" pattern always came in four different looks with a brief explanation on how to adjust the design for each of them. In this case, the different looks are purely based on fabric choice and trim. But hey, surely we can forgive them for that... The dress has fancy pockets!

The drafting and sewing instructions are pretty limited but I will give a translation of what little there is. As for the pattern, I am including the original diagram. 

Here we have a dress which will also dress the less slender lady very well and which can be executed in different ways. The first picture shows you the dress made up in a plain fabric with nice decorative topstitching. The pattern also offers possibilities for the use of a stripe or check in different directions as well as for the use of two different fabrics. We can only give you one example of each of those options but you can imagine the other variations yourself. In the last drawing, the dress is decorated with an embroidered border along the princess seams and the pockets. Of course you could use braid or some other decorative tape for that. 
Made up in a plain fabric without nap you will need for this dress, for a bust size of 112 cm, about 3.25 m of 140 cm wide or 5.50 m of 90 cm wide.
If you wish, you could add a seam at the waistline.

Dutch words in the pattern drawing, from left to right, with my descriptions per pattern piece:

The pattern piece in the top left corner is the center front of the bodice, with the lapel cut on. the fold line is for the lapel. If it is cut along the dotted line labeled "beleg" it forms the facing for that lapel. There is a notch on the lapel which shows where it should meet the collar.
vouw   =   fold
beleg   =   facing
m.v.   =   c.f. (short for center front)

the bottom left piece is the center front skirt. It has a full, waist-to-hem length in the middle but the pocket shape is cut away at its side. The pattern piece also contains a quarter of the front side pleat. 
middenvoor   =   center front
plooi   =   pleat

On the top row, second from the left, there is the side front bodice piece which includes the pocket. The pattern doesn't include separate pocket pieces but they are drawn in here: I think you should only use the outside shape for the front side bodice and draw those two curved pocket pieces separately.
voorzijpand   =   front side pattern piece
zak   =   pocket

Below it, there is the front side skirt, which included three quarters of the pleat.
voorzijbaan   =   front side gore

Then there is the sleeve. It is a shaped sleeve with two elbow darts and markings which suggest that the sleeve head has to be eased in. There is also a notch to indicate where the cuff opening should go.
mouw   =   sleeve

Below that, there are two small pieces. The top one is the cuff. As you can see in the pictures, the finished cuff should have the points sticking out.
manchet   =   cuff

Then, there is the collar. There is a notch which should match the notch on the lapel. Don't be tempted to draw a sharp corner on the bottom edge of the collar. This a not a shirt collar but a notched collar in a slightly simplified version. It's a curve.
kraag   =   collar

The next piece is the side back. This is a full-length piece although you could follow the suggestion in the text and make a waist seam. This pattern piece includes a quarter of the back pleat.
achterzijbaan   =   back side gore

And then, finally, there is the center back piece with three quarters of the pleat.
middenachter   =   center back

And, as mentioned before, the pattern is for the size which (according to Bella) corresponds with a bust measurement of 112 cm. All numbers are for measurements in centimeters. In those cases where there is a number inside and one outside the black rectangle, the one on the outside refers to the distance down from the top corner, the one of the inside to the amount of centimeters inwards from that height.
Take care about marks like the notches and the X-s on the lines where the pleats meet the skirt. 
Oh, and there is no seam allowance included. It is not mentioned anywhere, but I am pretty sure you should cut both the center back piece and the center front skirt on the fold. 

And there is a little bit of instruction about construction (italics for translated text, normal letters for notes from me...):

You connect (which I think just means sew) the pleats and put X on X. With the pleats falling to the inside, sew together the back pieces. 
You sew to facing to the center front piece and make the buttonhole. You attach the pocket pieces (you could also make it as one piece) and stitch them onto the hip piece. Between the pocket and the edge of the hip piece, there should be an edge of 2.5 cm wide (not counting seam allowance) The front side bodice is then  attached to the center front bodice and the skirt (which suggests you should already have sewn the seam inside the pleat, put the pleat in place by matching those X's and sewn the center front waist seam).
Close side and shoulder seams (although I really think you will need something like a side zipper because that front opening is only in the bodice).
The sleeve gets to elbow darts which take up 3 cm of fabric each. The bottom is sandwiched between the two sides of the cuff, starting at the notch. When inserting the sleeve into the bodice, ease in the sleeve head. 
Sandwich the neckline edge between the two halves of the collar (I am translating literally here but I suggest you deal with this "sandwiching" business by simply sewing on the outside cuff or collar to the sleeve or neckline and then pressing in the seam allowance on the inside pieces and then sewing those in place by hand) 
The belt is 104 by 4 cm. It is highly recommended not to add too thick a shoulder pad.   

I know this is not really a simple project to make from such limited information but if you have experience making dresses and collars and cuffs, it is possible. And if you do, please let me know!


  1. A Vintage Pattern in my size! Love it! I will have to try and find the time to draft this up and make it for myself. Thanks Lauriana

  2. 112 as the standard size? Unbelievable, especially since the croquis seem so slim. It is not my style, even though I bought a similar Burda Vintage Reprint, but I love the translation... So polite.

  3. Oh, what a fun project this would be! I love the pocket and the pleats. It probably wouldn't be too hard to draft in one's own size from a sloper, either. :) thank you for sharing (and translating!) this! :)