Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on August 8, 2011
Hello Ladies! It looks like quite a few of us would all like to do a 1950s Walkaway Dress sew-along, so Edelweiss Patterns is going to host one here! If you have ever wondered how to sew a 1950s dress, you will love this sew-along. Using the Butterick Retro Pattern 4790, we will make the necessary alterations to sew an authentic 1950s walkaway dress! In the next few days, I will begin posting instructions for how to get started by sewing a crinoline skirt before we jump right into the pattern itself. It is not necessary to wear a corset or girdle with this dress (that option is up to you), but once you finish you dress you probably will want to make a crinoline for the authentic 1950s silhouette.
(In case you haven’t read my posts on how to fit this vintage dress pattern, you may want to do so before starting to sew your dress – most ladies who have sewn this pattern have complained about the fit, but I figured out how to fix Butterick 4790, so the fit shouldn’t be any problem!)
So now is the time to pick out your fabrics for your 1950s dress!
What Fabrics to Use for a 1950s Walkaway Dress
You can sew the walkaway dress out of virtually any woven fabric that has a fair amount of body to it. For a classy 1950s party dress, you could use a taffeta, duchesse satin, crepe-back satin, or faille. If you choose a cotton broadcloth, gingham, or linen, you will end up with the quintessential “1950s housewife” dress!
We will most likely begin cutting out our pattern in a week or so (around August 15th), and in the meantime you could even find a bargain “practice” fabric to make sure you perfect the fit before sewing a dress out of expensive fashion fabric. In fact, that’s exactly what I did with my orange faille 1950s dress – I made the whole dress for about $12 after finding the orange material on the clearance rack! As it is, I almost like the practice version better than the more expensive dress anyhow. So if anyone wants to just perfect the fit for this first time of sewing it and hold off on using luxurious material, that is totally fine.
As the pattern illustration shows, you can either sew the entire dress out of the same material, or opt for the front sheath panel to be a contrasting color. I suggest printing off the illustration I drew above, then filling it in with different colors or even fabric swatches to get a preview of how your dress will look before you purchase a whole 5 yards of fabric.
I am starting out with a post on how to make a 1950s crinoline that is designed specifically for the walkaway dress. You will be able to make it with just 1/4 yard of lining material and 2 yards of crinoline!
So stay tuned for more updates! We will begin studying how to sew this 1950s dress soon. And be sure to grab this button for the sew-along that you can add to your blog if you like. (Thanks to Sarah for sending in this original 1950s magazine ad for the Butterick Pattern!)
Here is the list of posts for this sew-along:
1950s Sew-Along Dress Results with Pictures!
If you have any questions, feel free to post them below. We’re going to have fun!