This week’s weather felt a lot like spring, so I browsed through the spring editions of my vintage sewing magazines for some sewing inspiration. That was when I found this dress.

The pattern is from the “Beyers Handarbeit und Wäsche 03/1952”, one of my oldest sewing magazines. It’s one of my few complete magazines with all the patterns and instructions inside. If I wanted to, I could really sew that dress.

Beyers Handarbeit und Wäsche Vintage Sewing Magazine 1952
Besides, I love that cover. Not only the knitted ensemble of skirt and jacket (Who the hell can knit such a thing???), but also because of that “call me” pose of the cover girl.

My dress pattern here is an elegant and feminine pencildress with interesting pockets. It can be worn very fancy, like the on the model in the picture or more casual with a blouse underneath. The accessoiries of the model are definetly worth a second look. I love that little hat, the matching clutch, the belt, the watch and not to mention the white gloves.

How to sew that vintage dress?

Sewing pattern for a dress from 1952

This pattern leaves me with a few more questions than just how it’s made.

If you ever tried to add pockets to a pencil dress you know what I’m talking about. The pocket bags look awful under a tight skirt, the tend to make it bulky around the hips and they show through the fabric when you move. So I wondered: How are the pockets on this dress made to look as sleek and neat as in the picture?

As you can see in the pattern, the bags of the pockets are very small, you won’t fit anything more than your fingertips inside this pocket. I think they must be made from the thinner lining fabric, so they can’t be seen from the outside. Maybe you have to add a few hand stitches, to attach the pocket bags to the skirts inside to prevent them from slipping around and wrinkling on the inside of the dress?
Of course there is not a word about that in the sewing instructions. It only says “sew pockets”. The good housewife of 1952 knew so much more about sewing than I’ll ever do 🙂 I still find that fact faszinating.

How do I put this on?

On the picture with the model the dress looks REALLY fitted on the body. But neither the pattern, nor the sewing instructions show a sign of a zipper. It seems like you should just get it on over your head. But how the hell shall that work??? The dress is made out of wool, not elastic at all! I  would never get inside a tight dress like this without a zipper 😀 

When you look closely at the pattern, you will see that the waist and skirt part seems to be much less fitted than it seems to look like in the picture with the model. The dress should be wide enough to put on over the head and it get’s fitted with a belt around the waist. 

That might be useful and easy to sew, but does it really look good? Gathering a stiff, thick wool fabric with a belt adds buld around the waist and hips, I cannot image that looking anything like the lady in the picture.

How I would sew this

If I will ever make this dress, I first would have trouble to find the right fabric. Thin wool fabrics like they were worn in the fifties are rare around here and it’s nearly impossible to get them. Apart from this, I’m not sure if I really would sew a spring/summer dress from a non-washable wool fabric. It gets stinky over the time and seems not very comfortable for warm weather. So I would choose another fabric. Maybe something stretchy like jaquard or punto? Or a thicker cotton? Anyway, I would need some advice finding the right fabric for that dress.

If I would sew this dress from a non-elastic fabric, I would add a zipper to the back. Then I can fit it close to the body and get that awesome pencil dress look like in the picture. And I wand that hat!!! 🙂 

I havn’t sewn anything yet from that magazine, but from the following issue „Beyers Handarbeit und Wäsche 05/1952“,  are the patterns for my “Katzenbluse”  and the „schwarze Probeteil“.

I wish you a nice weekend and a pleasant start into spring.




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