20th Century

The fabulous, flirty 1950s

My next class at Made on Marion is a full skirted, 1950s dress class.


Because full skirted dresses are awesome and gorgeous and fun to wear.

However, they can also be a little tricky to make.

How to gather all that fabric in, get the hem of a circle skirt to be perfectly even, fit the bodice?  Does it need boning?  What about a petticoat, and what kind?  What about horsehair at the hem?  Will it work for a border print?  What about a directional print?  A class is the perfect way to work through that, whether you have a vintage 1950s pattern you want to tackle (and maybe need to size up from a 32 bust to a 36 bust!) or a modern reprint of a vintage.

To inspire prospective students, here are a few of my favourite 1950s patterns, some of which I own, some of which I don’t:

I just got this one. Look at the gorgeous nautical detailing:

McCalls 4935

The pattern envelope describes this as “A dress to be worn with a light heart, a light step”.  <3

Butterick 7238

The low back is so ‘on-trend’ right now, and this dress is such a classy way to do it.  Also, that pleated skirt?  Swoon!

McCall’s 3187 ©1959

This sexy dress is ‘Easy to Make’, and the overlapping front pleat is tres chic.

Vogue 7536

And for really sexy and gorgeous, try this dress.  Ooh la la!

Simplicity 1848

I love the simple halter on this, and I love, love, love the pleated skirt.  A great alternative if circle skirts aren’t your best look.

McCalls 3566

If vintage patterns are too scary or scarce, you can always go with one of the fabulous reprints that Vogue are putting out:

Mmmm….stripe matching!

Vintage Vogue 8789

Vintage Vogue 1172



  1. Drooling over your collection, love the one with the bias gingham at the hem – difficult!!

    • I’m so lucky with my collection! Unfortunately I don’t actually own the one with the bias gingham, but I LOVE it, and bet I could pattern it up. A bias hem isn’t actually that tricky – well, compared to a full bias dress!

  2. I so very much love this era! The matched stripes are divine but I think I love the nautical ones the best. There is something about the old blue or red with stripes that makes me think of summer and sun 😀

  3. Nicole says

    Right now I really wish I was not miles away in the US, this is The Class I would sign up for! I have a fabulous vogue reprint that I am planning on making ( as soon as I find a fabric with the right body in a color I’ll be happy with). I love your collection too and hope to see pictures of some lovely 50s dresses. 🙂

  4. What a great idea for a class! I find 50s styles to be one of those things that look easy enough at first glance, but turn out to be a lot more complicated once you actually start making them.

  5. Black Tulip says

    Lovely patterns, so many gorgeous details. I really like the jacket with the last McCalls one, too.

    This sounds like a brilliant class. Any chance of a how-to post (or two) afterwards, for those of us who live on the other side of the world?

  6. Joie de Vivre says

    Just a bit too early for me! My fabric for my next full 50s dress was shipped from the US today so that is the next project on the list when it finally arrives. Can’t wait! I’ll just have to get Mrs C to help me (as she promised!) and extract titbits of tips from you occasionally.

  7. I just LOVE that Butterick 7238! Seriously, that is way too cute. And I love the 50’s! I could wear 50’s all the time if possible…..I’m even sewing 40’s and 50’s blouses for college this year. (I’m in Liberty University’s School of Aeronautics, and they require a collared shirt tucked into slacks for their dress code. Well, fine! I’ll be as cute and feminine as possible and what can possibly be cuter than the 50’s? 😀 )

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