1953 Dot Dress

It’s been months since I bought the fabric for this dress (I actually had to look back to see when I purchased the fabric: it was February). I bought it rather on a whim, with the goal of expanding the number of patterned dresses in my historic wardrobe. Well, success! My 1953 dot dress is complete!

And the back.

I think it looks more flattering on me than it does on Squishy, but the opportunity I’m hoping to use to wear it and take pictures has been postponed due to the busy lives of my friends. We’ve got a grand plan involving roller skating, a 50s diner, and ice cream. All of those things just scream for pictures!

But for now, the facts (a la the HSF, though unfortunately the cutoff for the HSF is 1937, so this doesn’t qualify!):

Fabric: The dress is constructed from about 3 yds of lightweight cotton lawn printed with dots and lined with some of my white striped $1 a yard cotton fabric. It’s a perfect pairing, because it creates opacity but keeps the lightweight feel of the lawn.

Pattern: The skirt pattern is from a Vogue pattern I bought at Vintage In Vogue last year. The bodice pattern is a simple darted bodice pattern I draped for myself with the neckline adjusted to be a scoop in front and a v in back.

Year: 1953.

Notions: 10-12 yds of pink Hug Snug; white, off white, and pink thread; and an off white plastic zipper (It was all I had that wasn’t dark since I don’t use zippers much for historic sewing…).

How historically accurate?: I give it 95%. Cotton is entirely reasonable for the 1950s. I’m not sure when Hug Snug was first marketed, but the design on the spools certainly looks vintage (and rayon had been in use for at least 20 years by the 1950s). If they didn’t have Hug Snug, they probably had something similar. The pattern was printed in the 1950s and a basic darted bodice is seen on many 1950s dresses and patterns. The sewing machine was in widespread use by the 1950s. The only thing is that my plastic zipper is probably a bit modern (in the 1950s zippers were still metal, I believe).

Hours to complete: 30: lots of interior finishing by machine and hand .

First worn: By Squishy for pictures.

Total cost: My entire 50 yd roll of Hug Snug was only 50 cents, the fabric was about $15, and the zipper was probably about $2… Total: about $17.

Now, you know that I love paying attention to details. I had a lot of fun spending time on the interior details of this dress. Unfortunately, they won’t be visible, but I know that this dress is as cute inside as it is outside, and now you will, too!

IMG_4831 (1)
The hems flipped up to see the interior finishing. Both hems are finished with Hug Snug and I also used Hug Snug to bind the seam allowances of the white lining. The seam allowances of the dot fabric are turned and zig zagged (the Hug Snug showed through to the exterior too much when I did a sample using Hug Snug on the dot). The first side of the Hug Snug is machine stitched to the hem and the second side is hand sewn with only tiny prick stitches that go through to the outside fabric so it’s almost invisible.
More of the inside of the skirt. It’s like candy, with all the pink Hug Snug seam binding on the white fabric! I love it!
IMG_4837 (1)
Here’s the side seam of the bodice that doesn’t have the zipper. On the bodice the dot and the white stripe fabric are treated as one, unlike on the skirt. All of the seams are bound with Hug Snug. The armhole (at the top of the photo) and the neckline are bound with self fabric bias strips.
Here’s a close up of the shoulder seam showing the Hug Snug and the self fabric bias. All of the bodice seam and edge bindings are stitched down to the white stripe lining by hand using whip stitches.
Here’s what it looks like without skirt support.

I might even like the inside more than the outside… I’m really looking forward to wearing this at some point! I was even thinking that perhaps I could wear it in my modern life without a crinoline petticoat under it, but I think the skirt is a little too long and the waist is a little too high. If I had more of an every day vintage style I might be able to pull it off, or if I was getting dressed up, but for normal days, unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be wearing it around my everyday life. All the more reason my friends need to clear their calendars!!!

2 thoughts on “1953 Dot Dress

  1. Really cute, Quinn. The dots are SO 1950’s. I, too, love the pink binding on the white. I think I’ve figured out what “Hug-Snug” is from the pictures. (I was going to ask.)

    1. Thanks on all counts! Did I mention anywhere that Hug Snug is the brand name of a rayon seam binding? Perhaps I forgot. Anyway, I’m glad all the pictures helped you figure it out for yourself!

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