Hot! The “Mid-century Madness” dress | Debi Fry


The Facts

Fabric: 3.5 metres of cotton 'Nutmeg Seeds Orange, SE1 for Robert Kaufman' fabric gift from Fancy Moon
Pattern: Style Print 1283
Year: c.  1950's
Notions: 3 amazing vintage buttons, gift from friend; zipper from charity lot, £.05

Time to complete: 8 hours 

Wear again? Oh yes! Oh yes! Oh yes!!!

Total Cost: ~£0.05 (woot! woot!)

I've got mid-century madness big time this week.  I don't know why it has taken me so long to tackle the classic 1950's shirtwaist dress….but now that I have…WATCH OUT!  I could easily make a 100 of these dresses in every single adorable printed fabric and never get tired!!


I was super lucky to be contacted by an amazing UK online shop called Fancy Moon to host a fabric giveaway on my blog (scroll to the end of the post to read more!) and also to get some fabric myself to review!  I had so much fun perusing the retro prints they have online and when I came across the 'Nutmeg Seeds Orange' print from Robert Kaufman–I knew it would be perfect for this challenge!

I absolutely adore this fabric print–the leaves are such great colours and just the right size.  I used a pattern I got in the Sew Weekly UK meet-up pattern swap.  It's the lovely Style Print 1283 pattern that Charlotte brought to the meet-up! I just love this pattern and already have plans for a second shirtwaist dress!

Style print patternThis is my first time using a Style Print pattern.  On the back of the pattern it reads "Style Patterns Ltd: An entirely British Production" (emphasis orginal)!  The pattern paper is a bit thicker than normal tissue pattern paper–I quite liked handling it.  There is just one skirt piece for the big full skirt:

I am on the look-out for more Style Print patterns.  I found the fit to be really good and the instructions were very clear.  I did muslin the bodice because it's the first time I've used these patterns.  I ended up adding an extra 1/4 inch to each of the side (I was paranoid of the dreaded gaping front) and lengthened the waist front and back by about 1/4 inch.  I also took about 2 inches off the skirt length.

Even without a petticoat, it's got that full skirt 50's look!

I used some vintage buttons that I got from the lovely Sofia when she came to visit.  I used three buttons instead of two because these are a bit smaller than what I think the pattern calls for.  How perfect are these buttons?

I could go on and on about how much I love this dress!  Instead, I want to share my mid-century madness with you all! I'll be hosting TWO giveaways on my blog this week.  One for your choice of fabric from Fancy Moon and one for this sewing pattern!DSC00180


Debi from My Happy Sewing Place

Debi Fry LOVES vintage patterns. She started sewing in 2009 and has been going since. In 2011, she participated in the Sew Weekly challenge and looks forward to the new challenges that lie in store!


Comments are closed.

  1. What a great dress! I’ve never considered a shirtwaist dress before, but you’ve made me think twice!

  2. Oooooh, that is ADORABLE!!! Love love love! You so look like you should be hiking glamorously in the woods and stopping for cups of tea out of a thermos while sitting on mossy logs and listening to birdsong. Love it!

  3. Fantastic dress Debi! I went through a shirt waist phase a couple of years back, I think I have three 50’s patterns, of course unused – must do something with them. That print is exquisite! Love Mid Century designs – they are magic. And as for the instructions – that one you show is about as clear as mud to me!! Or is that just me!

  4. House of Pinheiro

    wowww Debi, this is my favorite thing I seen here. I love every detail.. the buttons and the print. Its a dreamy dress. I hope you make a lot more of these because they suit you very well.

  5. Beautiful! The bodice looks like it fits really well and the fabric is so pretty. Make more!

  6. i think that may be one of my most favorite pieces of yours, debi–it fits perfectly, looks impeccably made, and has a great sense of whimsy! fabulous work!

  7. That print is adorable, what a beautiful dress!

  8. I agree with Puu…this is my favorite thing you’ve made! LOVE the fabric, love the pattern, love the fit – FABULOUS! :-)

  9. I LOVE your dress! It’s perfect for autumn, and your fabulous buttons remind me of acorns. Love love love the print, and the shirtwaist style is perfect on you! Well done, my dear!

  10. WOW, I love that fabric and your dress is gorgeous! Now I want to make a shirtwaist dress.

  11. I love it.. beautiful fabric. Happy sewing.

  12. Oh my, this is lovely! I’m glad you’re going to make more, because this shirtdress style is really flattering on you- and I love your vintage buttons too!

  13. Wonderful! I think this is my favorite of your dresses as well! The style suits you quite well and that print is adorable! Great choices :)

  14. What a show stopper! Just fabulous.

  15. Magnificent! You look absolutely smashing! That fabric is gorgeous (I have fabric envy!) and the dress suits you just perfectly! I really love the vintage buttons and the belt you wore – lovely!
    Another absolute triumph, Debi!!

  16. Wow! I love this dress. The colours and print are fantastic. If the Sew Weekly group ever decide to have the readers vote on their favorite outfit of the year this would be mine! Fantastic job and you are so lucky to get a perk like that!

  17. That dress is perfection. Totally made my day! And I might buy that exact fabric for a fall table cloth!

  18. Aw, I am so inspired to make a shirtwaist dress, you look fabulous in it and those buttons are perfect!

  19. Debi she is darling, the fabric is adorable and this style suits you so much, make more definitely make more. Perfect photos, perfect dress.

  20. margueritedesigns

    It’s just so perfect for this time of year!

  21. I’m so thrilled you made the pattern! AND it looks fabulous. What a great print. Big win! xx

  22. You should definitely make a shirtwaist dress…I had no idea how fun they were to make! Now I am hooked!!

  23. Thanks Kat! That sounds like a fabulous day! :)

  24. Thanks Trish! I can’t wait to see your 50’s patterns!

  25. Thanks doll!!! Really sweet comments…I want to make lots more too!

  26. Aye, Aye!! Will do! Thanks Lisette!

  27. Awww…what a sweet comment! Thank you so much!

  28. Awww…Thanks Melissa! I love it too!

  29. Thanks Meg! I hadn’t even thought of the buttons looking like acorns! Perfect for autumn!!

  30. You should! They are great fun!

  31. Thanks Amber….I can’t wait to make more!

  32. Thanks Sarah! I just love the fabric too!

  33. What an amazing comment Darlene! Thank you so much! I am very flattered! And yes, I was very lucky to be able to work with Fancy Moon Fabrics–they’ve got some real gems!

  34. Thanks Dottie! You should definitely buy the same fabric for a tablecloth–it’s perfect for the season!

  35. Thanks Adey! You totally should!!

  36. Thanks Kazz! I will definitely make more…I just love it!

  37. I agree…and the best part is that I can wear it with some toasty cardigan!

  38. A BIG THANK YOU Charlotte for bringing that pattern to the swap. I just adore it!!! I think I snagged another Style Print pattern that you brought….you maybe be responsible for not one but two new addictions…hehehehehe (shirtwaist dresses AND 50’s styleprint patterns!)

  39. I’ve used Robert Kaufman fabric for quilting but not for clothes (yet). Will need to try it. Great fall print and love the pattern.