Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Scallop front dress from a 1957 Australian Home Journal

I realise my blog has been sorely missing much Vintage sewing content of late, and I'm pretty sure that's why most of you are here, so apologies for the lack of it recently, I will attempt to fix that.

In a bout of procrastination when I should have been studying for my uni exam, I had a look through my fabrics and patterns for my next project, and chose Frock 5048 from the October 1957 edition of Australian Home Journal (the same edition the pattern from my floral green gingham dress came from) as well as a lovely floral poly cotton that I purchased from Lincraft roughly 2 years ago.

As this pattern is for a 40" bust (it's a Matron's frock, but I hardly think she looks matronly) I had very little grading up to do, merely adding a bit of width here and there, But I still diligently traced out all the pieces so I wouldn't damage the original tissue pattern, and would have the graded up version on file in case I want to make this again. I got all my pieces cut out, and started on the bodice darts and tucks, before getting back to my study (and the of course going to my exam)

Once I had finished up my uni obligations for the semester, the very next day I went back to work on my dress. I pressed the bodice darts and tucks, then sewed the shoulder and back neck/under collar seams, eased on the sleeves, attached the cuffs, then sewed the side seams. Next I made the pleats in my skirt pieces, attached the pocket pieces, sewed the skirt pieces together and attached it to the bodice along the waistline seam. I then sewed on the upper collar/front facing pieces, but when it came to turning out all those scallops, I had an idea.

After clipping all the corners and turning them right side out, I cut a piece of cardboard (from a block of lindt chocolate I happened to have on hand) to roughly the same shape as one of the scallops. I then used this cardboard template to insert into the inside of the scallop and push the edges out neatly and uniformly, as I pressed. 

Now I won't say they all turned out perfectly, but that probably has more to do with my stitching than my pressing, but they definitely all look much neater than the scallops on a previous outfit, so I am happy with this technique, and will certainly use it again.

At this point, I put the dress on my mannequin, pinning the front shut, and had a look though my stash for some appropriate buttons. To my dismay, I couldn't find many options that were both a matching colour and big enough size for the scallops. I ended up with 2 options, pale pink polka dot buttons or some medium green buttons, and posted on instagram and facebook to ask for people's opinions. Within minutes, it seemed that the green had everyone's unanimous vote, so I decided to go with that option. By this point it was evening, and I didn't think it was a wise idea to attempt buttonholes when tired, so I left it until morning.

The next day, I sewed the buttonholes, then used them as a guide for placing the buttons, ensuring they would all line up. Then all that was left to do was to sew on the buttons, sew up the front of the skirt and hem it. Unfortunately I did not have enough fabric left over to make a self covered belt for this dress (unless I piece it together) so I am hoping to find a suitable green belt to match the buttons. After wearing out the next day, I realised I will need to add a hook and eye at the waistline at the front, as it pulls open ever so slightly.

I haven't yet managed to get any modeled photos of this dress, as it has been quite cold and wet here for the past few weeks, but I will hopefully update this post when I do.



  1. lovely dress - I'll bet it looks great on, looking forward to seeing that ;o)

    1. Thanks, I am surprised I left this beautiful fabric sitting in my stash for so long!