Making a 1950s Cocktail Dress Part 2: The Pattern


I haven’t posted any updates in a while, as I’ve been busy (applying for a costuming internship, might I add). But, I finally found some time to get back at that cocktail dress. It’s taken priority over my Impa cosplay for now, as I have only two months to complete it, and I have to make the pattern. And it just so happens that this post is about the creation of the pattern.

Nit Picking

Because I haven’t had time to work on sewing in a little while, I had moments to asses the drapping work I’d done. I found a few errors on the pieces I cut, so I started this next step in pattern making by adding fabric to fix the mistakes.

Mostly, the seams weren’t straight or the arm holes were too large. With some scrap fabric, I made sure all the lines were to my liking.


First I pinned the fabric on the outside and drew lines, then I put it under the main pieces pinned it all together and drew more lines.


See? It’s a little cleaner.

Putting it on Paper

Once the pattern pieces were neat, I sketched them on paper. I first traced the fabric, then added a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Additionally, I flared the waist a little, as the dress form’s waist is smaller than mine.


Once the enlarged pattern was drawn, I traced it with a Sharpie and labeled it. I did this with a total of three pattern pieces. Two of them I’ll cut twice and one is cut once on the fold.


I had to make adjustments after sketching out some of the pieces to ensure they fit together. I think I got them to match up, but I want to do a quick mock-up bodice to make sure everything’s OK – I’d hate to ruin the nice black lace fabric.

My Pattern Pieces

After drawing, redrawing and cutting, I finally finished the bodice patterns. Hopefully, my trial run will prove them to work well. We’ll see next time, I guess.


Thanks for reading!


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