Making a 1950s Cocktail Dress: Part 4

1950s-cocktail-dress-sewing-pattern-patternmaking-making-50s Once I was totally confident that my pattern would work (I tested it out in the last post), I finally got to cut my lovely black lace. In fact, I even finished stitching the bodice shell today – I’d say I’ve been pretty productive!

Cutting the Lace

Unlike the muslin I did a trial run with, the lace was stretchy and a little tough to work with – it likes to slide and it’s difficult to maneuver in the machine. I cut all the pieces, leaving 1 inch at the bottom. In my trial, I saw that the bottom of the bodice landed just around my waist. I wanted a bit of an allowance since I’ll be attaching the skirt to that hem.

Putting the Pieces Together

I basically did the same thing with the actual bodice shell as I did with the trial version. There was already black thread in my machine, so I didn’t have to rethread it – ahh, so nice! Because the lace fabric is so stretchy, keeping it in place while sewing was kind of a pain, but I got all my lines nice and straight. 1950s-cocktail-dress-sewing-pattern-patternmaking-making-50s I didn’t photograph the bodice with the back pieces stitched on, but I did sew them on too. Also, I used a straight stitch on all the seams. Usually I do the straight stretch stitch (tongue twister right there), so I’m worried the simpler stitch won’t be strong enough.


After I put the bodice together, I put it on just to check that everything looked good. I only had to made one change: I tightened the seams near the arm holes and bust. It was bunching just a bit. However, after I took them in a bit, they laid perfectly. 1950s-cocktail-dress-sewing-pattern-patternmaking-making-50s-form With the bodice on my dress form, you can see the form is a little smaller than me. That being said, I’m really proud of the pattern I made because it fit very well without many adjustments. I sized it well.

Next Steps

The next few steps will be making the bodice lining and the skirt. I’m not sure which I’ll work on – it all depends on whether I get the lining fabric soon. If I do pick it up, I’ll finish the bodice. If I don’t, I’ll make the shell of the skirt. Stay tuned to see.


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