Deciding on a dress pattern

I can look at dresses from the 50’s, with their big skirts and tight tops, whether they are knee length or tea length (ballerina), for hours at length. My goal is a dress to wear at a wedding this september. Earlier this year the decision process started, with my version of a dress by Mary Adams’ basic pattern from her book, The Party Dress Book. I love her work, and all the colours she manages to combine in a single outfit! Some of her work can be seen at

My dress was put made of cheap synthetic fabrics, just to see the fit, and had a laced up back to support a changing body weight-wise.

Første kjolekladd, etter mønster av Mary Adams.
First dress draft. Pattern by Mary Adams.

This summer the work to find and alter dress patterns has continued. Based on the dress from this winter, I’ve narrowed it down to three patterns, including the basic pattern by Mary Adams. Based on one dress pattern ( I made a top to see whether the neckline could suit me.

The last couple of weeks I’ve used an unknown amount of synthetic fabrics from the shop Jysk to make three tops and three skirts in order to find the best combination of these. So far I like the circle skirt and a pleated skirt. A gathered skirt ( was not for me, as my waist seemed to gain 10 pounds when I put it on. However, I liked the skirt length (close to tea length), and I intend to experiment on this length later on.

Further work includes construction of patterns for knee length half circle and a 3/4 circle skirts in order to compare these with the full circle skirt shown above. In addition, I intend to make a longer skirt based on the best knee length skirt. I also have to make a full circle petticoat, as I plan to wear one with the dress I’m making. Then I have to work out what alterations to make on the tops.

Based on the dress with a pleated skirt I want to make a cotton summer dress to war at a birthday party. When I have made the alterations needed on the top I end up with, I’ll use the fabric I’m gonna use for the wedding dress (red shot orange dupioni silk) and sew the top to make sure the fabric and colour suits me.


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