Dresses of the 50s – Neckline Shapes
(Photo Credit: Rundschauverlag)
Particularly in the 50s, very body-focused feminine dresses were created that showed ingenuity and originality of vintage fashion in every detail. Dresses of the 50s are wonderfully feminine. After the arduous war years, the lady longed for elegance and luxury. Now she wore wide skirts and tight-fitting blouses with elaborately crafted necklines. The waisted costume and the cocktail dress enjoyed great popularity. For evening dresses in A-Line, elegant dresses in the New Look or swing dresses with petticoat, special technical details were always sought to underline the feminine line of vintage dresses. Whether on the international catwalks or with the Rockabilly ladies: Vintage fashion in the 50s style is in demand. No wonder because feminine curves simply look stunning in a tailor-made retro dress. The typical dress of this decade conjures up a sensual hourglass silhouette: a narrow waist, round hips and a sumptuous neckline. Icons of the time were Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Marilyn Monroe. Graphic patterns like polka dots or stripes and accessories like hats, bags and pumps in matching colours match the perfect Fifties Vintage collection.
International fashion designers are inspired by the feminine elegance of the 50s and reinterpret the New Look. From left: Lena Hoschek, Ulyana Sergeenko, Zac Posen (Photo Credit: © CATWALKPIX.COM)
Neckline Shapes – Pattern Construction in the Style of the 50s
The original cut-out forms shown in this article date from the 1950s. With these ingenious patterns a simple dress gets a super retro upgrade. The shown designs are developed by draping the front bodice onto the dress form to determine the shape better. The darts are draped directly on the dress form.
All shown pattern constructions of neckline shapes can be found in the german-speaking book Historische Schnitte DOB.
Neckline with star-shaped Pleats
This design shows a neckline with a star-shaped drape and a small attached collar. Shape the bust dart and the waist dart on the dress form and close them with tape. The draped moulage gives a three-dimensional model. Experience shows that a line on a three-dimensional shape looks different than a line on a flat surface. Rotate the chest dart intake to the waist. The top is designed with a short drop shoulder sleeve as shown in the illustration.
Dress – Front and Back Pattern
- Take the moulage off the dress form and open the waist dart. Leave the bust dart taped and closed.
- Mark the neckline shape at the centre front 5 cm below the chest line.
- Lower the neckline 4 cm at the front and back shoulder. Lower the neckline 2 cm at the centre back.
- Draw the neckline shape according to the illustration. Mark the cutting lines for the pleats.
- Draw the collar piece 3 cm wide as shown.
- Mark a cutting line to the bust point Bt.
Finished Pattern Pieces
- Open the cutting lines on the front panel. Spread the pleats 1 cm each at the shoulder seam and 4 cm to 5 cm each at the centre front. Blend the seam transitions and mark the grainline.
Neckline with draped Lapel collar
This design is particularly sophisticated in terms of draping technique. The lapel collar results from the fullness of the bodice. The chest and waist darts are relocated to the shoulder and folded into one big pleat that shapes the lapel. The pleat depth is sewn in lapel shape and the collar is cut in one with the shoulder.
Dress – Front and Back Pattern
- Use the front bodice of a basic dress block in size 40 as a template. Divide the bust dart intake in half and relocate it to two bust darts. Prepare the front bodice as follows. Draw a guideline from the neck point to the centre front for the stand-up collar. Square up 2 cm at the shoulder for the collar height. Mark the collar 4 cm wide at the centre front and draw the stand-up collar as shown in the illustration.
- On the waist line, measure 2 cm from the centre front to the right and draw a line to the collar. Mark half of the dart intake on the first dart (here 2 cm). Mark the front bust depth at the bust point level (Btl) and measure 4.5 cm at the shoulder for the bust dart position. Mark the second waist dart 5 cm away from the first one and connect the dart to the relocated bust dart. Draw the bust dart and the waist dart to the bust point (Bt2). Add the collar to the back neckline. Draw a guideline from the neck point to the centre back. Square up 2 cm at the shoulder for the collar and lengthen the centre back 2.5 cm for the collar height at the centre back. Draw the collar shape onto the back pattern as shown in the illustration.
Design Development Front Pattern
- Cut from the collar to the bust point (Btl). Close the waist darts and rotate the dart intakes to the bust darts. Mark the bust darts as pleats. Trace a copy of the back collar on the back pattern and place it on the front pattern as shown in the illustration. Draw the stylelines for the faux lapel. The front bust dart leg is the lapel break. The lapel is folded and sewn at this line. Draw the lapel shape as shown. Draw the front edge of the lapel exactlyto the break line and draw the lapel notch until just before the pleat centre. Forthecollar,mirrorthecollarshape over the break line and draw the collar up to the shoulder seam.
- Use a narrow one-piece sleeve pattern as a template. Draw a cutting line for relocating the elbow dart.
Finished Pattern Pieces
- Separate all pattern pieces and complete overlapping areas. Copy the front and back facing. Rotate and shorten the elbow dart on the sleeve pattern. Mark the grainlines.
- Finish the faux lapel collar as follows: Fold the front panel right sides together over the lapel break line (left dart leg of the bust dart). With the help of a prepared drawing template, draw the lapel shape on the wrong side of the fabric and sew the lapel and collar edge accordingly. Cut back the pleat intake up to the seam allowance and turn the lapel to the right side. Close the pleat which is hidden now under the lapel.
The pattern shirt blouse dresses contains two dresses in sizes 36 to 46.
Further pattern instructions and patterns for sewing vintage dresses can be found in our online shop.