Simplicity 1459 - Vintage 1950s Shirt Dress

by - 2/14/2017

Simplicity 1459 - Vintage 1950s Shirt Dress

This dress is the perfect vintage Valentine's Day dress, which I'll certainly be rocking well into the Summer. I've been keeping an eye on this vintage 1950s Simplicity 1459 pattern for a while as I'm a sucker for a shirt dress, especially a vintage one! So in collaboration with online haberdashery Weaver Dee it felt like the perfect time to try it, paired with a classic floral cotton for a true retro vibe.

Here's a peek at the pattern:
Lots of gorgeous variations!
It has some really great sleeve variations and as it's Winter in the UK at the moment I thought I'd try the 3/4 length sleeve option. Although before I'd put the sleeves on, I loved the look of the dress without the sleeves and I can certainly see myself sewing this one again in the Summer.

Straight out of Mad Men!
The dress features an exaggerated shirt collar with a wide centre back bib. I love the oversized look of the collar and with a nipped in waist and full skirt, the proportions work really well. It makes me feel just like Betty Draper! The dress has a couple of centre front buttons, I opted for 3 for a bit more bust modesty, and a side zip. In hindsight I would of loved to have added pockets to the amazing full skirt, so I'll remember to do that next time!

Now it wouldn't be me without a mistake in there (flawless garment where are you?), and whilst on sewing auto pilot I forgot to sew the points into the collar as instructed. Which resulted in an unusual looking collar shape. I asked my mum what she thought and the look on her face said it all so I ended up fixing it. Which I'm glad I did as I know it would of annoyed me to not get this obvious design feature right.

I just want to talk about sizing for a second, hopefully it might help someone out there. I always struggle with sizing. I have an hourglass figure and fit in size 10 or 12 (UK) depending on the garment/style. I always struggle with sewing pattern sizing, resulting in baggy or too tight makes. In this pattern I cut the size 14 with no modifications. Usually a size 14 is a 28" waist with a 36" bust and 38" hips. My bust & hip measurements are larger than this, but on this particular style with free hips and a generous button up bust, the 14 was perfect for me. However if the style wasn't button up or had fitted hips I would of cut a 16 with room to tailor the waist.

Sewing Summary:

Pattern: Simplicity 1459 - Weaver Dee

Fabric: Poly Cotton Fabric - Navy / Pink Rose Garden - £3.00 per m - Weaver Dee

Notions: Medium Weight Iron on  Interfacing & 22" & Concealed Nylon Zip [817 Cerise Pink] - Weaver Dee

Sewing time: I spent two afternoons on this.

Modifications: Added 3 buttons instead of 2, and I used a concealed zip instead of a lapped zipper

Fit: Perfect! I know, I'm surprised too.

Difficulty: Straightforward. I was pleasantly surprised at how simply this came together (ignoring my stupid mistake!). I'd also recommend this for adventurous beginners.

Watch out for: Don't forget to sew the collar points properly like me!

Make again?: Yes!

Styled with my new favourite bag. Very Valentine's appropriate!
Overall, I am in love with this dress. It's been a while since I've sewn a vintage number and this one was worth the wait for me. The instructions were easy to follow and the dress was relatively simple and I'll certainly be making it again. For me, I think this dress could be a true vintage number, the fabric is the perfect Winter floral, but the print complements the vintage vibe. The sleeves make it great to wear right now and it will take me all the way through Spring, then I'll be ready to make a sleeveless number. I've styled it with THIS gorgeous heart shaped bag from Joanie Clothing.

Will you be trying this Simplicity 1459 pattern?

Thanks for reading, pinups!

The pattern, fabric and notions were my choices supplied to me free of charge by Weaver Dee. 
All thoughts & opinions are my own.

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  1. I am so in love with this dress, and the fabric!! I'll definitely be making one of these. I'll love how many variations there are too. What a great pattern :)

  2. Wow! What a lovely pattern and choice of fabric. Certainly does have a Betty Draper vibe. Yes, I think I'll add this one to my pattern wishlist; I am such a fan of fun collars :)

  3. I've made this dress twice, both with the elbow length sleeve and sleeveless. You've done a great job! My first was black with a beige grid pattern and my second was a William Morris inspired print with orange and red in it, I love them both!!

  4. Lovely! I messed up the collar on mine too... but only because my interfacing was a bit stiffer than I'd like. Otherwise I love it too (and I made mine for Valentine's day too 😉)

  5. Is the skirt a full circle or wld the pattern be easily adapted to achieve that?