Fall for Cotton: 50s pattern and fabric inspiration

Do you need a little bit of inspiration for Fall for Cotton? I know many of our sew-alongers have 1950s styles on their mind, so I wanted to share a few combinations of patterns and fabric to give you a fun 50s look for your project!

I adore McCall 4987 from 1959 (38″ bust), with the contrast inset panel and kimono sleeves. This would be great in a mid-weight cotton with some structure. You could easily sew it up all in one color but I think part of the charm is the contrast panel! I could see it in a bold print with autumn colors like Loulouthi Fabric Clippings in Glow (say that 10 times fast) from Anna Maria Horner, with a rich brown or rusty orange as the contrast panel. Or maybe go more vibrant with aqua or pink!

{Source: pattern—Etsy / fabric—Fabric.com}

Below is Simplicity 3586 from 1955 (32″ bust), actually a pattern I own! I love the 4-gore bias cut skirt. It gives you the opportunity to play with a great striped pattern like Cynthia Rowley’s Paintbox Garden Stripe, if you’re so inclined. If I did that, I think I’d go with a solid-colored belt and ribbon trim to break things up a bit. The pattern also comes with the transfer for the soutache braid on the solid version!

{Source: pattern—Etsy / fabric—Fabric.com}

Advance 6552 (being sold by the lovely vintage blogger Atomic Redhead) is a drool-worthy pinafore dress, a look I feel was more common in the 40s than the 50s, so this pattern is a great find. What I particularly love about it is how the different views give you a variety of fabric ideas. Go with a solid dress but contrasting ruffles, try an allover print like a small vintage floral, or use a novelty print fabric or border print!

Did you guys know I was obsessed with gnomes? Well I am. And I’ll tell you I would totally sew this up in Michael Miller’s Gnomeville Border with red polka dots and a gnome-themed border print. It would be a match made in novelty-print heaven.

{Source: pattern—Etsy / vintage floral fabric—Etsy / border print fabric—Fabric.com}

Simplicity 4665 is only a tiny 30″ bust, but how awesome are these blouses? (Upper left, I’m talking to you!) They’d be great in a vintage print cotton for a casual day look with a solid-colored pencil skirt or full skirt. Or try a pretty cotton sateen to kick it into something appropriate for evening or a special occasion!

{Source: pattern—Etsy / cotton print fabric—Etsy / cotton sateen—Mood Fabrics}

Don’t forget, when shopping for fabric, read the fabric recommendations on your pattern, modern or vintage! While vintage patterns only have drawings on the envelope, you can sometimes get a decent idea of the drape just based on that. A cotton voile isn’t going to work well for a full 1950s skirt with a crinoline underneath, just like an upholstery-weight fabric won’t work for a nice lightweight summer blouse.

What’s inspiring you for the sew-along? As you figure it out (I still have to myself!), be sure to share your pattern and fabric choices in our Flickr group!


Filed: Sew-alongs, Sewing


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