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1950s patterns perfect for today


In 2011, Butterick released their Holiday collection. Included are three patterns that really stood out to me. They are retro designs from the 1950s yet they’re extremely fashionable for today. Similar designs are on the runways and appeal to a wide range of sewers. Whether you’re experiencing these designs for the first time, or they bring back happy memories of years gone by, I’m sure you’ll appreciate the timeless nature of these designs.

Butterick Pattern 5708 is a convertible party dress from circa 1953. The fitted bodice, with Y-shape piecing, can be tied in different ways to create four unique looks. The full skirt is gathered at the waist and ends below the knee. Show off a fashionable taffeta, shantung, or crepe for a fancy evening party or use linen or cotton broadcloth for an afternoon affair.

Butterick Pattern 5707, from circa 1958, is a chic daywear dress. The fitted bodice has a bias yoke with the sleeves cut as one. The neckline has a fashionable drape or tie. The semi-fitted skirt has darts and ends a bit below the knee. Choose a three-quarter or short sleeve and an optional belt. Consider making this great winter dress in a wool crepe fabric. This pattern is out of print but can be quickly found on Etsy, eBay or other online resellers.

Butterick Pattern 5716 is a jacket also from 1953. This lined, loose fitting jacket has cuffs, pockets with flaps, and an extra wide front facing which is sewn to the right side. Make these items in the same fabric or in a coordinating fabric to stand out. Suggested fabrics include wool and wool blends. Consider adding a few coat hook and eyes if you want a closer. This pattern is out of print but can be quickly found on Etsy, eBay or other online resellers.

Do you use retro designs to create current fashions? If so, check out the Butterick Retro Pattern Collection. What’s your favorite style?


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  1. User avater
    GreenTrunkDesigns | | #1

    I LOVE vintage fashion! I am always so happy when the pattern companies bring back old patterns!!!

  2. kbluehayes | | #2

    looking for embroidery kit use as a kid where you ironed the pattern onto the jeans, not looking for single stitch but covered pattern 1973 or so. Want to pass this fun craft onto sisters and family. PLEASE HELP

  3. WeSewRetro | | #3

    5603 is always a classic - the bow is adorable!

    If you're interested in vintage designs, you'll love browsing the community blog at WeSewRetro.com. Everything we sew is vintage (i.e. from an actual vintage pattern) or vintage-inspired.

  4. Jeanbern | | #4

    Kkluehayes-Amazon.com has 2 used Sunset Ideas for Clothing Decoration embroidery applique dyes and paints recycling from the 1970's that may give you some ideas.

  5. samsstuff | | #5

    Love these retro patterns! I'm so glad they're bringing them back. The real thing is great, but not always available & these are already in modern sizing, making them easy to work with (but not as collectible!)

  6. User avater
    MissPat | | #6

    I have the originals of all of these patterns. I am going to compare them as the sizes have changed a lot. I loved these styles but it's an age thing. I was in high school in the 50's and we tend to always have a soft spot for what we wore when we approached adulthood. I think that I have kept every pattern that I ever purchased and friends and family add to my collection. I costume community theatre so I really do use my patterns.

  7. User avater
    altieb | | #7

    I love vintage fashions, especially those of the 1950's and 60's. My mother sews her own clothes and gave me 2 dresses that she had made way back then. Unfortunately she didn't have the patterns anymore and I wanted to figure out how to copy and resize the one dress. To my excitement, Simplicity brought back the pattern as part of their retro range!

  8. KatrinaAriana | | #8

    Ooh yes, I have been so happy to see the new fall pattern releases that Butterick put out for vintage ethusiasts! I have already sewn a huge number of vintage dresses from Butterick's retro patterns that you can see on my blog: http://www.edelweisspatterns.com/blog

    Happy sewing!


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