VIP – The “Walk the Line” Dress

This week over at the challenge was to use a VIP – Very Important Piece of fabric from our stash.  While I must come clean and admit I have had many pieces in my stash for years, this is a pretty recent arrival.  I found it a few months ago and it immediately screamed 50’s Fair to me!

HHT Fifties Fair from Historic Houses Trust on Vimeo.

I agonized over cutting into the fabric and choosing the right design, so there was a bit of sketching, much thought and a toile before I cut into the actual fabric.

The pattern I first attempted was:  Vintage Vogue V1043.  The top was a complete disaster, how much chocolate have I been eating lately?  I binned it and had a total change of direction.  Decided the skirt was worthwhile using.

Plan B was Butterick B4513, I made it very large (after the first disasterous attempt) then had to do lots of fitting.  The back of this dress is meant to be gathered into the gathered waistline of the skirt.  I wanted a fitted look, so had to alter it quite drastically to get this look.

This pattern calls for bias binding to form the ties at the shoulders.  I quite enjoy a bit of bias-binding action, so went quite nerdy, and made my own self-fabric bias binding, I think it makes it a bit special.

I was watching Walk the Line as I sewed for a bit of inspiration while sewing, then I looked down at the DVD’s cover after I had finished and saw I had subliminally created the dress Reece Witherspoon wears on the front cover!!!

The fabric sewed up like a dream despite not being pure cotton and doesn’t crease – which we like!  Even the side zip ended up facing the right way – which didn’t happen last time I attempted one!

Cost: Fabric $A25, patterns about $A10 from Ebay each.

The Facts

Fabric: Poly cotton from a Junk shop $20
Pattern: Skirt from Vogue V1043, top fron B4513 (with major fitting alterations)
Year: ’53 and ’57
Notions: Zip $3
Time to complete: 9 hours
First worn: August 2011 – Sydney’s 50’s Fair
Wear again?  It should be useful for spring days in Sydney –  but not for those stinking hot 40 degree days, when anything synthetic is un-wearable and unbearable.

Love the pretty coloured polka dots on a black back ground – I wear a lot of black – it’s very me, this dress!!

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I had a ball at the 50’s Fair today – it was freezing (about 16 degrees – so please excuse the leggings peeping out from under the skirt – if I had a fur coat I would have worn it!

I will add more photos all week from the day!

Thanks to my lovely friend Penny the queen of handbags for coming with me.

It was also lovely to see Kesenya from

And I said hello to the lovely Kelly Doust from


9 thoughts on “VIP – The “Walk the Line” Dress

    • Thanks, it was the best day ever! A fabric expert I met told me it could be 60’s or 80’s fabric – shudder! Watch out for more photos, amazing collectables this year – or was that because we arrived at the start?!

    • Thanks Sarah, I don’t need an excuse to wear that cardi! Just wish I had a coat that was appropriate – Oh well I bouht two coat patterns on the day – we’ll see how they go!

  1. I love seeing all your pictures. I wish there were events like this in the states! It looks like you had a blast and your dress turned out perfect. Good save by switching patterns!

  2. Hi, love the pattern 1043 what was the problem with the top portion? I love the top but I’m a 36f wear a 12 dress usa sizes. Almost everything I have to tailor most patterns only show D. Need the cross top section helps even out my top half! Yes, I realize it’s 2014!

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