Linktastic Friday: Helpfulness Edition

by Erin on May 30, 2008

Modes Royale 1594

Jen helpfully sent me the above link — isn't it fantastic? You don't usually get vampiness AND pockets in the same pattern. (Which has never made sense to me: where do those mankillers keep their red lipstick and extra perfume? I don't see a handbag in this picture, do you?) (It's being listed by JuniperFare Vintage Wears on eBay, click the image to visit the listing.) Jen is also a member of the EVintage Society, check them out!

Libby helped me find Simplicity 2222, which I don't even think she knew I was looking for:


Allison made a prom dress for a bowling pin. That's all I'm gonna say; you need to check out that link for yourself.

Rita at Cemetarian writes about what to do with incomplete patterns. What do you do with your incomplete patterns? (Remember there's always Pattern Rescue, too!)

Lisa sent this astounding raffia-embroidered 1960s dress. If you have a fancy beachy party coming up, you need to visit this auction.

Elle sends a link to, which supposedly lets you enter your measurements and then shops for items that fit your shape. (I vaguely remember ita wanting something like this a long time ago …) I put in my measurements and I am something called an "M" shape. Since "M" is one of my favorite letters of the alphabet (mmmmmm) this pleased me … but I didn't find any cardigans I liked in the shopping section. D'oh! (For more on bodyshapes, you might want to re-read this excellent guest post by La BellaDonna.)

Penny sent this dress, which I love. I'm pretty sure I have this pattern, though, so I'm sharing. Isn't that helpful of me?

Carla did a great interview with Trista of Sugardale. You remember Trista from a previous Linktastic Friday, I'm sure …

Oh, and apropos of yesterday's steampunk mention, Jonquil found this great clock-parts fabric. I really want a dress of this, and every time I wear it I will look impatiently at my watch for added effect!

Kaufman Clock Fabric

If you have run out of things to read on the Internets, Michelle (from Patterns From The Past) very helpfully sent this GIANT LIST of sewing blogs. It's a rainy Friday here; if it's a rainy Friday where YOU are …

Requestions (I was going to type "requests" but my fingers decided to follow through with "ions" and it looked funny, so, now, we're using the word "requestions" here at Dress a Day HQ):

Can anyone help Cat find a good kimono pattern (that isn't Folkwear, she knows about that one)? Please leave a comment …

Kate is looking for a pattern for those Hawaiian-y 1950s halter dresses (like this one). Do you know of a pattern for these? I know you can buy reproductions, but she wants to make her own.

Can anyone help Laura? This is her question:

I don't mean to bother you, but I can't seem to find info and if anyone would know, it would be you or your readers… No matter what I do, my skirts always turn around on me. I walk, they shift, I run, they shift, I sit still, they shift. Circle skirts, straight skirts, etc, and always counter clockwise if looking from above. I used to think it was interference from my purse, but it happens even if I don't carry one. I figure I must walk unevenly or something, but do you know any way to get it to stay put? I've tried pinning them to my bike shorts (works for circles, but not straight skirts – the skirt still turns below the pin line). Any ideas?

I would like to know that answer, too … for me it seems to happen when I'm wearing a bigger size than I ought to (some vintage I will MAKE fit me by sheer force of will, right?).

Still about skirts, Sandy is looking for a Halston skirt pattern, which she explains as "the skirt is actually like two in one—there is an inner skirt which is only fastened at the waist, so you can turn the whole thing over and have a second skirt." Do you know about this? Leave a comment, please!

Also, it has come to my attention that the "search" function on this page is BROKEN. Like, returns no hits for "Duro" or "shirtdress" broken. I'm not sure why … but if you need to find where I wrote about roller-skating, or buttonholes, or that dress with the crows and the megaphones, or whatever, use Google, and type [YOUR QUERY TERM HERE] That will limit Google's search to just A Dress A Day.

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Penny May 30, 2008 at 9:17 am

There are several kimono pattern designs available to choose from . McCall’s 4953 costume kimono, as well as Simplicity 4080 which is a Geisha costume pattern. Have one 1950s kimono robe with monogram pattern. Pacifica has several authentic Hawaiin garments for the reader searching for a halter dress pattern.


Rina May 30, 2008 at 9:18 am

Um, a waist stay for Laura? It’s entire reason for being is to stop skirt/dress shiftiness.Rina


Latter-Day Flapper May 30, 2008 at 9:21 am

Unless it’s a particularly complicated pattern, missing pieces don’t faze me. If it’s something basic, like a sleeve or skirt panel, I just borrow one from another pattern (similar age/style) and tweak it to fit. If it’s a more important piece like a bodice panel, I have no qualms about at least attempting to reproduce it through a combination of borrowed pieces and pure winging-it.I figure, I usually have to adapt stuff to fit better, anyway, right?


Jenny May 30, 2008 at 10:16 am

For Kate:I have been looking for a similar dress pattern, and the closest match I can find is Simplicity 3780. There is also a recently out-of-print pattern you might want to check out – Simplicity 4481. It’s supposed to be a fancy bias-cut evening gown, but I think you could work out how to use the bodice on the skirt of your choice. Good luck!


Anonymous May 30, 2008 at 10:17 am

For the skirt twisting problem – I think they make a rubbery substance that comes in strips, like elastic, that can be sewn inside the waistband and stays. Alternatively, a strip of the wider elastic that is kind of rubbery sewn inside the waistband would probably do the same thing.Toddson


Lydia May 30, 2008 at 10:19 am

That Modes Royale pattern stopped me in my tracks. WANT. It’s even my size! *whimper*


Anonymous May 30, 2008 at 10:34 am

wearing a slip always helps me with twisty problems. it cuts down on the friction between your legs and the skirt fabric especially when wearing tights?


melissa May 30, 2008 at 10:34 am

Kate – Simplicity 3780 is a great 1950s halterneck dress that’s a reissue of an original vintage pattern. I recently sewed it up into a Porsche dress and it’s a really great pattern, especially if your bust is proportionately larger than the rest of you because with the gathered cups you can just fuse a bigger size up top onto a smaller size everywhere else! Highly recommended.


Mia May 30, 2008 at 10:38 am

for Laura- I had that problem growing up and into my twenties with any skirt I wore, then after my first child I began getting adjusted regularly by a chiropractor. Apparently it was my pelvis/hips that were misaligned and I haven’t had that problem for the last 3 years, everything stays put now….who knew!


Julia May 30, 2008 at 11:05 am

Laura, suggestion #1 – stop wearing skirts – wear dresses, they are unlikely to turn around on you unless there is something you haven’t told us. Suggestion #2 – try a nylon slip with the skirt. Are you sure you are wearing the correct size?Cat – check outthis link:


Jillian May 30, 2008 at 11:08 am

Laura – I agree with Mia. I have a high right hip and it causes a lot of my skirts to twist unless I make pattern alterations before sewing up my skirts. I think I read about this in one my sewing books but I can’t remember which one right now…maybe it was Fast Fit: Easy Pattern Alterations for Every Figure.


harthad May 30, 2008 at 11:32 am

For Kate: Scissorhappy sells a reproduction of a 1950-60’s Hawaiian-style halter pattern with a sarong skirt, see here: actually have the original of this pattern (alas, missing the bodice pieces!), which also had a full dirndl-type skirt option. No reason you can’t tack on any skirt style you like.


bellystitch May 30, 2008 at 11:32 am

You can buy summer kimono patterns at The patterns are Japanese but the sewing instructions are in diagram form so they aren’t difficult at all to follow. I can get confused when the directions are in English and even I have managed to use them.


Anonymous May 30, 2008 at 11:52 am

Skirt twirling: they used to make (OMG I’m old) a sort of elastic with rubberized strand on one side that you sew on the inside to the waistband. It clings to your slip or blouse or whatever is between you and the band and helps the skirt stay in place. Like the stuff they put in the band of thigh-high stockings. That is a stunning dress with all the buttons and pockets. Rather a gangster look – you could slip your shotgun down that long pocket and no one would be the wiser. this is your fault, Erin, I keep creating Secret Lives for Dresses.


Teresa May 30, 2008 at 12:01 pm

My thoughts almost exactly regarding the dress with the pockets and buttons. That long side pocket could hold just about anything….maybe a samurai sword or witches wand or ….the imagination runs wild with the possibilities of this dress.Thanks Erin for the distraction!Have a great Friday.Teresa


Chantelle May 30, 2008 at 12:33 pm

Incomplete patterns: They don’t bother me too much because I also have to make alterations to make things fit. I can draft a facing or skirt piece.If a critical piece (or all pieces!) are gone but the instructions are there with the technical sketch of the piece, I might try to draft the piece if I loved it THAT much. If the instructions were also missing, well, I’d have to love it too much for my own good to use it. I haven’t done much draping but I think I would try to drape the pattern to match the envelope picture.There are some people out there that collect vintage pattern envelopes and make things like buttons or magnets or whatever out of them, too. So a vintage envelope containing nothing is still saleable.


La BellaDonna May 30, 2008 at 12:39 pm

Erin, I suggest that Kate, and anyone else who would like that dress, hop on over to, where Xandra has what appears to be that exact pattern, only it’s MULTI-SIZED! It’s $18, and well worth it.The twisting skirt is, as you surmised, because the skirt is what we technically call too big. (A high hip can aggravate this, as well as you.) Fixes: move the button over, which can look kind of ehh, or not work if there is in fact no button; or, better, open up the inside ends of the waistband (seriously, I would just snip a neat cut on the inside, on the inside ONLY of the waistband) and insert a piece of elastic narrow enough to fit through the whole waistband, and, preferably, almost wide enough to fill the entire waistband. The elastic should be cut to your waist measure, plus about an inch for fiddling. Use a bodkin or a sturdy safety pin (pinned right through the elastic, and closed) to slide the elastic through the first slit, and ANCHOR the loose end of the elastic with another safety pin so you dont pull it out again. Work the strip of elastic all the way through to the other end, and pin it. Now put the skirt on backwards so you can see what youre working on; close it up, and start tugging on the elastic until it feels snug, but not uncomfortable. The finished elastic will usually wind up about 4 shorter than your waist measurement, to get this snugness, but your mileage may vary. When its comfy, anchor the ends, and stitch up the slits or finish them and leave them open so you can replace the elastic, if you need to. Once youre wearing the skirt, unless it was huuuuuge on you, the fact that there is elastic in there should not be apparent.And Sandy doesnt really, truly need a special Halston skirt pattern. You know that, right, Sandy? Because if you make two skirts (best, I find, using a gored, half-circle, or certain bias skirts patterns, made with elastic waist finishes) and you finish the hems off, then sew them together at the waist, right sides together, turn right side out (one skirt will have the right side on the outside, one skirt will have the right side on the inside facing your legs) and either make a narrow casing by stitching below the waist wide enough to slip a piece of elastic in, or make a separate waistband to take an elastic. You could probably finish it with a standard waistband, but I think it would be too much work and then it might swing around you like Kates skirts. I have several reversible skirts mostly theyre just mounted on a very narrow elastic, as the waistband itself! But no special pattern is needed. (You can also finish the waist first, and then hem the skirts, but it can get a little awkward.)


La BellaDonna May 30, 2008 at 12:43 pm

I’m A Nidiot; the pattern that’s wanted is, I think, the last pattern on Page 2 of the 50s section of; I forgot that there are several similar ones on that page, but the one that’s exactly the same is the very last one on Page 2.


Cookie May 30, 2008 at 1:29 pm

Wow, that asymmetrical “gangster moll” dress could really do a number on drunks in a bar; they’d be seeing double trying to figure out why it makes the room seem to tilt. I LOVE that shirtdress with the stripes reversed on the bodice. Very, very extra cute.


cathy May 30, 2008 at 1:31 pm

I really wanted to see a prom dress on a bowling pin, but I got 404.


Oldpatterns May 30, 2008 at 2:00 pm

try the bowling pin dress. That is a direct link to the image.


Ai May 30, 2008 at 2:16 pm

The bowling pin link seems to have an extra “/ /” (without that many spaces). Try this link


vespabelle May 30, 2008 at 2:25 pm

John Marshall’s book Make Your Own Japanese Clothes is a very good resource for making kimonos. It is very clearly written with good instructions and illustrations. Here’s a picture of my daughter in her kimono made from the book’s instructions.


peanut May 30, 2008 at 3:04 pm

There are some free kimono patterns available from Nani Iro’s website ( – click on the pictures for the instructions, scroll to the bottom for the men’s version). I haven’t actually tried making a kimono up yet (mostly due to a lack of large enough pieces of fabric) but I have made one or two of the other patterns and the drafting out isn’t as scary as it looks at first – I use freezer paper, a tape measure and a couple of straight edges. All the numbers are in centimetres. The actual instructions are in Japanese but if you know what a kimono is supposed to look like you should be able to figure it out. :)


velvet plaza May 30, 2008 at 3:08 pm
Cookie May 30, 2008 at 4:04 pm

Do you guys like my neck longer?


Chantelle May 30, 2008 at 5:22 pm

I like your neck a bit shorter, cookie. Otherwise it looks like your head belongs on a giraffe :)


Cookie May 30, 2008 at 6:45 pm

Thank you, chantelle. I see now that you are right. Have gone back to original format. (Interestingly, this pic is from a 1960’s pattern, but with the details cropped out the haircut looks more 1930’s to me.) HAVE A NICE WEEKEND, ALL!


Anonymous May 30, 2008 at 7:36 pm

I want to second the motion for the “Make Your Own Japanese Clothes” book, it is excellent. I used the instructions to draft up a pattern for a kimono-inspired blouse and it came out beautifully.


Anonymous May 30, 2008 at 10:36 pm

For the Hawaiian style dress Simplicity has an out of print pattern 4559 that you could order from the website.


jessicajlee May 31, 2008 at 8:40 am

For Kate: if you can’t find a good pattern, have you considered drafting one yourself? I made a dress just like that this year using the bodice pattern piece from another dress and just made up the rest, and it turned out okay. That may work…


wundermary May 31, 2008 at 11:59 am

Ha, I love the prom dress for a bowling pin! I’ve got a duck ball and pin on display in my sewing room, they may get dressed.


Anonymous June 1, 2008 at 4:55 am

Many people have the twisting problem with skirts – probably because almost nobody is symmetrical. One leg longer than the other, one hip fuller – any variation can cause a skirt to start swiveling around your body.


Ari June 1, 2008 at 4:23 pm

For the halter dress, try McCall’s 5580. It’s not a vintage pattern, but it’s a 1950s style and one of the options has that style of halter neck. The bodice is quite a bit more structured, though, but it could be worth a try.~Ari


Jonquil June 1, 2008 at 8:25 pm

But, alas, I am very frustrated — I’ve been to two fabric stores and can’t find that fabric locally. is sold out and doesn’t carry it. Help!


Binkle June 2, 2008 at 4:58 pm

Thanks all for the Skirt help! It sounds like it’s just cause of my wonky shape combined with waistbands not being tight enough. : ) I’ll try a combo of different suggestions and see what works!


Maux June 3, 2008 at 1:21 pm

Threads Oct/Nov 2002 had a Kimono Coat tutorial that might be useful.


Maux June 3, 2008 at 1:21 pm

Threads Oct/Nov 2002 had a Kimono Coat tutorial that might be useful.


Kate June 4, 2008 at 2:38 pm

Thanks to everybody who has offered comments on finding a suitable Hawaiian dress pattern! What a helpful bunch of dress-lovers you all are. After looking at LOTS of patterns and taking all ideas into consideration, I have purchased several and plan to piece them together into a semi-original copy cat design. Wish me luck. My next step is to find some fabulous fabric, something with a vintage luau feel, but not tooooo obvious. Thank you again! :)


Beth B June 4, 2008 at 9:22 pm

So I clicked and re-read the crows and megaphones post. There I discovered what started me on my quest to find fabric with elephants in propeller beanies!I guess that will be my first Spoonflower submission when they get out of beta.


Jana September 23, 2010 at 1:15 pm

“where do those mankillers keep their red lipstick and extra perfume?”

In the Victoria’s Secret compartment, of course!


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