Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer and mom of two little ones. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!

Shimmery blue sort of retro party dress!

A party is a reason for a new dress, right??

This year my company's winter party was WWII USO-themed, held at a very cool old building at Fort Vancouver, complete with cake walk, air raid sirens (you know, before announcements), and swing dancing. (We even held a bake sale at the office a couple weeks before and raised a ton of money for some local veterans' organizations!)

Now, I'm not going to lie--yes, I was on the winter party committee and yes, I may have suggested the retro theme because it's fun to dress for it. Last year we had a ski theme which everyone got really into and was super fun, but I didn't get a chance to wear a pretty dress!

This year almost everyone got into it again, with lots of red lipstick and several people (me included) attepting victory rolls (see how I actually looked at the party here). I wanted to make a dress that would fit with the theme, but also be something I could wear again later.

Not a lot of careful planning went into the dress--I looked at my fabric stash and found a shimmery blue-purple changeable poly that was actually a massive curtain swag I got at a secondhand shop. Tons of yardage. I had been picturing it as an overlapping bodice, full skirt--I pulled out Butterick B5319 and planned to lengthen the bodice pieces a ton and make the midriff panel into just a waistband.

For the skirt, I wanted something really full and had enough fabric for a circle skirt, so I used the skirt from Butterick B4792, a 50's vintage reprint with the circle skirt with front and back concentrated gather areas. So cute. In the shimmery drapey poly, the skirt doesn't look like the ones on the pattern cover but is still super fun to wear and dance in!! I tried a puffy petticoat underneath but it was too long and too full for my taste. Would have made it more 50's New Look, anyway.

The circle skirt took absolutely forever to hem, but is so fun!!

I realize now that it's done that it doesn't look 40's retro at all, but it doesn't matter. It was pretty and fun to wear. Of course I dressed it up with pearls, red lipstick, a vintage fur shrug, and my attempt at victory rolls in my hair! (See here.) It was perfect for the party!

Patterns: Butterick B5319 (bodice) and Butterick B4792 (skirt)

  • Made bodice almost full length and made midriff panel into waistband
  • Cut skirt as long as I could from my fabric but it ended up shorter than called for

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