I often make a dress without a trial version first, but when the skirt is narrow, I like to do a trial dress before cutting into an expensive fabric to make sure it isn't too tight and I like the fit. With a final version in mind for Easter, I made a "wearable muslin" of such a dress, figuring I could wear it for everyday.
It turns out to be my new favorite slender 1950s pattern, surprisingly quick to make (just a few hours) and quite comfortable to wear since the special element of the design is that back detail...pleats in the back waist and the skirt insert which is both decorative and allows for ease in walking.
The pleats in the back allow for plenty of arm movement, without the restriction common in vintage styles - ideal for wearing around the house.
There are collar and sleeve options. For this one I did what was styled an "Italian collar" and did short sleeves, which I edged with bias trim, just for fun. The dolman sleeves and almost princess lines make for a very easy assembly.
It is unusual since the front piece is all one, without a waist seam, and shaped by two darts. The back is put together separately and does have a waist seam. It can be worn with or without a belt. The beltless option has an added band in the back where the pleats are.
The plaid fabric is a nice summer wear...and not blue, for once! All my past projects seem to be blue ones (I do gravitate toward it as one of my favorite colors!), so this is a real change.
This version could be a house dress or a street dress. Here I styled it a little more like a summer-shopping-in-town outfit. In another fabric it could be dressier (wait for the Easter version), or in satin or taffeta I could even see it as a cocktail dress - one of those classic "little black dresses" considered a staple in every well dressed woman's wardrobe.
Because of the more casual styling, I wore my vintage wedge sandals with it. They are a little the worse for wear, with stains and stiff straps, but they are cute, light, and comfortable, and I love the little sombrero embellishment.
I think I may have found my go-to slender 1950s dress pattern!