50s Style Halterneck Dress

I’m amazed that I haven’t gotten around to blogging about this halterneck dress already; I finished it on 1st November! But that’s ok, I’ve given myself this morning to write this while I watch Gilmore Girls (again) and drink lots of tea. The things I suffer through for my blog, haha.

I said waaaay back at some point during the year that I had a fancy awards night to go to, so I was going to use it as an opportunity to practise the bodice for my wedding dress. I’m someone who needs a deadline to get anything done…




I didn’t want to make a dress exactly the same as my wedding dress, for obvious reasons, so when I found this dress on Pinterest, I wanted to make something similar:


50s-Style Halterneck Dress
Image via Pinterest


Pretty amazing, huh? I love dresses like this. Plus the sweetheart bodice is exactly the shape I wanted to make.


I had to go and buy some fabric to make this, so a trip to Barry’s was in order. I was going to go with my usual navy blue but actually really liked the purple, so purple it was.


Making The Skirt


The bodice I’m intending on using for my wedding dress is Simplicity 4070 but I’m hacking it a bit to create a corset. Of course, I’ve never made anything even resembling a corset before which is why I needed a practise run. Even after the post I wrote confessing that I’ve been majorly procrastinating, I’ve still been procrastinating as if my life depends on it. Having an actual real life event to go to did give me a firm deadline for this which I bloody needed, or I’d still be avoiding it. Don’t get me wrong, I am excited for our wedding, but I’m still terrified I’m going to totally fudge up making my dress….


Anyway, the bodice. I pretty much used the pattern as is, but made the back panels smaller. My thinking was that I didn’t want them to meet in the middle so that the modesty panel would show. I made the back panels wedge-shaped because I thought that would look best.


I lined it with some plain white cotton because it’s all I had to hand. Not perfect but it did the job. I sewed the plastic boning straight onto the lining, but I know for next time that I really should have created channels for it to go into.


50s-Style Halterneck Dress


As I was going for some contrast with the black waistband and halterneck, I bought some black eyelets too. I was so scared I was going to mess everything up at this point that I chickened out and got Andy to put them in. Can’t do that with my wedding dress though can I? Shame really, he did a good job!


50s-Style Halterneck Dress


I Have No Idea What I’m Doing…


Now I don’t know the first thing about making corsets, short of the research I did reading some blogs. So, of course, it bodice didn’t turn out quite as I hoped. It was far too big, meaning I didn’t need a modesty panel because the edges of the back bodice did meet in the middle after all. Sigh. Weirdly, the muslin I’d made ages ago was the right fit, and I can’t for the life of me work out what I did wrong. I guess I need to make those back panel smaller again.


50s-Style Halterneck Dress


Making The Skirt


For the skirt, I used Butterick B6285; I bought this pattern so long ago that I’d forgotten I even had it. (What can I say? I am a recovering pattern and fabric shopaholic). I can’t believe I haven’t made this pattern before because I love the skirt. It’s the skirt of my dreams… a pleated circle skirt!


I realised far too late that I needed an underskirt to make the dress puff out successfully. Fail. (Side note, why do I not already own an underskirt for successful dress-puffing-out-ness?). It meant that the dress didn’t quite hang as I wanted it to, but as I literally finished it ten minutes* before we were leaving the house, I really didn’t care!

*Hey, that wasn’t my fault. It took four bloody hours to get my hair done. Four hours!!


The Verdict?


50s-Style Halterneck Dress


All in all, this dress was great in that it was the practise I needed in creating the bodice I need for the wedding. However, the fit was totally wrong. Although I don’t have a full length photo, you can see in the shots of Andy and I that there’s too much fabric around the bust. Back to the drawing board with the sizing.


50s-Style Halterneck Dress


The belt should have been exactly that, a belt. I shouldn’t have sewn it as a contrast waistband. If it had been a belt I could have used it to cinch the dress in, creating the shape I wanted. You live and learn. The halterneck wasn’t quite right either, but that was more to do with that being the last part I finished in a rush.


Even though I wasn’t 100% happy with the outcome, I will wear this dress again. I’ll make a belt I can tie around it and alter the halterneck part. Add a puffy underskirt and boom! Who knows when I actually will wear it again though, I don’t exactly do a lot of going out.


Right, back to Gilmore Girls for me… watch this space for the ABBA-inspired nativity outfit I had to make yesterday (yes, really).



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