We haven’t visited sewing in awhile, have we? Truthfully, I haven’t had much time for sewing lately! I have one or two things up my sleeves, and that’s been taking up a lot of time. I finished this top over two weeks ago and haven’t been able to touch my sewing machine since. I’ve barely had time to check my favorite blogs and I’m woefully behind on email. Ugh!
But enough about things I can’t talk about, how about something I can talk about? This accidental playsuit!
I sewed this polka dot dirndl skirt in June, from 1940s Simplicity 4496. A few weeks ago, I bought the Mrs. Depew 1950s-style beach top halter pattern from her Etsy shop. You already know I’m obsessed with halter styles this summer, and this was my first foray into sewing a halter top. I’m not a big PDF pattern gal, but this one is small, so the cutting and pasting is minimal!
And my opinion on the result? A big hell yes, thankyouverymuch.
Seriously, I love this top! Having never sewn anything like it, I went into this considering it to be a wearable muslin. I still had lots of this fabric left from the skirt, so I thought it would be cute for the top, too. I didn’t go into it thinking about it as a full matchy matchy outfit, but about halfway through I realized hey, this is a playsuit in the making!
(Wait wait, can I stop here for a second and also say how much I love my new Luxulite necklace? I used to wear necklaces all the time and then recently realized I’d almost completely stopped wearing them over the last couple of years, so I’m trying to make up for lost time. More novelty necklaces in my life, please!)
My fashion fabric was a lightweight cotton so I interfaced the bra trim (called for in the pattern) and bra cups (not called for in the pattern). To add a bit more stability, I used a mid-weight muslin as my lining. The top was pretty easy to put together, and I think a confident advanced beginner could even give it a shot! You essentially put the bra part together twice—once for the outside and bra trim, and once for the inside lining. Then you sandwich in the straps, sew the whole thing together with the right sides facing, turn it inside out and top-stitch.
The end result is a beautiful, easy and professional finish! Well beautiful and professional except if you do a crap job like me making corners in your top-stitching of the ends of the back pieces (and yes I could have picked it out and re-done it, but nope I didn’t). Hopefully I made up for it with lovely hand-worked buttonholes in vintage silk buttonhole twist. And two pretty vintage buttons.
I sewed the size Small, for 34″ bust and the fit was spot-on. Now, I was seriously concerned about the ability of this top to hold up my D-cup girls without sagging, and without me having to cinch the halter so tight it cut the circulation off to my head. But look ma, no sagging! I think if I use a mid-weight cotton next time instead of lightweight, I probably won’t need to interface the cups, but I’d only opt not to if I also used a mid-weight cotton for the inside. You definitely don’t want to go too lightweight with this unless you stabilize it.
(Sorry about a few wrinkles here and there on the beach top, especially the trim. I’ve already worn this a lot and forgot to press it after taking it out of the suitcase from a road trip. Whoops!)
Here’s a look at the back. Note that the strap rides pretty low. At first when I tried it on I freaked myself out thinking it was way too small, because I pinned it across the center of my back!
Now this bolero, how the heck does that fit into the picture?
Here’s the crazy thing: I sewed this bolero about 3 years ago from a 1950s pattern, when I was very first dabbling in sewing again. I knew absolutely squat, hacked away at the sides when it was too big, but was still pretty pleased with the final bolero. I sewed this up from a printed vintage feedsack… but never thought about what I could wear it with.
Which was literally nothing. NOTHING.
For years, this sat in my closet untouched and unloved. Even though it’s the most crushingly amazing print!
I even forgot about it for awhile, until I saw the lovely Lauren from Wearing History sew a playsuit in the exact same feedsack print a couple of years ago. What are the odds? But then I sadly forgot about it once again. Poor, sad, unloved bolero.
Until I was trying on my new accidental polka dot playsuit, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was talking to Mel and suddenly shouted something like “OMG I can’t believe what I just thought of!” and went flying out of the room, with Mel left wondering what made me lose my mind.
It was this. Oh. YES.
And together? Just exactly what I needed to turn this playsuit into something more modest when I need it.
Overall, I’m thrilled that I was able to put together this playsuit from three separate sewing projects.
I would highly recommend this pattern if you can’t tell. I’ve already hoarded fabric for three other versions, with either a matching skirt or shorts, and possibly a version with a longer bodice. I’m hooked!
And hey, if you like it too, check back soon for a little something fun coming your way!
LOVE it! <3
Aaah! I love the playsuit! I love the bolero! I love the necklace (am actually stalking the etsy for the necklace maker as we speak…SO CUTE)! That’s so funny about the other blogger doing a bolero in the EXACT same material…indeed, what are the odds! I think that cornflower blue in both pieces are perfectly suited to each other. Fabulous work, ma’am!
This is a fantastic accidental outfit! How fabulous that all these pieces came together and it worked. The bolero print is really cute.
I can’t tell you how much I love your whole outfit Tasha! The bra top is adorable and what a fabulous fit! I really liked your story of running out on Mel in the middle of a sentence because you’d just realised your bolero would match your playsuit, that’s my girl! I’ve also been wanting to make a halter top for ages and this is very, very inspiring, thank you! xx
Amy Plaza says
I think I’ll be buying this top now! LOL I love it!!
Sarah Jane says
Wow, it is AMAZING! I love your blog and all your posts but especially love your vintage outfit posts. (found your blog when trying to find a vintage=style modern bra – thanks for the suggestions! I have a bali flower bra now and I love it sooooo much).
This top is seriously cute and it looks so perfect with the skirt and bolero. I want to make an outfit just like this now! Of course, planned outfits never come out quite as good as accidental ones. You look fabulous!
Laura Nuttall says
Absolutely love it! Looking fab as always, such a cute outfit and so glad you finally found the love for that bolero – the PRINT! Gorgeous!
This is as coll as it gets! That top has the most perfect fit, and the whole outfit is a joy. Yes to more novelty necklaces!
I love this whole outfit! The mix of colors and prints is just perfect. Isn’t that pattern amazing?! I used it for my tiki dress bodice and it was pretty easy to re-size to fit and it gives support too. I really want to make one with pom pom trim like that one you posted a while back!
FABULOUS. And that bolero as a bonus! But, uh, don’t you think those bust darts are maybe just a tich too-ummmm, shall we say…POINTY?? (that’s why instructions on darts always say to end a bust dart an inch or so AWAY from the “bust point.) Of course, you may have MEANT it to look that way…pointy “missile nose cone” breasts are VERY “Fifties”! Score one for “Accidental Vintage”!
Great fit on the halter, though! And it doesn’t matter about the slightly wonky topstitching on the back because the BUTTONS hide it! Yeesh, when I see the crap (dangling threads, badly sewn seams, crappy finishing or no finishing) that is being fobbed off on us in the stores I would hardly worry about a tiny bit of wobbly topstitching in an obscure location that is hidden by the buttons!
Thanks! Yes, it’s meant to look that way. The pointiness is part of this 1950s style. 🙂
That top is the cutest thing I have ever seen and now I am dead.
Jenn Dixon says
I have GOT to learn to so. Great outfit!
Helen Mae says
This is such a cute outfit through and through. I never would have thought of mixing the polka dot print with the print of the bolero but it works really well.
BWAH! My jaw just hit the keyboard! That top is enviable and I’m so glad you made it with that fabric. It. is. perfect!
That bra top looks so incredibly flattering on you, I can’t even
Psycho Cat says
<3 This is amazing, the most beautiful top ever!!!
This is SO cute! I love this style of top, but frequently the cups don’t accommodate any more than a B cup. I’m normally a C/D, but I’m breastfeeding and am now in the F/G range. Did you have to adjust the cups at all, or did they fit pretty well as is? I’d love to make one of these, but the less adjusting required the better. You did a great job!
I didn’t adjust the pattern at all, actually! I was worried as I was putting it together that they were actually going to be a bit too big, but in the end they were just right. I think you could probably grade it up slightly quite easily!
Good to know. Thanks!
Jessica Cangiano says
My stars, do you look phenomenal! The playsuit, necklace, nail polish – it all works together in gloriously stylish harmony and is knock-out gorgeous. Love!!! 🙂
Ok, this outfit is the BOMB! And I was about to ask if you are wearing a bra underneath, because the gals look incredible! The fact that you’re not is amazing to me and has made me want to try the halter top pattern like crazy now!!!
I’m *not* wearing a bra underneath, can you believe it?!!
you’re very talented!!!
Sara Wood says
Holy frijoles, LOVE IT. What an awesome print on that feedsack! Geez the vintage gods were certainly on your side with that necklace. Pardon me while I have to take a seat and fan myself…
Ooh, it’s not a vintage necklace though! Luxulite makes awesome new necklaces that are ay-may-zing. 😀
So jealous of your perky D cups sitting in something with NO bra! My D cups start at my knees…..no halter necks for me! You look fab.
Thank you! But trust me, they are NOT that perky– it’s all about the top! LOL
The bra top is FABULOUS. I am of a similar chest size and I would never think to sew something like that. You have given me hope! The whole outfit together is amazing.
I know, I was wary but the shape is just genius! 😀
Rachel Proffitt says
It looks fantastic 🙂 I love that colour, and what fun the top is… plus YEAH now you can wear the bolero!
GORGEOUS!!! I love this. I want to make this lovely top too 🙂
Thanks Tina, I hope you do! 🙂
Seamstress Erin says
So friggin cute! Love the way the accidental playsuit looks. I desperately wish that San Francisco actually had a summer so I could wear such things! Fun outfit and beautifully executed – including your buttonholes. Fab!
Melissa B. says
Have you considered lining with Robert Kaufman Radiance fabric? I saw it used as lining recently – I think on Gertie’s blog.
Absolutely gorgeous. It makes me definitely consider buying the pattern despite my FF cups (and do somemodification probably).
Incendiary Blonde says
You look FABULOUS!!!! I love the whole ensemble, and as you know, I’m crazy for Luxulite (I like how big the pompoms are on the necklace)! FA-BU-LOUS darling!
Absolutely LOVE your outfit! It’s brilliant how it manages to be both modest and incredibly foxy all at the same time!
Kate B says
I love this outfit! I’ll take one in green please… 🙂
What a happy coincidence! And I am so blown away by your skill set! What a fab job you did!
I like the blue-&-white polka dot fabric you used.
So fun when an outfit comes together over time!
A few years ago, I bought a skirt at a thrift store down in Kansas where I lived at the time. A few weeks ago, I found the SAME EXACT skirt at a thrift store up here in Michigan where I now live! Now I get to make a matching top for the first skirt! 🙂
Emileigh Mimi says
SERIOUSLY. SO. ADORABLE!!!
You are so stinking adorable! This is the coolest play suit ever. I’ve been waiting to make a play suit for ages and you’ve inspired me to definitely give it a go.
So I’ve seen this pattern kicking around for AGES…but I’ve never wanted to buy it – but you’ve just changed my mind. This is GORGEOUS! What a great little outfit 😀
I have been swamped and behind on things too, but IM SO GLAD I MADE TIME TO READ THIS. Oh my god, what a great ensemble! Well done! The halter top really does look so well-made and structured. Ad the bolero goes so well! I love it when things come together like that.
This outfit is so great, you look incredible. The top fits perfectly, it gives you such a beautiful cleavage, if I dare say so.
My jaws really dropped when I saw your post yesterday evening, simply gorgeous!
And what a lovely coincidence, that the bolero matches the ensemble so well.
Oh, and because I wondered a few days ago: There is no search function on your blog, do I see that right? I wanted to search for that skirt you made in April because of the pointed belt loops (I finally found it because it was shown in one of the suggested “You might also like”-posts).
Thank you so much! And no I don’t have a search function currently but should soon. 🙂
Really cute! How serendipitous that everything goes together so nicely!
Perfection 🙂 That might be the cutest top I’ve ever seen! Great job, Tasha!
Holy crow I love this so much I just bought the pattern for the top, to be made in green gingham with matched skirt. Will be perfect for a labor day weekend bbq this weekend. I’m stoked that it works well with a bigger bust!!
Omg I love it! You are so amazing! Everything you create looks so effortless, Im dying of envy!!!!
After I found this post I immediately bought the pattern, Keeping in mind that the most advanced thing Ive done is sew a pillow case! …One question, how do you make the straps lay flatter against the bust? Ive seen others replicate it since finding your post but I only found one girl who sells her projects and gets those straps to lay flat against the cups. Any tips on how to make that happen? Oh man, now that Ive cut out all the pieces Im sitting here wishing you did youtube tutorial or pictorial on how to put it together!
Hopefully all is wonderfully vintage with you,
Thanks, Natalie! I’m not sure exactly what you mean about the straps laying flat since I’m not sure what you meant the other straps were doing on other examples. But what I can explain is that before I sewed them on, I pinned the straps in place to the top, then tied it around my neck to find the ideal place to sew them on. In the end I think I ended up putting them exactly where the pattern has you put them, but I wanted to be sure. In some places it laid better than others, and that may be what you’re referring to.
Quince the Old Geezer says
Don’t ask me how I got here but I figured while I was here I’d look around. Actually what caught my eye was the retro fashions. I’m about the right age to remember seeing the ladies of the day wear these fashions and personally, I prefer the look myself.
The reason I bother to post a comment is to applaud your efforts. You seem to know your way around a sewing machine and your choices of fabrics and colors really bring the clothes alive. It’s all good lady, keep at it. Tis a damned shame your taste in fashions isn’t as contagious as some of the recent viruses.
the whole set looks amazing!! I’m totally jealous.
I was just wondering about the top pattern. You said the pointy-ness of the top was intentional, I was just wondering if you made changes for that or if the pattern came like that. If it did how would you go about making a rounder form?
Thanks! I didn’t make any changes, just sewed it pretty much straight from the pattern. The dart created comes from a cutout of the fabric so you’re sewing together two sides basically with a ‘gap’ between them. You can try and kind of curve the dart as it gets towards the tip but that’s about it as far as I’ve been able to figure out so far.