noelle o designs

creativity + sewing + upcycling inspiration

design, fabric, sewing, vintage

McCalls 4597 Vintage Dress

McCalls 4597 vintage dress pattern

The first fitting of the McCalls 4597 vintage dress pattern… following the bust, waist, hips measurements instead of the sizing on the pattern turned out to be a good way to go. Size 16 in 1958 is about an 8 today.

I took in about an inch on either side seam at the hips just because this gal is fairly narrow in the hips, but she’s got some junk in the trunk (just like her mother), so this pattern, in particular, really flatters her figure.

making McCalls 4597 vintage dress pattern
Linda, the dress form, modeling the dress. She’s a size 6 so the dress drapes on her but oh do I love sticking pins in Linda to get seams and things just right.

Lining the dress

Going the extra mile here… the dress didn’t call for a lining but I added it anyway. It just makes everything fit and feel better and more professional. Plus, this pattern was so easy, it was no sweat making a lining. A lining is assembled separately, as though it were a second dress. Placed inside the dress, wrong side to wrong side, it is attached along the edges, I hand-stitched the lining in, around the zipper and neck facing. A lining provides a dress with a perfectly smooth inside finish and hides all the seams, and I like that.


I blind-stitched the hem of the dress for a fully finished, no seam look. The lining is cut about an inch shorter at the hem (at least) so it’s right there but never visible. At a slit, turn lining edges under and hem to the edges of opening. The best policy is to finish the bottom edge of the lining and dress separately, so the fabrics can hang naturally and not pull or pucker in any way.

The big event (Preference dance) is on Saturday. Stay tuned for a full photoshoot- the theme of the dance is ‘Footloose’ so prepare yourself for a themed dinner, table setting, gorgeous flowers, cute young couples and maybe even 12 inches of snow…

Now for hairdo… a few possibilities we’ve been collecting on Pinterest, Q’s been working on a fantastic vintage board too. See a favorite or have a better idea? Pass it on!
(Yikes- I need to get brushing up on my curl crafting techniques!)

1950's hairdos

I’ll get to table setting and dinner ideas tomorrow!

The making of the dress.

Prepping for the party.

Behind the scenes, a How-To.

The party takes place.


  1. Patty Howe

    November 8, 2012 at 11:19 am

    OOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooWith this dress she needs the old-fashioned French Twist.!

    1. NoelleOlpin

      November 8, 2012 at 11:24 am

      Ohh, perhaps you’re right! I’ll run it by the boss.

  2. Patch

    November 8, 2012 at 11:25 am

    It’s looking gorgeous, you are much better at dressmaking than me! Perhaps it’s a good job I have boys…. I could whip up a dress but I definitely couldn’t manage the hair curling!!

    1. NoelleOlpin

      November 8, 2012 at 11:30 am

      I’m way more nervous about getting the hair right than actually making the dress!
      It’s all in the hair product, right? Lots of hairspray!

  3. kalamitykelli

    November 8, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    I agree with Nancy Howe above – a French Twist would be lovely! The dress is gorgeous and the lining is great! Young women (not YOUR daughter of course) no longer wear a slip and honestly it is not an attractive sight mostly because the dress does not hang or lay well or whatever you call it – drapes, right? Anyway, it’s so beautiful and I”m really excited to see the event pictures!

    1. NoelleOlpin

      November 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      Oh thanks!
      I want to try the flowing big luscious curls but she wants an updo so the French Twist just might be the answer.
      I hope we can pull it off or her date might feel like he’s out with his grandma!

      1. kalamitykelli

        November 8, 2012 at 2:10 pm

        No, she looked very elegant and she probably peeled off her sweats or something to try it on! It will be great!

  4. Hailey Meyer Liechty

    November 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    That zipper looks like it’s getting kinda fresh with Linda!
    LOVE this dress, the girl and the hair!

    1. NoelleOlpin

      November 8, 2012 at 1:18 pm

      That’s the back of Linda, silly! What kind of mother do you think I am!?

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