239 Blonde Bombshell

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Misses 6-16.

Celebrate your femininity in this full-skirted, dramatic style from the 1950s. Make it in colorful cotton for a summer sundress or shimmering brocade for an evening party any time of the year. Pattern includes instructions for knitted bolero sweater to wear on top.

Suggested fabrics: Light to medium-weight fabrics such as cotton, silk, or blends.

Yardage chart (.pdf)

Sewing Tip

Bodice fitting tips:

Note from a Folkwear dealer: Stitch in a strip of clear elastic along the bodice side seam at the bust to keep the bodice from gapping open at the sides.

Rebecca, from Winter Springs, Florida, found a different solution to gapping at the sides. She cut smaller size bust pieces, adjusted the gathers, and extended the halter straps to criss-cross in the back and get stitched in at the waist. She says this gives her more confidence when wearing and the dress fits perfectly.

Anita of Santa Clara, California, used a different solution: she "darted out" the side gap. She made a muslin sample of the band and top, and tried it on to see how much "gap" needed to be taken in at the side of the cup. Then she says: "On the top (cup) pattern piece, mark the center of the new dart at the point on the side of your size's top where it stops being a straight line and starts to curve in to the halter tie. Draw a line from that mark to the bottom notch. That is the center line of your dart. Then measure and mark one half of your "gap" amount above the line and below the line at the top of the dart (not at the bottom notch end). For example, if you are taking out 1", measure 1/2" above and below the line at the edge of the pattern piece. Draw a line from each mark to the dart point at the bottom notch end. Fold the pattern piece along the new dart center line and pin the dart along the two angled lines you drew, which now overlap. Use this new pinned pattern piece to cut the piece from fabric, smoothing the outside curve along the edge if needed. As always, it's a good idea to pre-test the altered pattern in muslin before cutting out of fabric.

Knit bolero tip:

Alison, from Australia, did some experimenting with different yarns and needle sizes to achieve the correct gauge for the #239 knitted Bolero, since the specified yarn is no longer made and some UK needle sizes have changed. She says, "I can confirm that using 5.5mm needles (current U.S. size 9) for the body of the bolero and size 4.5mm needles (current U.S. size 7) for the sleeve cuffs gave the right gauge and right-sized garment." She used a size 4.5mm hook for the single crochet edging.