At the beginning of February, one of the vintage sellers I follow posted a garment badly in need of a rescue. Now, I’m not usually one to want to alter vintage clothing – if it survived this long, I shouldn’t be the person to change it! But I do make an exception for things that just aren’t wearable in their current state.

"Love Letters" vintage dress

The seller in question was One Sweet Thread and the piece was a sweet 50s housecoat that had seen better days. One sleeve had lost its elastic, the magenta piping was badly frayed, and several buttons were missing. The fabric had definitely been through a lot, but it seemed like there was still some life in it, so I carefully took it apart on the seams, gave it a good soak and a press, and started digging through my patterns.

"Love Letters" vintage dress

I ended up opting (with the help of a little vote on Instagram) for Butterick 7238, which I’ve made before with somewhat different fabric selections and results. I cut the length for the skirt from the main body of the housecoat, the sleeves from the original sleeves, and then found that I needed to piece both the front and back bodice to get everything to fit. In the end, though, the print is busy enough that you can hardly notice my few pieced-in corners!

"Love Letters" vintage dress

I wanted to use one of the original buttons for the decorative touch on the neckline, but they just didn’t seem large enough, so I went with a vintage button from my stash instead.

As with the last time, my main complaint about this pattern is that the yoke construction is fiddly and the finished thing barely has a large enough opening to get over one’s head! It’s definitely a do your hair and makeup after you get dressed kind of garment.

"Love Letters" vintage dress

"Love Letters" vintage dress

"Love Letters" vintage dress

"Love Letters" vintage dress

"Love Letters" vintage dress

  • Novelty print dress: Butterick 7238, made from salvaged vintage cotton fabric and solid modern quilting cotton.
  • Pink felt 1950s hat: Modern Millie I think
  • Pink confetti lucite earrings: Thrifted
  • Peachy and rose-gold belt: Target
  • Opaque white-girl colored tights: Capezio
  • Knee-high lace-up boots: Red Wing Heritage “Gloria”