Behind the Seams: “Separates are more fun” outfit

Being overloaded with dresses in my wardrobe, I really enjoyed mixing and matching separates with this week’s Unfinished Object (UFO) challenge. I have no other UFOs in my sewing room with the exception of this outfit which was originally meant to be a dress. You can read more on why this became my only UFO in my TSW post this week.

The Pattern

I scored this 1950s resort wear sewing pattern on ebay. It was selling at a low price as the jacket piece (which i didn’t need) was missing. I have been wanting to sew one of these shorts with overskirt combo for quite sometime now and was super-duper thrilled when I won the bid.

It is my first Advance sewing pattern. It is one of those unprinted patterns, the instructions and diagrams are clear and detailed but I found the pattern sizing to run slightly bigger than other pattern companies’. I had to make adjustments to all three pieces for a better fit. The halter top was meant to be tucked in so that could be a reason for its original ‘shapelessness’ despite having bust and waist darts, it was just not fitting at the waist. To make it more wearable and versatile, I had to take it in quite a bit at the sides for both the halter piece and the facing piece to make it work as a top that could be worn untucked. I also shortened the skirt and the pair of shorts to lengths I was more comfortable wearing.

This is not a difficult pattern to sew but it can be quite time-consuming as there are 10 buttons, 10 buttonholes and 10 darts in total.

The Gallery

My mixing and matching of the separates begin with the pattern envelope look of a tucked in halter top, shorts with an overskirt. Perfect for a ride on the bike I think 🙂

The floral fabric is vintage from the same estate sale as my easter dress at US$10 for 5 yards. What a bargain! Wished there were more of such great deals on etsy where I found this. The color wasn’t this vibrant before the wash so I was pleasantly surprised by the fresh array of colors that greeted me.

Tucked out halter top with skirt in the photos below. I’m really liking the new fit of the top and the time spent on fixing the fit was well worth it. I can imagine wearing the top just with jeans too!

The blue ‘piping’ looking edge on the entire back of the halter is actually done by cutting the facing piece slightly bigger, ironing it out and topstitching. Love the contrast it creates! 


The halter top with high-waisted shorts. I adore the pockets and clean look of this pair of shorts.

And with the untucked halter top.

Do you have a favorite out of the various combinations?

Aligning the darts

While sewing the pair of shorts, I encountered irregular double pointed darts from an unprinted pattern. I have seen countless tutorials out there on how to sew darts but didn’t see many on how to align them. For printed patterns, it’s easy as you can transfer all stitching and fold lines onto the fabrics but with unprinted patterns, all you have are a few dots as reference. I think darts are extremely important. How well they are aligned will affect the fit and sizing of the garment. The single pointed triangular darts are pretty straight forward and easy to align but I found pins the absolute necessity for times like these.

Here’s my documentation of how I aligned these darts from an unprinted pattern. Hope you find it useful.

Step 1: Transfer the dots on the pattern to the fabric

Step 2: Using a pin, pin a dot through to its corresponding dot. Repeat for all dots and corresponding dots.

Step 3: I pin them onto my ironing board such that they are all perpendicular to the board.

Step 4: If pins are not perpendicular to the board, adjust them. Once they are all in place, double check that they are pin across at the dots. Use the iron and press on the fold line.

Step 5: With the fold identified, join the dots with lines. These will be your stitching lines.

We have completed the alignment process. The dart is ready to be stitched and after stitching, iron in the direction specified by the pattern.

Happy sewing everyone! TGIF!

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21 thoughts on “Behind the Seams: “Separates are more fun” outfit

  1. very lovely! i like the whole worn together ensemble. I’m hoping to try to make a pair of shorts again. my first time resulted in a rather loose crotch n back n i haven’t find the courage to make one for a right fit again.

    the fabric looks good on you too. what a lucky score! 🙂

  2. Wow, what a lovely outfit! I’m totally in love with the fabric, especially with your technique of the visible facing edge and those lovely buttons! I think I like the first version of the outfit best, but I also adore the high waisted shorts with tucked in top. 🙂

  3. Oh my goodness – I LOVE this outfit! I think my favourite combo is the first – I love the flirty pop of blue from the shorts peaking out through the skirt! But it’s fab to have three such versatile pieces. The shorts are really lovely too – I think I like the tucked in version of the top the best.

    You are tempting me to go and find a similar style pattern!

  4. I love everything about this ensemble, it is so smart and such a good extension to your wardrobe!

    Thank you for the insight on darts! This is such useful information!

  5. @Fiona: Thank you so much! Don’t be discouraged by the first attempt with the shorts. I find pants and shorts to be the most tricky cos you can’t get a good idea of the fit until its done. Might be good to do a muslin to get the right fit and adjust from there. Once it’s right, you can create many pairs of shorts from it.

    @Jali: Thank you dear!

    @Alexandra: Thank you 🙂

    @Karin: Yay to shorts, thank you:)

  6. @ Alessa: Thank you, glad you like it. I adore your mixing of stripes with polka dots for your MMJ outfit!

    @Suzie: Thank you Suzie! Those are my fave combos too:) This pattern style is just so cute, go get it, I think the style will look fab on you:)

    @Cathe: Thank you, am so glad you found the info on darts useful:)

  7. Very, very nice! I have always liked this look. Shorts are on my sewing to do list…

    Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  8. This outfit is adorable! I love the colors you choose and the cute red shoes you’ve choosen to wear with it. You look like candy (in a good way). 🙂

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