Subversive Femme
1950s tiki dress shaheen sewing pattern

FO: Fish Trap Tiki Dress (Design by Clotilde 3170)

We’re having some crazy hot weather at the moment (37c/98F), so it’s definitely time to start sewing some summer dresses.

The pattern is a ‘Design by Clotilde’, No 3170. The original mailer was included with the date stamped 12 May 1960, don’t you love that? BTW – the pattern is now available as a download here.





















At last, another dress down from the To-Sew List

Now, you all probably know my feelings about sewing with patterns later than the mid-1950s, but that crossed neckline really spoke to me.





















The fabric is an aboriginal design called ‘Fish Traps’, another Babbarra Women’s Centre print from Spotlight. Thank goodness I got it for $7 a meter on sale, as this sucker took five meters! (The fabric was originally $20/m).

I think it looks really 1950s/tiki!

This one was a lot easier to pattern match than the mock-Shaheen dress I made a few months ago. Check out the pattern matching – it’s definitely getting easier to match those seams!






















  • Enlarged pattern from a size 36 bust, to a 40 bust (just added an inch to each side)
  • Added an extra dart above the bust to make the top fit really tight across my boobs.
  • Side boning
  • Changed skirt to box pleat as the original would be impossible to pattern match
  • Completely lined the bodice
  • Self fabric belt, using a belt kit

Probably one of the most important mods I made was shaping the under bust dart, so the bodice hugged my rib cage and gave me that slightly pointy 1950s look. The shaping looked like below, in red (original dart in black).

Now, I ALWAYS wear a bra. Always.
But with the extra bodice lining, side boning and shaped dart I am bra-less in all these photos.
I did of course sew little bra-strap clips into the bodice of the dress to attach a strapless bra, the same as my mock-Shaheen.
While I’m excited about the possibility of being able to go bra-less, I do not trust this dress to continue it’s support while I’m rockabilly dancing!
And that’s it!
I hope all your sewing projects have been successful too!
This pattern can also be downloaded as a print-at-home pattern right here in my Etsy store if you’d like to make it as well!
miss l fire review 1950s tiki shaheen dress vintage plus size hawaiian repro tijuana


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  • Reply
    November 3, 2014 at 3:00 am

    Yay, thank you especially for the bra discussion. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jessica Cangiano
    November 3, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Fabulously cool frock! That eye-catching pattern feels equal parts vintage and cutting edge modern at the same time.

    ♥ Jessica

  • Reply
    November 3, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    What a great dress! That neckline is just lovely ^___^

  • Reply
    November 3, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Great dress! Looks wonderful on you!

  • Reply
    Mariela Santillan
    November 3, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    You did a fantastic job and that fabric is amazing.

  • Reply
    November 3, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Beautiful dress. Pattern and fabric goes together beautifully and it looks great on you.
    Happy Sewing

  • Reply
    November 3, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    What an interesting neckline (and fabric)! I love seeing vintage designs that are slightly different than the typical period designs, yet still very period looking. By the way, I forgot to thank you for that info about the Ravelry guidelines!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    You look gorgeous in this new creation!!!
    Funny to see that a heat wave is reaching you… that's the contrary here…
    You are so a talented seamstress, I'm quite jalous!

  • Reply
    Cottage Dreaming and Flea Market Wishes
    November 4, 2014 at 2:26 am

    beautiful! love it!!!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2014 at 5:24 am

    What a fabulous dress – I love it and the fit is perfection!

  • Reply
    Miss Beta
    November 6, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    This dress and fabric is just fantastic. You look gorgeous on it! 🙂

    Beta x

  • Reply
    November 8, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    you look stunning in this dress! …. yu paired it perfectly with the wedges sandals and the bamboo purse!!!!

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