How to Make 1950s Playsuit (romper & Skirt)

Back in the day (1940s & 1950s), playsuits were all the rage, so we  decided to make them for our "Retro Summer Party".                   Here's how we did it!
Romper-Taking off skirtIntermediate sewing skills would be ideal.  We're making a pattern   by combining commercial patterns and installing a zipper, lining,    facing, straps, and darts.

You’ll need
Romper-You'll need

Inspiration: This is the playsuit we wanted to make, but could not   find the pattern. We like the seam in the middle, zipper in the back,and halter top. Of course the skirt and shorts were favorite parts   of this look too. The idea that you could go out and play ball on thebeach and splash around, then put the skirt on and go to dinner was so cool back in the day, and still is.  
1950sPlaysuit vintage
Making the pattern:  First we traced a figure from a commercial pattern and sketched out what we had in mind.
Playsuit sketchWe custom made a muslin pattern by combining two commercial patterns.We used the neckline from the dress on the right and the shorts  fromthe pattern on the left. 
There are 6 pieces to this pattern. 2 fronts, 2 backs, and 2 straps.

Measure waist length, and bust, waist, and hips to compare body     measurements with the pattern. We used added a 5/8th seam allowance.

Layout fabric, right sides together and pin pattern to fabric. 
Romper-Pin Pattern to FabricLabel each piece in the seam. Front seam, back seam, right side seam,left side seam, zipper, neckline, straps.

Romper-Cut 2 of eacj piece

Cut out - Once satisfied with measurements and markings, cut  out 2 of each piece (front, back,facing & straps).

For the straps that go around the neck, we cut out 2 pieces,  each 6 inches wide by 16 inches long. This may be long, but   you can always shorten if needed.

Sew Seams-
For front, with right sides together, pin and sew front seam togetherfrom neckline to crotch (left photo). For back seam, right sides to- gether pin and sew back seam together from top to crotch using a basting stitch. This is where the zipper will go. We will remove basting stitches after the zipper is installed and re-enforce the seam below zipper.

Lining- Cut out lining exactly the same as the front top of the     romper. Pin right side of lining against right side of fabric, and   sew along neckline and armholes using 1/4 inch seam  allowance. Leavethe top of the neckline open at the top. This is where we will insert the straps later.

Romper-leave strap open at top
Now, turn right side out, press, and top stitch around the neck and  armholes, leaving the top strap open for strap ties. We'll do that   last.
Romper-Top stitch neckline

Zipper installation check out our super easy,no pins zipper install.

Romper-Zipper done

This is what the finished facing will look like.
Romper-Interfacing done
With right sides together, pin and sew facing to romper..
Romper-attach interfacing 3
Fold facing back and press
Romper-Interfacing 3
Top stitch to keep facing in place and give finished look.


Putting it all together-
With right sides together line up front, side and back seams. Pin andsew front side seams to back side seams including  lining.
Romper-Pin & sew side seams
Sew right and left side seams together.Romper-Sew romper seams 3

Crotch-Pin & Sew crotch
Romper-sew crotch togetherClip curved areas and press open.Romper-sew crotch

Romper-Clip curved crotch area

Attach neck straps-With right sides together, sew 3 sides, leaving one short side open. Turn right side out and press.
 Tuck strap into romper strap opening. Pin, press and top stitch. 

Romper-strap done

Try on inside out. Pin darts where necessary, mark, pin, sew & press darts.  Make any final adjustments.

Hem to desired length.

What’s needed:

We used 2 yards fabric, co-ordinating thread, ruler, scissors, measuring tape, pins, fabric marker, measure gauge.


Cut out two pieces of fabric for the skirt ties. Each 24 inches long by 6 inches wide.

Gathering: Sew two basting stitches 1/2 inch from the top and 1/2 inch apart, leaving a long tail on each end for pulling.  Pull threads from each end to gather to the desired waist size.


Back seam:  With right sides together, line up right and left side of skirt to create back seam. Sew together using 5/8th inch seam allowance.

Waistband Ties:

Cut 2 ties out. Using a 1/8 inch seam allowance, sew around 3 sides, leaving one short side open.  Turn right sides out and press. The open end will be tucked into the front of the waistband.

Front Hem & Waistband:

Front of skirt, turn in 1/2 inch, press and turn another 1/2 inch, press, and sew.

Waistband: With right side of waistband facing wrong side of skirt, pin & sew to skirt.Playsuit Front Hem

Press open as shown here. Press the excess waistband end of the waistband inward for a finished look.

attach tie to waistband-no title

Place the open end of the tie onto the waistband as shown here.

attach tie to waistband 2Close waistband, pinning tie in place.attach tie to waistband 3

Top stitch waistband, being sure to catch all the layers (skirt & waistband). Sew across the tie a couple times for extra strength.

waistband top stitch

Front ties: Cut out 2 front ties. Sew 3 sides using 1/2 inch seam allowance. Leave one side open. Clip corners or any excess fabric and turn right side out.

Hem to desired lengthHem 2





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