How to Make 1950s Playsuit

 Inspiration for 1950s Playsuit

Inspiration: This is the playsuit we wanted to make for our 1950’s playsuit, 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 romper were favorite parts of this look too. The idea that you could go  the beach, then put the skirt on and go to dinner was so cool back in the day, and still is.

1950sPlaysuit vintage

Back in the day (1940s & 1950s)  playsuits were all the rage, so we decided to make two for our “Retro Summer Party”.   We made the white one with black polkadots first, then made the red one with white polkadots second, and filmed the process for our diy.

Romper-Taking off skirtSince we couldn’t find the pattern for this playsuit, we made our own pattern by combining commercial patterns.  Some intermediate sewing skills would be very helpful here since we will be  installing a zipper, lining, facing, straps, darts and making our own pattern. SkirtRemoval

Making the Romper

Romper-You'll need

Making the pattern: First we traced a figure from a commercial pattern and sketched out what we had in mind.

Playsuit sketchWe  made a muslin pattern by combining two commercial patterns. We used the neckline from the dress on the right and the shorts from the pattern on the left. img_2867.jpg There are 6 pieces to this pattern. 2 fronts, 2 backs, and 2 straps. IMG_2859 Measure waist length, and bust, waist, and hips to compare body measurements with the pattern. We added a 5/8th seam allowance to all the pieces.

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. This will make it so much easier when putting together.

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 too long for some, but you can always shorten if needed.

Sew Seams- For front, with right sides together, pin and sew front seam together from neckline to crotch (left photo).  For back seam, right sides together 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. Leave the top neckline open at the top 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

Facing- 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 a finished look. Romper-Interfacing4

Putting it all together- With right sides together,  line up front, side and back seams. Pin and sew 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 front and back of crotch together.
Romper-sew crotch togetherRomper-sew crotch

Clip curved areas of crotch and press open.

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. We decided to put the darts in last, but you may choose to put them in  early on, such as before installing lining.

Hem to desired length.

Making the Skirt

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 depending on your size of course.

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:

Front ties- Cut 2 ties out using a 1/8 inch seam allowance.  Sew around 3 sides, leaving one short side open.  Clip corners or any excess fabric and turn right side out.  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 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

Hem to desired lengthHem 2





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