Vintage Vogue 5557 – Red Sheath Dress

Meet my latest vintage creation, the Vintage Vogue 5557 sheath dress.

I think this can be described as a sheath dress, VintagePatternsWiki describes it as a one piece dress but given the simple lines it is certainly close to a sheath.


I bought this pattern a little while ago as one of many from a local seller who was selling off his mother’s patterns from when she was a seamstress. One of the reasons I was most excited about getting these patterns was that they were all used, showing they were a real part of fashion of the era. This particular pattern is dated to June/July 1963.

Click image for source
When I removed the pattern from the envelope, I could see there were pins in it already from the last time it was used. On measuring the pieces, it was like it was altered for me!  Check out the old pins:
The pieces were all shortened (perfectly) and had been narrowed across the back.  For me these are two of my standard alterations.  The only thing left me to alter was to “grade” it up to my size.  When I say grade, I mean just add a bit to the side seams, after all it didn’t need much altering as most of it had already been done!
The dress has a fake pleat/wrap with fake button closure.  It has bound buttonholes, which are completely wasted as they are covered from view with the buttons that are sewed over the top of them. The buttonholes are real on the very top layer, but underneath there isn’t a hole at all! The dress is actually closed with a side zip.
Other than the fact I love this dress, I also made the whole dress from my stash – so really it was free right??
What did I change?
– Not much actually
– The dress is supposed to have facings, but I am not a fan of how they seldom stay where they should so I fully lined the bodice with a remnant of cotton from a previous project.
– the grading previously mentioned
– I swapped the normal zipper for an invisible zipper
– I cut the belt in two pieces as I didn’t have enough fabric, I also didn’t cut it on the bias
The dress went together pretty well and not much fiddling with the fit was required.  The only big difference with the fit was that the pattern envelope indicates it is more blousey at the bodice, I prefer a little more fitted which is good as that is how it ended up!!
I love vintage instructions, the diagrams are brilliant.
Ok, now for the weird bit.  According to the instructions, the belt doubles as a scarf:
Now I don’t know about you, but there is no way my waist is close to my neck size.  I tried it to see how it would look, but am really not a fan.
Hmmm…where is my neck? Not a good look, and where is my waist?  Not loving it.
Still trying.
Nope I give up, I’m keeping the belt.
I have already worn this to a couple of functions, so another wardrobe winner, and great for the festive season.

36 thoughts on “Vintage Vogue 5557 – Red Sheath Dress

  1. I love, love,love this dress. It is my favorite color and the pattern is fantastic. I want that pattern.. GORGEOUS!!! It looks great on you, isn't it amazing that the pattern was just meant for you.. Just think of the lady, who fixed it.. Love it.

  2. It's gorgeous!! And it seems that the pattern was just waiting for you to find it. I agree that the belt works better as a belt, it all just looks too bulky as a scarf.

  3. Wow this is such a pretty dress a definite wardrobe winner!! You look really pretty and perfect for over the xmas break (love your hair!)! I like the version as a belt but still very surprising you can do the collar as well hehe. Looks really well made too I love the buttons and the lining!!

  4. I like the belt option better too, it defines your waist very nicely. I love a faux button hold pleaty thing, sometimes buttons running down that much length can be problematic, popping open or showing a peak 😉 I have the Colette Beignet skirt pattern that has buttons down the front and when I make it up I will make them fake and put in a zipper.

  5. Oh it's gorgeous!!! I love that bright fire engine red on you too – looks fabulous. I'm always for a bit of waist definition, so I reckon the belt is the definite winner. As is this pattern matched with you! 🙂

  6. What a beautiful dress. I was just reading about it on Judy's blog! It looks stunning on you. I love the crisp look of the fabric, very elegant and timeless!

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