Vintage 80’s McCall’s 2481 Stripe Dress

I’m super excited to share this new make today, circa 1986! When I was a kid back in the 80’s I had a favorite striped dress with a cool tie back. That dress (image below) was a gray and white stripe cotton with a bodice that had a tie angled back that attached with buttons at the waist and had nice big pockets. I wanted to recreate that look with a vintage pattern and lucked out finding McCall’s 2481 on Etsy in my size. I heavily modified it and my colors are different but it gives me that same vibe the original always did!

I stuck with the same basic silhouette, a horizontal striped bodice with a vertical striped skirt. I decided to skip the waist buttons- they were decorative and went with a button back instead of the tie. That tie was the only uncomfortable part of the original. Whenever you sat the knot would be in the way. The outer pockets were skipped too, mainly because my fabric is shirting weight and I wanted a more structurally sound pocket. The search for a gray and white wide stripe was unsuccessful but this aqua stripe from Marcy Tilton is just gorgeous!

I used the bodice, view B from the McCall’s pattern and drafted my own gathered skirt. The extended shoulder sleeves are really cool with the stripe. My original make had the higher neckline, but after wearing it out I found it a bit restricting and not very flattering. So I cut out the square neckline I liked and pieced together remnants to make a new facing. I love this dress now!


Here’s my inspiration image- I’m on the left back in the 80’s with my great grandma Nanny (one of the coolest ladies ever!) and my cousin Alexes. I’m holding my hands strangely because I was showing off a huge ring I got that day.

All the Details:

McCall’s 2481 from Grover Street Girl Sews on Etsy

©1986;  Misses’ Jumpsuit:  Sleeveless jumpsuits have extended shoulders, front boat neckline, elastic in waistline seam casing, pockets in side seams and tapered legs.  View A has lapped back.  View B has buttoned back.  View C has tied back.  All views:  Machine-stitched hems and top-stitch trim.  Purchased belt.


Exquisite cotton yarn dyed stripe from a Japanese mill, exclusive to Cheerful turquoise, cream & black plus a hint of mustard striped woven. Japanese summers are hot, and the textiles from Japan use centuries of expertise blended with contemporary design. Light shirting weight with a soft smooth hand and light airy drape. Really lovely and right for a shirt, tunic, skirt, dress, soft pants, a men’s shirt or children’s wear.

Bolinas and Stinson Stripe Japanese Wovens are sibling fabrics and play well together.Pre-treat by hand laundering or machine wash gentle and air dry. After sewing air dry.

Japan100% cotton45″

Vintage Buttons from Buttoned Up Designs on Etsy

1 1/8″ natural mother of pearl , lot of 3


Original make: Higher Neckline and wider spaced back with metal button


Here you can see the interior of the dress. Most of it is simply finished with serged seams. The neckline and back panels have facings. When I redid the neckline I needed to make the facings out of the little bit of fabric I had leftover so it’s pieced together. I mitered the corners of the neckline facing and then turned the edges under. The Hem is 3″ and folded up and then the serged edges were pressed and turned under.

The skirt is a 4 panel rectangle with set in pockets attached at the waistband in an elasticized encased seam. I very carefully lined up my stripes so everything matches and I could save a bit of fabric. I only had 2.5 yds and as the fabric is only 45″ that was a tight fit for a dress.

I’m trying to be a be a bit more organized so I have a few posts ready to go for the next few weeks. I did some indigo henna dyeing two weeks ago that really turned out well and right now I’m working on samples for a talk I’m giving on lace insertion for our ASG zoom meeting next month. I’ve been spending most of my time lately pattern drafting, working on some new knit and bra/swim slopers. Back soon- Happy Sewing!

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