Sunday, March 9, 2014

The One Hour 1920's Dress


The popular One Hour Dress, a pattern available all over the internet, but easy to draft at home in no time at all! When I starting making two new 20's dresses this past week I based the pattern on the most basic of the one-hour dress models. At the patterns most basic level, I have found you will really only need three measurements.


1. Across the bust (this will be measurement a. in the graphic below)
2. From the top of the shoulder to the desired drop waist/hip line (b. in the graphic below)
3. From that drop waist/hip line to the desired hem length (c. in the graphic below)

In the graphic above, the front and back pieces are exactly the same. The sleeve is created by dividing measurement b. by two, you can have the top edge as wide as you would like, the wider it is the longer your sleeve. I like to start by hemming the top edges first and then sewing the seams at the shoulders from the edge of the sleeve towards the neck. Leave enough space for the boat neck style neck opening to fit over your head. Then, right sides together, sew the side seams together. Gather or pleat (where the wiggly red lines are above) the skirt extensions and sew down to waist flat. Hopefully that made some sense! The above pattern results in the most basic of 20's dresses with a high neck. I think it looks really nice in a sheer flowy fabric worn over a simple slip.

For a simple variation, just change the shape of the skirt. When modifying the skirt I think it is easier to separate the bodice and the skirt into two pieces that will be re-attached at the waist, but I suppose if you had wide enough fabric you could make it in one piece. Once you change to a larger skirt shape, like those in various colors above, you no longer gather the skirt to the waist but simply sew along the extension to close the full side seam. By changing the skirt shape, the hem becomes like a handkerchief hem and can be really beautiful in a sheer fabric!  

I like the high boat-neck neckline with long 1920's style beaded necklaces but you can change the neckline to whatever you like and finish it by adding a facing on the inside. You can remove the sleeve extensions entirely and either add arm hole facings or bind with bias tape. With a different measurement, from the top of the bust (instead the top of the shoulder) to the hip you can change from a sleeve to a strap. The best thing about this basic 1920's pattern is you can modify it really easily. So much of the 20's shape is geometric and that translates to the patterns as well. I am still experimenting with this pattern, but this is what has been working for me so far. I'll show you the results of my 1920's dressmaking experiments later this week!


Want more about the 1920's 1 Hour Dress?:
(The Pattern) (Cutting Out the Dress & Starting the Sewing) (Sewing & Finishing)

13 comments:

  1. Hi Bianca, I just discovered your blog. This post is such an inspiration - I love the 1920"s. Val.

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  2. This is great! I have been searching for a simple shift dress pattern. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  3. i love this! we are hosting a Roaring 2020 party...so I am looking for ideas now.

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    1. I love the idea of a 2020 bash, it will soon be the twenties again!

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  5. Can you please explain to me the bit about gathering the skirt extentions and sewing straight through please? I'm trying to do that, but it's creating this weird bulk. (it kind of looks like a half finished seam, if you know what i mean.)

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    1. I'm not sure how to explain it really so I may have to take photos of an example. I would say the main thing is to not try to gather all of the fullness into the same spot, like spread the gathering out across a couple inches and then sew that down. I'll try and make an example of what I mean and put it up soon!

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  6. omg pictures would be so helpful thanks~ So spread it across a few inches? i'll try that tonight... it might be that my problem is because i sewed the side seam for the top (blue line) and the side hem for the skirt before i actually got around to doing the gather... so it really should be one at a time? (top seam, gather, sew that down, skirt seam)

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    1. It has been so long since I made one with gathers at the side I don't actually remember what order I did the steps in for that method. I'm going to do a whole post on the different options on how to do the side hip fullness, so that will be coming soon!

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  7. So... I am trying to figure out: Does this measurement/drafting work if the hips are significantly wider than the bust? Will the hips just fill out the side wings of the skirt? Or will I have to take my width measurement based on the hip rather than the bust? I like the idea and your other post about the modifications....

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