Friday, March 11, 2016

My 1920's One Hour Dresses and the Pattern Modifications


The most popular post of all time on this blog is this one here where I briefly describe how to make your very own 1920's one hour dress pattern. I figured since I had made so many of these dresses since that post ages ago, I'd put together a new post today with photos of each dress and the modifications I made to the basic pattern for each so you could get an even better idea of the versatility of this most simple of patterns. These are not all of my 20's one hour dresses, I actually have a few more, but the others not pictured are all exact copies of one of these examples. To see all of these dresses, and the ones pictured in more detail just click on the 1920's tag in my little cloud of subjects over <---- there :)

So the most basic of one hour dresses (as seen above and just below) is shaped like a fat sideways H with the extensions from the lower hip actually being pleated flat and sewn down. The squared off kimono sleeves drape differently depending on how long/wide you make them.

The sketch shows how the sleeve hangs when worn on the left and how it looks laid flat on the right. There are no seams or separate pieces involved, just the shape of the front and back create the "sleeve" portion. The neckline looks like a high boat-neck but is actually created by simply hemming the top seam on each piece (front and back) and then sewing them together from the mid shoulder outwards to create a finished opening for ones head to fit through.



You can however change the shape of this cut-in-one sleeve if you wish, like I have here on this lightweight ikat dress. I simply made the sleeve into a bell shape by extending the end of the sleeve triangularly. A super simple change but it gives the dress a more exotic look somehow, or it could go rather medieval if you wished depending on the fabric. I also added a v-neckline, finishing it with a facing on the inside. You could create any shape of neckline you desired with this method.




For this version of again the very same dress pattern, I made the "sleeves" extension of the top longer/wider and deeper into the side. Instead of sewing the top seam together in the usual way I used three beads at the shoulder as a bridge between the two pieces to create the shoulder seam, and then one final bead at the top tip of the sleeve hem to hold the free edges together. The skirt is the same as always, but I have pinned the right side (the left side in the photo above) up a few inches with a rhinestone brooch for a draped look.



For this version the pattern received a more dramatic transformation. I added a cowl neckline to both the front and the back. The armscye and neckline edges are finished with matching bias tape and blend into the rest of the fabric. The resulting shoulder straps are set very wide (with both the front and the back being cowls) so I sewed tiny loops of ribbon to the underside of the straps with snaps on them to attach the dress to my bra straps. This little trick keeps wide necklines from slipping around on you and is a super easy addition. The skirt portion is a separate piece this time instead of being all in one like the normal H shaped pattern. Separating the skirt portion allows you to add any shape of skirt you'd like. In this case I used a square shaped skirt (literally a large square with a hole/the waist cut into the center of it) and actually cut the hole for the wait a bit off center so the handkerchief hem would be asymmetric and fun.



In this version I made the "sleeves" very short so that the dress is essentially sleeveless. Again these were finished with matching bias tape but you could always change it up and use a contrasting color or texture as a fun detail. The skirt is again a square, creating that distinctively flowy handkerchief hem. I also made a matching sash to wear at the drop waist of the dress. This sash is about 9 inches wide and probably at least 2.5 yards long. A matching or contrasting sash can be a fun and easy addition to a one hour dress as it can be worn over the shoulders like a wrap, draped like a scarf, or around the hips as I've done above.

 A reminder of what (1) a handkerchief hem and (2) the traditional one hour dress skirts look like. The excess from the hip down on the traditional pattern can be gathered, knife pleated down on the outside or inside, or box pleated as you would prefer. 

So those are the modifications of my many 1920's one hour dresses! Have any of you made a 20's one hour dress before? Did you change anything about the standard pattern?

17 comments:

  1. This is great info! The two one-hour dresses I've attempted did not turn out well, so this post is helpful.

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    1. Thanks Emileigh! I'm glad it was helpful and I hope if you ever give the pattern another try it will go smoother!

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  2. Each one of these frocks is absolutely lovely. I don't think I can pick a single favourite. Each has a distinct soul and charm all its own and looks truly fabulous on you. Thank you for this enjoyable recap. Your sewing skills always knock my socks off!

    ♥ Jessica

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    1. Thank you Jessica! I can't imagine my life without sewing, I should take out insurance on my hands as I sew for my day job now too!

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  3. I love every single one of these dresses and the fabrics you used, if I had to pick I think the second last one would have to be my favorite! I don't sew but these patterns look far less intimidating than most and I would love to give this a go if I found the right fabric :D

    Deco Darling

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    1. Thank you Harlow! This would be a good beginner project as if you go the simpler route as it is all straight lines. A stiffer fabric like a cotton or linen blend would lend a crisper silhouette and would be easier to sew than a flowy chiffon. You should totally try it :)

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  4. I can't quite believe you have got so many different looks from one basic pattern. The sketches really helped me understand the changes. They all look super. You are so skilled at sewing!

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    1. Aw thank you Kate, I'm no couturier as I am far too impatient a seamstress in reality! It is a super versatile pattern, which has stopped me from trying other 20's patterns really, I need to branch out!

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  5. This is very useful stuff - I'm a novice sewer but really want to try and make my own vintagey clothes. I shall be checking out your one hour dress post! Though anticipating it will take me considerably longer... x

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    1. Thanks Porcelina, this really is an easy project! You can do it!

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  6. Super cool to see how these slight modifications make for such a huge difference and wide range of results with your dresses! It's really cool how unique they all ended up looking even though they come from the same pattern block! ❤

    xox,
    bonita of Lavender & Twill

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    1. Thanks Bonita, it really is easy to change up the looks with this pattern!

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  7. Wow. I LOVE THIS!!!!!! Your dresses are BEAUTIFUL!!!!! I am very excited to try these in the future!! -Also on a slightly unrelated note, your hair is stunning ♥

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    1. Thank you Ashley! I hope you give it a try!

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  8. Thanks a million! this is EXACTLY what I was hoping to find online. I'm doing an improvised play in the style Dorothy Parker and desperately needed a costume. I'm 6 feet and a size 14 so I couldn't hope to buy off the rack. Also.. you know.. picky. You saved me. Fantastic blog! You are such a talent! <3

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    1. Thank you Gale! I am so glad this post was helpful! I know just what you mean as I am picky too!

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