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?