May 18, 2016

Make Your Own 1920's 1 Hour Dress: Step 2, Cutting Out the Dress & Starting the Sewing

Okay everyone, have you got your 1 hour dress patterns ready? If not, re-read how to create your own pattern in last weeks post. I also originally neglected to add that you need to add seam allowance to your finished pattern, so don't forget to do that too! Also I fold my pattern in half along the center front to cut each of the two dress pieces on the fold but that is not necessary.

So you have your pattern, of course the best course of action is to construct a mock up and make sure everything fits the way you want it to for the final version. As I have made quite a few of these dresses now, I just jumped right onto using the fashion fabric for my new dress. The fabric I am using for this basic 20's 1 hour dress is a lightweight flowy mystery fabric that is some sort of polyester blend. Keep in mind that a silkier fabric will have a very different finished look from a stiffer fabric like a cotton. If you will be making your final dress in slinky crêpe de chine, try and make a mock up in silky but cheaper polyester to make sure the pattern drapes and hangs how you would like. The fabric I have chosen also has a border print that I took into account when placing my pattern so that the border went along the hem of the dress. 

Here is my pattern laying pinned on my fabric of choice.

Cut out your identical front and back pieces.

One piece laid out flat so you can see the shape!

The first step I take in sewing one of these together is to "hem" the top edges that will form the high bateau/boat neckline of the dress. I do this by simply folding a 1/4 over twice and sewing it on my machine, but you could also hand sew this seam for an even nicer finish. I actually would recommend hand sewing the top edge "hem"s on most fabrics, but on my dark polyester it can both support and hide my machine stitches. It can also look very pretty to double duty this finished edge by slipping tiny seed beads onto your needle for the outside stitch for some sparkle as I did on this version. You can of course finish these top edges any way that you'd like, with matching or contrasting bias tape. with a facing, etc. If you changed the basic neckline to a rounded, v-neck, or other shape you will have a different order of operations and will again either need a facing or bias tape to finish the neckline edges.

After finishing the neckline I go onto finishing the other raw edges of each piece with either rayon seam binding or a zig zag stitch. You could of course serge the raw edges too if you are lucky and have a serger/overlock machine at your disposal!

After finishing the top edges I sew the dress right sides together along the side seams (on both sides). Along the underside of the sleeve, along the side/middle and skirt sections all highlighted in red above. The shoulder seam can be sewn closed at the top or you can have a little more fun (and actually less work) by using a different technique...but I'll go into that next week ;)


  1. Love the fabric you're working with here! It's such a cool marriage of folk + geometric print.

    Many hugs,
    ♥ Jessica

    1. Thanks Jessica! That's what I liked about it too <3

  2. Love this, thanks so much. Need to make one for someone in a play set in the 1920s.

  3. is there not an easement for the bust? if you cut the exact bust measurement, won't it be skin tight?

    1. Yeah I totally didn't mention ease here, mostly because I notoriously don't add much to any of my patterns I suppose. Because of the deep "armhole" at the top of this pattern, I find there is plenty of room around the bust without having to add additional ease, as the truly narrowest part of the dress is mostly through the waist area. This article is a few years old now, and I think were I to make another 20's dress myself I would make them more over-sized, as that is more accurate if not always as flattering!


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