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Sunday, February 17, 2013

sewing a 1920s silk dress

sewing a 1920s silk dress

Just before the weekend, I finished a project - officially the oldest sewing pattern I've used thus far - a loose-fitting silk dress sewn from a Butterick pattern dating from 1919. And appropriately I'm sharing this project on the eve of Downton Abbey's series finale (in the US, anyway).

sewing a 1920s silk dress sewing a 1920s silk dress

I found the pattern via She'll Make You Flip, a great notion shop on Etsy, and in keeping with the promise I made to myself last project, I kept it as simple as possible. The pattern came with a couple variations but I made the no-frills version.. no lining, no gathered panel at the side. Part of the reason was to use this project almost as an introduction to the pattern (so I can move forward and make the other versions later), but another reason was because I knew I was sewing it out of Mood Fabric's beautiful pop art silk fabric, and it was wild enough already without any embellishments or details.

sewing a 1920s silk dress sewing a 1920s silk dress sewing a 1920s silk dress

What I used.. three yards of silk and bias tape for the neckline. Because I sewed the simplest version, there were only three pattern pieces so it's a very straightforward process. First, I cut the pieces out (shortening the front and back pieces by about ten inches by folding the pattern pieces towards the bottom and middle before cutting the fabric) and sewed the side seams together - front and back and sleeve seams. Then, I sewed the sleeves to the dress.

Next step - bias tape neckline. I didn't have any single fold one inch bias tape (and didn't have enough fabric left over to make my own), but I did have some double fold tape twice the size - so I used my bias tape maker to craft single fold from the double fold tape. I cut the double fold in half, flattened it out, then ran it through my bias tape maker - pressing the new folds into place as it came out.

sewing a 1920s silk dress sewing a 1920s silk dress sewing a 1920s silk dress

Once I had newly-sized bias tape, I sewed it to the neckline - unfolded right edge of the bias tape to the right side of the dress. I pressed the tape inward then sewed it shut on the outer edge of the bias tape, folding rough edges over one another at the center back.

sewing a 1920s silk dress sewing a 1920s silk dress sewing a 1920s silk dress sewing a 1920s silk dress

Finished the hems, and the dress was done! My favorite part of this simple dress are the sleeves - they are massive and add a twenties style to an otherwise simple shift dress. I can't wait to change the pattern up a bit with a different neckline and maybe shorten the sleeve length. And add a belt to give it a drop waist silhouette.

sewing a 1920s silk dress sewing a 1920s silk dress sewing a 1920s silk dress

And as a belated Valentine's celebration, I'm offering 20% off the Rebecca Dress in black velvet, enter the coupon code FEBRUARYLOVE for your discount! Sale ends tomorrow night.

15 comments:

  1. This is so beautiful Lauren! I think this might be one of my favourite of your creations yet! It suits you so perfectly, and I love the way you've styled it :) x

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  2. The dress is really beautiful, it makes me want to make one for me too :)

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  3. Like something the chic young cousin on Downton Abbey would wear!

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    1. thanks for the compliment! I just watched the last episode and fell in love with her wardrobe, what amazing costume design.

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  4. I love your dress and even more so, I love your hair in that updo! So pretty :)

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  5. WOW, fantastic. The fabric you chose and the way you styled it makes this sweet pattern fresh and relevant!!

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    1. thank you! :) pairing modern fabric with a pattern almost a hundred years old was tough but mood fabrics has so many good prints to pick from, I knew I'd find something there.

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  6. WOW! I love seeing an intricate pattern with a very simple cut. I think the wide, soft neckline is my favorite part. It's so romantic.

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    1. thanks jen! hope to see you tomorrow night! :)

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  7. This dress is perfection! I love it and the fabric! If you ever feel inclined to add it to your shop.... :-)

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    1. thanks ashley! I actually might do that, I'll let you know!

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  8. It's so perfect!

    x missdottidee.blogspot.com

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  9. Beautiful dress! I love the fabric.

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