Vintage Sewing

1918-19 Madeleine Vionnet Dress (Japanese Bunka Pattern #1)

June 9, 2014

Hello! Long time lurker and member, but this is finally my first post – and vintage make!

I made a Vionnet dress from the Japanese Bunka Book.

The book has no frills or thrills, it’s only focus is patterns and diagrams to help you reconstruct the dresses. Patterns are laid out on a grid which you much enlarge yourself. I used an overhead projector and traced with a sharpie onto a wall. I made dress #1 from the book, and the easiest I assume.

It was my first time making a bias garment. But get this – the entire thing is cut out and sewn on the grainlines. So I have a bias dress without the bias headache! It is not until you wear it that you rotate it 45 degrees that it becomes a bias dress. Mindblowing to me.

Can you believe that from these two strange rectangular shapes came a beautiful fluttery goddess gown?

My goal is to muslin all 28 dresses from this book – it might take me 12 months or 12 years, but I really do love all the surprising construction techniques. I may pick a few to make out of nice fabric, but since these dresses don’t really fit my lifestyle, it isn’t a high priority for me. Making them what I care about, not so much wearing them.

I’ve put more photos and construction notes on my sewing blog here:

  1. Fabulous! It’s gorgeous. I also have this book & will watch your progress with great delight! I love that you projected it onto a wall, great idea 😉

  2. You look fabulous in this dress. Please keep posting your makes even if it does take years. And nice to see you found your way here. I’ve really enjoyed watching your sewing expand and expand.

  3. Wow it’s great!
    I’m glad you’ve started posting and I’m really looking forward to seeing you work on more dresses from this book.
    I love Vionnet designs and have been considering buying this book for a few years. But I think this is the first time I see anyone in a dress made from it.
    Please keep up the good work! 😉

  4. I love the dress and with the right flowing fabric, it would become a favorite to wear…I am horrible at sewing, but still I try.

  5. I’ve made a couple of versions of the Vionnet handkerchief dress, and am excited to see another design online!

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