1920s

1919-20 Madeleine Vionnet Handkerchief Dress (Japanese Bunka Book pattern #3)

September 18, 2014

vionnet3-19I’m back with another Vionnet dress! This time it is pattern #3 from the Japanese Bunka Book, but actually has quite the presence already online as I found an existing tutorial here. The dress is from around 1919-1920 and is made of four squarish pieces of fabric which give you four “flaps” (or jabots I think is the official term) on each side of your body, a deep V neck on the front and back, twisted shoulder straps, and a sash to tie it all together.

vionnet3-30These post it notes should give you a clearer idea about this dress’ construction as it is a bit difficult to explain. The creases represent the side seams and the mini diamond in the front represents the “ripple” that forms from each flap on each side.

vionnet3-11A photo of the real dress opened up – does the paper model make more sense now?

vionnet3-15The beautiful thing about this dess is that although it is 1 pattern, 1 dress, it has a ton of different ways of wearing it. You can do a drop waist, an empire waist, a full front, a full back, a voluminous version, a halter neck version, etc…  In this particular version I made all the flaps point toward the back to create a ton of ripples and more volume in the back. It’s a really simple dress to sew as there are 6 seams total (4 sides, 2 shoulder) BUT it is not so fun to hem as you have 4 giant squares. This was a muslin so I did a shoddy job of hemming, but for a real version I would need to be a master of the narrow hem since both the wrong sides and right sides of the fabric are featured in this dress.

vionnet3-23 I’ve written more about the different variations and construction technique for the dress on my blog here, as well as more photographs if you interested: http://cathywu.com/journal/kalali/2014/09/18/vionnet-dress-pattern-3-1919-1920-handkerchief-dress/

 

  1. This is SO cool! Great to see you back with another Vionnet dress.
    Actually, I borrowed a book with pictures of Vionnet designs from the library a couple of week ago and this design stood out to me as one which should be easy to replicate. And I hadn’t even thought about the option of wrapping the flaps in different ways.
    I had thought about the issue of hemming it and my idea was to take the lazy way out and use the rolled hem option of my serger/overlocker.
    I’m looking forward to seeing your ‘real’ dress!

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