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

By on 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/


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1910s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

1917 Madeleine Vionnet Wrap Dress (Japanese Bunka Book pattern #2)

By on June 17, 2014

Yay, dress muslin #2 from this project is finished!

Here is a photo of the original, which shows how important fabric choice is: (source here)

Dress #2 is a wrap dress with the front bodice on the bias, skirt is made of three layers. Layer 1 is a very wide heavily gathered rectangle, Layer 2 is another gathered but narrower and longer rectangle is on top, and Layer 3 are two bubble poofs, each made of 3 gathered pieces of fabric. The top of the bodice back, front, and neck strap have fabric roses attached to them.

This dress didn’t fit me initially (tears!) but I added 3 inches to the CB as well as 5 inches to the bodice front – WHEW! Then it fit, but barely as you can see. Not a bra friendly dress.

It has great swish factor because of the 2 back poofs, but the dress really becomes something else once you discover that you can put your arms through the poofs and turn them into sleeves. Magic! Probably unintentional, but a fun discovery nonetheless.

The roses were created by a Vionnet Rose Pattern from the Center for Pattern Design:

If you’re interested, I’ve more photos and construction information on my sewing blog here: http://cathywu.com/journal/kalali/2014/06/17/vionnet-dress-pattern-2-1917-wrapped-with-roses/ I also made an animated gif of how to wear it, which I tried to post here but didn’t work.

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Vintage Sewing

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

By on 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: http://cathywu.com/journal/kalali/2014/06/08/vionnet-dress-pattern-1-1918-1919/

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