Vintage Sewing

Exploring 1920’s patterns

July 26, 2014

Way back in February, I took the Vintage Pattern Pledge and promised I would sew up at least five vintage patterns this year. And I added that I wanted to make one from each decade from the 1920’s to the 1970’s.

So far, I haven’t done anything yet. I could make excuses, but I guess it’s more important and more interesting to get started. And I’ve decided to start with the decade which is the most alien to me, and probably the least suited to my body type: the 1920’s. My one source of patterns for this era is a big pile of sewing magazines called Gracieuse. They are kind of like Burdastyle magazine today except that only a selection of the designs from each issue is included on the pattern sheet, and each pattern is in one size only. And the pattern sheets are endlessly more difficult to trace and the instructions are rudimentary at best.

Anyway, I’ve looked through all the issues from the 1920’s and picked out the designs I like. The ‘long list’ is on my blog but I’ll show you my favorites here. These are not only my favorites because I like their look but also because I think they could be made from fabrics I have in my stash and I could wear them straight away.

These are all very lovely, but the one on the right with its clean lines is my favorite.

Here, I’m looking at the third dress.

In this picture, it’s the first one. Now that looks like a real flapper dress.

And here it’s the first one but without the cape.

As you can see, all the dresses on my ‘shortlist’ are more or less party dresses and I don’t really mind about that. The 1920’s silhouette is way out of my comfort zone so I thought I would just start with something I love the idea of and then see if it will work for me. Looking at these four, the choice seems to be between a fairly quiet or a more eye-catching one…

What do you think?

  1. Definitely the first picture with the dress on the right. The clean but swishy lines are classic but undoubtably 20’s… Can’t wait!

  2. I like the one in the first picture. I think it would be very wearable. And it’s very pretty. (But if you decide on the one in the one in the last photo–oh, do make the cape!) It will be interesting to see how your dress turns out, and how you make it work in a modern setting.

  3. I think it’s interesting that the hemlines are so similar to what I see today—shorter in front, longer on the sides.
    I also like the diagonals of the first dress you picked.
    And the layered scallops caught my eye in the middle of the third picture. But I’m a sucker for almost any scalloped edge.
    I think many of these shapes would make great separates. Some of the skirts would look great in a maxi length—but keep the asymmetry—in a calico or batik, combining the 70s “hippie” look with the style of the 20s.
    Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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