Saturday, August 6, 2011

1929 Silk Print Dress

For a group project at Costume College 2011, we decided to make 1920s dresses and campaign to repeal the 18th Amendment. Or be pro temperance, as was the case for one of my friends. I went through many decisions (and even made one dress that really needed a side opening--I got stuck in it and haven't had the heart to add a placket yet) before I found this dress at Vintage Textile and knew I had to have it. And the results!

1929 Dress 1929 Dress

1929 Dress 1929 Dress

1929 Dress 1929 Dress

1929 Dress

I just *love* how this dress moves!

OK, so the details. I only took two construction pictures--which are pictured below--but it really was a straightforward dress.

The fabric is what I think is a heavy China silk. The texture is pretty much identical to China silks I've use, but it's heavier than the heaviest weight I've bought plain. It's still obviously quite light! It's bound with cream silk georgette and the insert is georgette with embroidered organdy.

The whole dress is sewn by hand. I had planned sewing most of it by hand, but since my machine didn't like this fabric at all, hand sewing it was. I only had large machine needles and they didn't go through the fabric very well. In fact, I had the same issues with hand needles and once spent twenty minutes de fluffing a snap that I had sewn. It was very strange fabric!

The dress closes down the left side with snaps. The sides of the front are gathered, which makes it loose over the front. The center front comes up in a point, which is nearly impossible to see in the dark fabric. The back has two darts for shaping, also seen in the above book. Before adding the darts, the skirt hung limply off my hips. The darts made a huge difference.

The neckline is finished with self bias. I laid the collar over the V neckline and bound both of them to the dress. The collar is a large circle with shapes cut for the arms and ties. The insert is just tacked in.

The cloche is vintage from Etsy and the shoes I bought locally at a dance store years ago. The seamed stockings are from Frederick's of Hollywood :)

The pattern shapes are all pictured below. I'm not sure they'll be terribly useful though :)

For the pattern, well, it's complicated. My 1950s sundress pattern that became the robe de style pattern which in turn was turned into a 1920s bathing suit pattern was my base for the bodice. The base skirt was from Women's Wear of the 1920's, which really, if you like the 1920s, you need to buy. It's awesome.

The skirt has circular flounces. I initially cut one on the bias (just reading the description and not thinking was a bad idea!)

1929 Dress

The skirt before the flounces were added. I didn't cut the shape in the pattern--it was easier and more accurate to compare the silk skirt to the bodice.

1929 Dress

The insert--it's two pieces of silk georgette that I sewed wrong sides together and turned right side out. Then I applied an embroidered organdy on top.

1929 Bodice Pattern 1929 Collar Pattern

The bodice and collar patterns.

1929 Skirt Pattern 1929 Skirt Ruffle Pattern

The skirt and flounce patterns.

I also have tons of pictures of this dress and my friends' amazing 20s dresses in this Flickr set!


  1. What an original and cute dress! Absolutely adorable!

  2. I adore 20's fashions. That dress looks wonderful on you!

  3. In the latest comment ever (I have no idea why I'm so bad on Blogger), thank you!

  4. Loving your interpretation! Wat is amendment 18?