Friday, October 4, 2013

Coming Soon--A 1924 One Hour Dress!

Although I don't tend to use this blog for upcoming projects or work in progress (see my Live Journal for overkill in that direction), I do want to announce an upcoming project--a one session One Hour dress.

I've thought of doing this for ages--ever since I heard about the 1920s One Hour Dress books--and I'm finally going to do it. I don't think I can do it in an hour (although I admit a secret desire to do just that!), I can certainly do it in one session.

I'm going to blog as I finish each step, as noted in the book. Just a picture and a title at Live Journal (on a tag for the dress), most likely. I don't want to waste time on commentary! Plus, I think posting each step will add to the challenge :)

I have the 1924 book, and I'm planning on following the instructions almost exactly, with just a few exceptions.

1. The skirt is a strange sort of wrap. You sew the front and back skirt to the front and back, sew the kimono sleeved bodice side seams, put the dress on, lift the front of the skirt, pull the back skirt around to the front, pin in place, let the front hang down over it, and pin the cascades made by the falling corners into place. It doesn't have you hem the back edges, which I would like to do. I don't mind raw edges inside--it's often period--but I'm not too thrilled about the idea of raw edges down the center front, even if the front skirt hangs over it.

2. I'm going to bind the sleeves after the side/sleeve seam is sewn. It's much more secure than binding the sleeve edge than sewing the sleeve seam.

3. I want to use self bias binding instead of purchased bias binding, for sadly obvious reasons. I'm sure in 1924 I could find a nice coordinating lightweight bias binding that would go perfectly with my lawn. Today, not so much. I might also sew one side down and hand sew the other side instead of sandwiching the bias on and sewing through both sides at once. I'm fairly quick at that, and it's actually more important to me to have a nice dress than to finish as fast as I can. But if it comes out nicely sewing both sides at once, I'm all for it!

Preparing the self bias alone will probably put me over the one hour mark :)

4. I'm most likely going to hem it. The original uses a selvage, which I'm all for, except, once again, it's not 1924 and there's a good chance my fabric will have something printed on it.

5. I might hand sew the belt because I loathe turning tubes above almost all else.

All of these things seem like logical alterations someone in period would have made, so I don't feel like I'm straying too far from the book.

I bought four yards of this lawn for the dress. This is definitely more than I need! I figured a safety yard was good, and I think I can squeeze out another Grumpy Cat style sundress from the leftovers.

Before I make the dress, I am going to make a partial muslin. I'm highly suspicious of things like the neckline being the same 4 1/2 inches for every size. I'll write down my new measurements though and use those to cut the dress, where with a normal dress, I'd use the muslin as a pattern, so I'll still be making the whole dress from the book.

I'm also going to prepare my fabric first. Wash, iron, figure out just the size it needs to be. The book suggests buying the right width and amount of fabric, so I'm going to pretend that I did.

I wish I could sew this on my 1917 machine, but I still haven't had the tensioner replaced. I'm still so annoyed with myself for snapping the screw. In my defense, the metal was very soft! Electric machines were available though and probably figured into how quickly the dress could be made, so I don't feel bad about using the electric machine :)

I'll post again when I get my fabric (I noticed it's listed as sold out and I haven't received a shipping confirmation, wish me luck!) and decide on a date to do this (most likely a Sunday afternoon). I'm really looking forward to doing this!


  1. I have the 1925 version, and wow, the directions were super confusing. Definitely do a muslin first so you can figure out WTH they're talking about half the time. But then once you understand what some of the more obscure things mean, you can whip out a dress pretty darn quick!

    1. The 1924 one is thankfully clear. There's one small area that seems awkward in skirt joining, but I think it's the sort of thing that will sort itself out when you make it.

      I have the 1925 book on the way--I'm interested in seeing how it's different!

    2. Do let me know when you get it. I've always wondered why they offer so many different versions, when from what I can tell (from mine at least) it's basic t-tunic construction all around!

  2. I've made a bunch of these, they were easy, fast and fun, all variations on the basic theme, and *none* makes up in an hour. Nice way to get a basic mid-20's everyday dress. Enjoy!