A Really, Really Quick 1918 Dress

March 24, 2015

As much as I love the fashion of the 1920s, I don't have a single piece of 1920s costuming in my admittedly extensive closet. I've always thought I had too many curves to look right in it, and figured the straight lines of the silhouette would make me look like a potato.

I didn't want to go in plain clothes to the Jazz Age Picnic, and the few Teens outfits I have felt too restrictive. With all the sewing I had been doing for my sweetheart for the Bass Hall event, I didn't have a chance to make anything during the week, so the morning of the picnic I got up early, pulled out some fabric I had picked up the week before, and whipped up a quick dress.

I was inspired by the blue plaid dress in this fashion plate of spring dresses from 1918.

I was lucky enough to find a blue plaid that's pretty much a dead ringer for the one in the plate, and when searching through the Commercial Pattern Archive, I even came across a dress from 1918 that was almost exactly the same! This is the pattern:

I didn't have much time, so I didn't have a chance to do a mock-up, fit the pattern, or anything that's really necessary when making something new. I drafted everything from the ground up, directly onto the fabric, using the pattern diagram as a guide. The fit was right, but the drape of the front cross-over didn't lay like I wanted it to, and I had to pin it into place so it would sit right. The dress also turned out much shorter than I wanted, but it ended up working out for a more '20s looking outfit.

The one thing I was really thrilled about was the sleeves! They fit perfectly in the armscye, they draped exactly how I wanted, they were just...perfect! So thrilled.

I really love the fabric, and I'm pretty pleased with the dress overall. I do want to remake this dress so that the top sits the way it should without having to pin it, and I would like to have a longer skirt. Luckily, I have some yardage left from what I purchased before, so I think I can fix the few flaws without spending too much more. It's the sort of dress I feel I could wear on a normal basis and not get funny looks for it seeming "old fashioned".

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