Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Roaring Twenties Fantasy-Land

In the midst of all my frenzy of late I found a moment to sit down at my computer to look at patterns from the 1920's era.  I love looking at project ideas and thinking "when can I begin this!" - but with all that is going on at the moment, I hardly need another project to add to the pile.  Here's what I learned:  

One book that I came across again was the " The One Hour Dress" by Mary Brooks Picken.  Apparently, it was all the rage in 1924.  I read somewhere that ladies would actually demonstrate making a dress in an hour to prove that it was possible, thus marketing the book.  

What I didn't know is that there were 3 books published.  Two in 1924 and one in 1925, and all are great books for beginner dressmakers - even today!  What I like particularly about The One Hour Dress, is that it gives detailed instructions on how to take measurements, prepare the fabric, cut the fabric, make the dress and even put sleeves on it so you aren't just cutting out a pattern with a specific size, you can learn to make adjustments for your own body.  I don't yet own this book, but perhaps it will be in my possession at some point in the near future (wink, wink)!

So, all this looking around led me to the Amazon Dry Goods website www.amazondrygoods.com who sells period outfit patterns, costuming stuff, you name it!  I was continuing this twenties dressmaking fantasy and discovered that the company is up for sale because the owner passed away.  How sad!  This company is a wonderful thing for people who like this kind of stuff, and I can only hope that someone will buy it up and treat it with as much love as the previous owner.  I need to get going on my dressmaking... make several thousand to sell so I can buy up this company and move to Illinois...  Another thing to add to my TO DO list.

On a more serious note, I do really hope the business doesn't go bust - it's too wonderful of a thing!  And on lighter note, here's what I've decided to make:

The "Tango Dress" -  Folkwear Pattern #237

The "Monte Carlo Dress" - Folkwear Pattern #264


  1. Ooh, a fellow 20s fashion lover! I've been thinking about buying the One Hour Dress Book too.

    I just finished making the Monte Carlo Dress and found it a very pleasurable project with pretty easy instructions. Did you ever make yours?

    1. Carinthia! I would love to see your finished product. I have been going back to school and working full time this year, so sewing hasn't been possible. It is on my list for this summer. I ran into some uneasiness when I decided to alter the pattern. Any comments or advice for that? ;+)

    2. Hi Ashley
      My Monte Carlo dress is here: http://lifetheuniverseandnotquiteeverything.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/my-monte-carlo-dress.html
      Hmm, what sort of altering were you doing to the pattern? I'm not an experienced sewer, I've only been sewing a year myself. In my case I forgot to shorten the dress on the shorten & lengthen line, so the bodice is a bit long on me. I compromised by taking an inch off the bottom of the skirt and another inch when I joined the skirt to the bodice so the overall dress wasn't too long. That was my alteration...!

  2. It looks wonderful! I too am a self-taught sewer and although I've done sewing off and on through the years, it's only in the past couple that it's become more common. My main alteration/concern was if the dress would fit my bust and my hips. I am very curvy/hourglass shaped so I was going to make the hips a little wider. Would you recommend just making it sort of an A-line?

  3. I'm an hourglass myself - 38-31-38ish. The pattern has a slight curve in around the waist so it's not completely straight up and down. You could probably do an a-line but if you can get hold of really cheap fabric, the $2/yard type, you could try making the bodice in that first and playing around with the fit.

    Because the pattern flares out around the hips anyway - that's where the skirt attaches and it's REALLY full - you might be OK. Try taking up at the shorten and lengthen line so the skirt join is right at your hips.

    I found the pattern pretty generous as it was. I made the Medium size, and actually took it in a little bit so it didn't look huge on me. It's snug around the top half but pulls off over the head OK (with a bit of a wiggle!)

    Another way you could get around it would be to put an invisible zipper up one side, that way it could fit your curves with a bit of va va voom and you'd still be able to get in and out of it.

    Good luck - I hope you make it, would love to see pics!

    1. Thank you for your comments and advice. I am going to play around with the pattern just as you mentioned, at the beginning of the summer. I love that you've commented - you've given me the get up and go that I needed ;+)