Tips For Making a 1920s One Hour Dress

Tips For Making a 1920s One Hour Dress

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Summary: You can make a 1920’s Gatsby tea party dress quickly with the “One Hour dress” pattern. Here are tips to help turn your one-hour dress from boring to beautiful.

One-Hour Dress eBook In the summer of 2009, I was making plans to attend the Great Gatsby Festival and Tea in South Lake Tahoe, Ca. I have many costumes in my closet but surprisingly I did not have any in the 1920’s style.

I turned online and found the “one Hour Dress” booklet. A seamstress wrote this 17-page instruction manual in 1924. Her idea was to show women how to make a very simple frock dress in less than an hour- enough time to make a new dress for each garden party you are invited too. Sounds perfect.

I purchased the pattern and after reading through the directions and looking at each of the 17 variations, I decided to make the dress on the cover. The wispy skirt blowing in the breeze with a long pink sash trailing behind it captured the romantic simplicity a young 20’s girl ought to be.

Tips for Making Your One-Hour Dress

  1. The cutting and sewing directions were easy to follow. They are not written in modern English so you may have to read each line a few times and look at the illustration before figuring out what to do. If you have no sewing experience you will need some experienced help.
  2. Do not over estimate your size. If you are making one of the 17 variations read those directions first and figure out where in the basic directions you need to make adjustments.
  3. Fabric choice will make or break this pattern. If you want a “peasant” look you can use a cheap cotton blend otherwise spend a bit more and get a middleweight fashion fabric.
  4. Spruce up your dress with details. The basic one-hour dress is just that-basic. Especially if your top and bottom are the same fabric, you will want to add some trim, pockets, sash, embroidery or other decorative element. You can also leave the dress plain but add accessories like jewelry, a hat, gloves, purse, shoes, and tights (black or a fun geometrical pattern.) Look at images of 1920’s dresses for decorating ideas.
  5. This pattern was designed to make a frock- a day dress- however; it can easily be made into evening wear. Use a breaded chiffon, silk, or satin fabric.

The one-hour dresses pattern is one of the most useful patterns I have found online in a long time. The pattern is easy and the variations are endless. Although I have only made one dress to date I am planning to make several more- for both day and evening wear. After your first dress you will have a good understanding of the pattern and its potential to make dresses that will “wow” all the guests at your next party.

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