1930s Art Deco Dress
This pattern is a "Resto-Vival" pattern from the mid 1930s.
This pattern is for two styles of dresses. The first is a high neck dress with assymetrically fastening bodice and long sleeves with deco style shaping. The second dress is has 3/4 length sleeves with a bodice drape and fastens at the neck with two buttons through bound buttonholes. The skirt has a great deco shape with assymetrical design interest that fastens to the skirt with two buttons. The skirt has three pleats, which adds design interest and great movement.
If you are between sizes order the next size larger, as my patterns have less ease than modern standards. Please order pattern by measurements (given in inches), as the size numbers do not equate to modern pattern sizing and pattern sizing can vary from pattern to pattern on my website.
Size Pack A- Size 12-14-16
Size Pack B- Size 18-20-22
As a bonus for this pattern there is a free bound buttonhole tutorial on my blog to help with sewing construction.
About Wearing History Resto-Vival™ Patterns
Resto-Vival™ Patterns are original historic patterns that have been restored and revived. Original patterns are usually available only in single sizes, precut from tissue paper and totally unprinted, with details like grainlines and darts indicated only by small perforations. Resto-Vival™ patterns are printed on sturdy bond paper instead of tissue and clearly marked with drawn and labeled markings. These markings aid the modern sewer in understanding the markings of the original pattern and the construction of the garment. Resto-Vival™ patterns follow the period shapes of the original patterns, maintaining the historical accuracy of the completed garment. Original period instructions are included. These instructions are text only (unless otherwise noted) and fairly minimal, especially compared to instructions for modern patterns. At least an intermediate knowledge of dressmaking and a good familiarity with pattern construction is suggested. You may choose to have a modern or period sewing book handy to help with basic construction methods that the pattern instructions do not cover in detail. Also, fitting a muslin mockup is strongly recommended, as all garments were meant to be worn over period foundation garments or corsetry.
Please Allow Up to 10 Days for Patterns to be Mailed, as They are Printed to Order.
Posted by Alethea Drexler on 18th Apr 2011
Full disclosure: I received this pattern free of charge in exchange for agreeing to test-sew it and complete a pattern review.
I used the Size 18/Bust 36 size. I made View 1 with the bodice overlap, band collar, and novelty sleeves.
I debated what fabric I wanted to use for this. I really wanted to use one of the fabrics suggested on the pattern packet, or at least one similar to it, but I'm used to using plain old cotton calico and muslin. I eventually decided that I would get better results if I weren't trying to sew faster and get used to a new fabric at the same time, and went with a homespun-type cotton that had a soft weave and a drape that I liked.
I know that redrafted patterns sometimes cause concern so let me lay any fears to rest: I didn't have any problems that could be attributed to redrafting. Actually, I didn't have any problems at all that weren't either expected because they are alterations I have to make to most patterns I use, or that weren't "user error."
The two things that stood out for me were:
1) This is not a beginner pattern. It's not a difficult pattern but there are plenty of curved seams and bound buttonholes, and the overlapping-front design necessitates an assembly that is not entirely intuitive. I would consider myself an advanced beginner-to-intermediate seamstress and I could handle it fine, but it's not the pattern on which to begin your dressmaking endeavors.
I am not complaining at all because the complex bits aren't that difficult and the design makes it all absolutely worthwhile. All the pieces fit beautifully and I had no trouble at all with facings that didn't match up, pieces that were too big or too small, seams that were impossible because the edges of the pieces involved were different lengths, etc. Everything was very carefully done and went together without a hitch.
Another confession: I made a hare-brained mistake involving the left-front bodice. I forgot that the band collar had to attach to the neckline of the bodice and couldn't figure out why the left bodice was 1/2-inch short along the shoulder seam. I even emailed Lauren to ask about it, only to do a total *facepalm* later when I realized what was going on. That was my big "user error." Don't do what I did! Keep your wits about you.
2) Make a muslin. Yes, I know many of you do this routinely, but if you don't always, you need to do it for this. The dress is intended to have a very specific fit--close over the hips, blousy-but-not-too-blousy bodice, snug band collar--that will definitely require fine-tuning to look as it was meant to look. The collar and cuffs fit rather tightly and you'll want to size them before you start cutting your "good" fabric. (I also had to cut the hips one size larger, and I added a dart on each side of the back to help take up the difference, but this is an alteration I have to make a lot because my hips and backside are at least a size larger than my upper body.)
I have a long torso and I'm 5'7", which is not technically "tall" but is tall enough that I have to check lengths before I start cutting. I don't usually lengthen bodices but I ended up adding an inch and a quarter to this one or the bodice would have been pulled tight from shoulder to waist instead of blousing a little at the waist like it should.
If you're new to the world of bound buttonholes, the pattern's directions are fine but you might want to find more detailed instructions for extra help.
Overall, though, I love this pattern and I learned a lot. I really look forward to making it again once I'm comfortable sewing with more appropriate fabrics. I have several colors in mind that I think will do it far more justice than navy blue, which looks nice but swallows up the Art Deco design.