Casual 1920s One Hour Dress

Flashback Summer: Casual 1920s One Hour Dress pattern


One thing you don't see too much of in the vintage reproduction world is 1920s day dresses.  There are shiny, fringed party dresses everywhere, but casual dresses are fewer and far between.  They're harder to find vintage evidence of as well, since the dresses worn for rambles in woods or cleaning in the home often fell apart from use, unlike fancy party dresses that were packed away carefully.  They are still around, though, and one of the most popular ways of reproducing these casual styles is through the One Hour Dress pattern!

Flashback Summer: Casual 1920s One Hour Dress pattern

Flashback Summer: Casual 1920s One Hour Dress pattern

I made this 1920s dress from the classic One Hour Dress pattern.  It's pretty much the easiest possible 20s pattern you can do, and I even removed the waist seam to make it even easier.  It's the simplest, most basic look possible for the decade!

Flashback Summer: Casual 1920s One Hour Dress pattern

The thing about 1920s clothing is that I struggle making it.  It seems dumb, counter-intuitive, that I should have issues making such simple, basic garments, but I have.  I've made a couple 1920s dresses, but I've thrown them all away because they looked like horrible sacks.  The silhouette is not as basic as it seems!  I've seen other people make fabulous 20s dresses, however, so I know it's possible to make flattering pieces.

Flashback Summer: Casual 1920s One Hour Dress pattern

Flashback Summer: Casual 1920s One Hour Dress pattern

I figured I would start with THE most basic version of a 20s dress and go from there--see what works for my proportions, ways to embellish, interesting details, etc.  My process has been very much trial and error so far, but that just seems to be how it goes until I can get a feel for how the silhouettes work.  I think using drapier, thinner fabrics in the future will also make a big difference.

Flashback Summer: Casual 1920s One Hour Dress pattern

Flashback Summer: Casual 1920s One Hour Dress pattern

This one is made of a thin, brown, wool blend.  I rather like it for this because it's thin enough to drape, but thick enough to avoid undergarment lines.  I took a different approach to 1920s "Egyptomania" and paired it with a keffiyah, man's traditional scarf, and snakeskin shoes from Sudan.  I actually quite like how free and easy this outfit feels--the best part of 1920s fashions, in my opinion!

Flashback Summer: Casual 1920s One Hour Dress pattern

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13 comments

  1. I agree- the 1920's are so simple, yet so hard! I really like how you've styled this dress, and it suits you very nicely.
    The Artyologist

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  2. I really like the dress you made and really love those shoes! They are perfect for the outfit. You hit on a good point. Much of the fabrication for 'nice' 20's dresses was in crepe de chine, chiffon, lace, silk voile, georgette, velvet in rayon or silk and marquisette. When using these, the dresses turn out well. Unfortunately the fabrics are difficult to sew and so I tackle each new 20's dress project from original vintage patterns with a bit of trepidation.

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    1. It's true; the 20s does use a lot of tricky fabrics. I've been trying to copy some vintage cotton ones until I get better at designing proportions. Then it's cheaper fabric in case I mess up, and it's much easier to work with!

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  3. I've always had a tough time picturing the loose, kind of shapeless silhouette of the 20s on me, but somehow this simple drapey dress looks so much more approachable while completely capturing the fashion zeitgeist. It almost makes me want to sew my own. :) Good job with it!

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    1. Thank you so much, Lisa! That's good to hear!

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  4. I do love a 1920's one hour! I especially like the fun belt buckle you used, gives it an extra authentic 20's touch! I have trouble straying from the 1 hour, I'd really like to expand into other 20's day wear styles, but as you say it can so easily go wrong into boring sack territory.

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    1. Yeah, it's always such an experiment with 20s dresses! I feel like it's one of those decades that you really need to see the dress ON to decide whether or not it's good for you.

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  5. I completely agree about 1920s styles being hard to fit. I think the key is getting it fitted from the neck and shoulders to near the bust point and then letting it drape from there. Good luck with your experiments! This one looks good.

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    1. Thank you! I actually found a 1920s article after making this about how to get rid of kimono sleeve wrinkles.... well, next time!

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  6. I really, really wish that there were more repro companies making 20s inspired pieces! I'm not a sewer (although that's something that I really should work on), so most of the time I end up faking it by cheating the silhouette out of modern pieces, or luck out by stumbling across 20s inspired looks from high street stores. Is there just not a market for it? It seems a bit silly to me, since you can find 40s and up with relative ease.
    But I'm rambling. I really love this look on you! You've got such a perfect flapper look, and you killed it with this. The dress is spot on, and I love the way that you styled it, with the scarf, the shoes, and especially that HAIR. So Clara Bow.

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    1. Really though!!! More people should make 20s inspired pieces. They're so comfy! I think most people are afraid to buy them and aren't sure how they look on all figures. But I feel like someone should address that with a body-diversity-1920s campaign.... Somebody get on it!!!

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  7. I'd love to see your body-diversity 1920s fashion campaign idea come to life too!

    I have held back due to the "will it suit me" and body shape concerns, but you've hit on some other significant issues here in the general dress shape issues and fabric choices and so on. It's a complicated era to get right. (Now, if I'd wanted to dress 1920s when I was a stick-figure teenager with zero bust...oh well.)

    And I agree with Jessica that your hair is the best best bit of this look. As you say, not enough people doing 20s take this route and it's really fun!

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