Thursday, July 30, 2015

The One Hour Dress 1920s version

Once I knew what the One Hour Dress was, I saw them everywhere.

Go search on 'one hour dress 1920s'. Go ahead, I'm here all week. is the You Tube ad for the book (original link is dead)

but here it is on Amazon.

There are a million variations on the One Hour Dress. I based my pattern on this image I found online, which turns out to be from a pretty nifty pattern on Etsy. 
Give her your $3, you won't be sorry. 
the alder shirtdress does it too
It's a pullover design of the early 20s, a tube with  a horizontal slash at the hip that gathers the side fabric extension into the main body as a skirt. 

A one piece pattern that is easy to draft, uses fabric very efficiently.

Probably easy to make from flour sacks.

The versions out there are generally pretty dumpy, but if you look at the illustrations using this style, there's a lot of sweet details.

The slash goes from side to side, and is wrapped with the same white cotton on the vertical appliques

Another slash across the center front, with the red bias finish making either belt loops or something to pull your dishtowel through (seen it both ways).

In both of these examples, the seam is on the 'right side' and is covered with a different fabric trim.

The One Hour dress is on the upper left with the boatneck and the flowers

You're just laying the pattern over prepleated/tucked fabric here

Dear reader, of course I made one...

Yes, you are drafting your own pattern from a formula and measurements.

I should mention that the Superboard isn't the most accurate for cutting precise measurements; the grid gets shortened lengthwise with the folds in the board.
But it gets the job done

drew a neck hole based on my head

shoulder seam line

started drafting from the neckhole out. A plastic sword makes a good paper weight/spreading device

ripped to grain up the fabric, folded it crossgrain and doubled

The one pattern piece laid out

Marked a front and a back neckline; will cut both for the back and then one for the lowered front

I could have used the minimal scrap for a facing for the neck line, or pockets
I haven't added pockets.

thread gathered the skirt extention to tack it to the bodice (seam G for those of you playing along at home)

I put black bias tape over the gathered seam G (sewed that with the seam allowance to the right side). Also finished the neckline with the stuff.

All the bits for this came from the stash, for once.

All the interior finishing was zig zag stitch over the seam allowance.
Period would have been pinked, but rayon can be ....capricious.

It is waaaaay too wide (the bodice should be your chest measurement plus 2", NOT plus 8". I also need to find a better place to take photos and find another face to make in those photos.
On the other hand, it's rayon so it's drapey and the finished object isn't out of scale for the period. Kinda a William Morris rose.

It's a sack dress, without darts or extra cuts. It's kinda sweet, kinda frumpy, and I plan on wearing it tomorrow night to the theater.
Not the theatre.


  1. I have been aware of this pattern for a long time, so it is interesting to see it made up. I like the fabric mix. I wonder is it one hour to draft the pattern, or one hour to make the dress up? And how long did it actually take?

  2. It would have taken about two hours for the whole thing if I didn't dither about covering the seam of the side gathers, or screw up the usuals along the way. The pattern itself is one big rectangle, so that's a tape measure and a couple of pieces of news print.
    The One Hour Dresses I've seen that I've loved either use a piece of fabric that has details worked into it (embroidered tablecloths) or border prints. I would love to see some real flour sack dresses to see how that plays into it.
    It is a bigger field of inquiry than I had previously thought.

  3. About to try this, using a tablecloth with an embroidered edge. All cut and paste. Wish me luck.

  4. I wonder if the pattern is big to give 1920s readers room for their underestimation of their size -- or if dresses were much roomier back then than we are used to having them today.

    1. Hey, thanks! I think I had a math problem laying this out. Added what I thought was one inch.....turns into four when the piece is folded and repeated...

      I'm a reasonably smart person, but this is something that does get away from me. Friends don't let friends cut fabric tired.

  5. I keep trying to figure how to sew the skirt gather to the never makes sense to me, especially when you cut it all as one piece. How did you manage it?

    1. Sorry for the delay here. On line G, you slash the fabric into the body from the edge; you gather the longer lower edge and sew it to the shorter upper edge. Yes, you're taking it up and creating a seam that stops and may make a bulge. I've taken to covering that seam up with bias tape to smooth it out (and reinforce it). So far, it's held up really well. And thanks.

    2. There are other ways to sew the bottom. I always cut my pattern in two pieces. I just created something really cool, I did 2 inch folded gathers on each sides of the front and back of the top piece. I used 2 inch folds because I needed it to measure 24 inches across when doubled and it measured 32. I needed to removed 8 inches, so you can figure out how much you need. I really find the pattern works better doing it in two pieces. I have made a few of these and each time I do or learn something different. I still get confused with the top piece and cutting it, but somehow all my hand written notes help me through.

    3. I like that! Hand written notes on the pattern pieces are great reminders (my favorite of mine is PAY ATTENTION HERE!!!)


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