Thursday, November 3, 2011

1920s Evening Gown Tutorial

I finally have found some time to blog, so here is one of the tutorials I promised.

1920s Evening Gown

You will need:

2-3 yards satin
2-3 yards chiffon
1 lace embellishment

All seam allowances are 1/2" unless otherwise noted.

I started by finding three yards each of coordinating satin and chiffon. I got a great deal on these two fabrics. Just $2.99 per yard!

Next, I measured my widest part (hips) and added an inch for SA. This brought me to a 50" width. Now, because this was just for a costume and most of the clothes in the 1920s had NO shape whatsoever, I ended up cutting a large rectangle for the dress. I measured the length I wanted then cut two pieces of satin fabric, length x 50". Next, I cut two pieces from the chiffon material, only I made it one inch wider than the satin. I cut two pieces 51" x length. I now had four pieces of cut material. Set aside the chiffon and lat the two pieces of satin right sides together on a cutting mat with the top on the mat, like this:

I knew I wanted a boatneck for this dress, so I chose a dress from my closet that had a boatneck to use as a template for cutting the neckline. I also used this dress as a template for the arm holes.

Using chalk, trace just outside the line, leaving room for your 1/2" SA.

Because I was making a shift dress with no form, I drew the arm holes straight to the edge of the fabric rather than adding a waist to the dress as shown in the previous picture.

Next, I laid my two cut pieces of satin wrong sides together with the back of the dress face up. Lay one piece of chiffon on the back lining up the far edges of the chiffon with the outer edges of the dress sleeve. This should result in a swooped chiffon neckline as seen here:

I used the selvaged edge of the chiffon because I didn't want to hem it, and I figured since it was just for a costume, it wouldn't matter. Also, I placed my lace embellishment on the dress so I could see the placement. It is not sewn on yet.

Pin the chiffon in place at the shoulders and turn the dress over. This time, when you lay the chiffon over the front of the dress, lay the chiffon straight across so there is no swooping neckline. Instead, take the chiffon and pleat it on the shoulders so the far corner of the chiffon and the outer point of the sleeves meet. The neckline of the chiffon should be taut.

Now, turn the pieces so they are right sides together. Match up the shoulder pieces (should be satin, tight chiffon from the back, pleated chiffon from the front, satin)then pin. Sew the shoulder seams with a zig zag stitch.

Next, pin together the satin sides and sew up the seam with a zig zag stitch. Be careful to only sew the satin and not the chiffon. Pull the satin right side out leaving the chiffon wrong side out. Sew up the chiffon sides just like the satin ones. Be careful to only sew the chiffon and use a zig zag stitch. Now pull the dress completely right side out and try it on to make sure it fits. All that's left is to hem the bottom (I used selvege on the bottom so I wouldn't have to, but you can it you choose to not use the selveged edges), hem the arm holes seperately (meaning hem the satin, then hem the chiffon. Don't hem them together), and hem the fron neckline. I chose to cut the chiffon to match the front of the dress boatneck, then use a decorative stitch to hem them together. I turned the chiffon and satin over together here, unlike the arm holes where I hemmed them seperately. The last thing I did was add my lace embellishment to the back with a few hand stitches.

The dress was perfect. I put on an eleastic belt that I had in my closet over the satin layer, but under the chiffon layer to give it just a little shape. I was going to wear it lower to give the illusion of a drop waist, but it kept riding up (I've got big hips). The best parts were that I could move in it and sit in it. If I were to make one of these again, I might make the dress have more of a flare bottom. I wore this to a murder mystery party and found it was quite difficult to take the stairs in this dress.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask! Also, I am going to link this up over at TNT Thursdays at Happy Quilting. Check it out!


  1. This looks fabulous! You are amazing with those dresses!!

  2. Tres Chic! The dress is amazing! Great Job!

  3. That is so gorgeous. You look great! Thanks for linking @ This Week.

  4. What a beautiful dress, I am in awe of how you managed to do not one, but two fab 20s gowns! And very grateful that your tutorials are so clear. I am helping my niece make a flapper dress for a new year's eve party and will definitely be using your tutorial - thanks so much for sharing


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