How to Create Flapper Dress Patterns

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The Roaring Twenties was a time when women let go of the corsets and bustles and embraced a looser, wilder style. One important symbol of these times was the flapper dress. Short, unstructured and celebrating a youthful, slender shape, the flapper dress turned heads throughout the decade. If you are interested in having your own flapper dress, the best way to start is by creating a flapper dress pattern.

Things You'll Need

  • Pattern for a slip
  • Pattern paper
  • Scissors
  • Chalk
  • Find a slip pattern. Some good slip patterns that you can use for this purpose include McCall's 5651, Kwik Sew 2930 and Lekala 5241.

  • Cut out your slip pattern. Be careful to cut it to the lines that match your size and needs. Do not hesitate to err on the larger side. Flapper dresses were known to be fairly loose through the chest.

  • Spread out your pattern paper. Carefully lay it out flat on the floor or on a table. Make sure that there are no wrinkles that might give you problems when cutting your fabric.

  • Lay your slip pattern on the paper, leaving a fair amount of space beneath the pattern for you to to extend it.

  • Trace the slip pattern pieces onto your pattern paper using chalk. Leave the lowest edge, where the bottom hem would be, blank.

  • Remove the slip pattern pieces. You should have their shape faithfully recorded on your pattern paper.

  • Determine how long you want your flapper dress to be. Some dresses will fall to the knee, while others will fall to your shins.

  • Measure the distance from your waist to where you want the dress to fall.

  • Draw lines from the bottom of each slip pattern piece to extend it. Use the measurement that you have just taken to determine how long each piece should be. Flare the lines to give you enough room for your hips, but remember that most authentic flapper dresses fell straight down.

  • Cut out your new pattern pieces.

Tips & Warnings

  • Look at pictures of flapper dresses from the '20s. This will give you an idea of the shape that you are looking for.
  • If you are an experienced tailor, draft the pattern above, but give the dress a waistline by cutting the top and the skirt of the dress separately. Dresses of the '20s had very low waistlines that could be 6 inches to 1 foot below the natural waistline.
  • Synthetic fabrics were not common during the twenties, so stick to natural fibers like linen and cotton. Tropical-weight wool can also be a great choice.

References

  • Photo Credit Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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