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We all think the clothing of the 1930s is beautiful. But there’s one big reasons we don’t have closets full of 1930s clothing — the bias. Sewing on the bias is a serious pain in the butt. It takes patience and care and it can still go terribly wrong and your machine will eat up you fabric.
Today, I’m going to show you how to make a bias cut 1930s dress without sewing anything on the bias. Seriously. Not a single seam is on the bias!
This is a dress designed by Madeleine Vionnet in 1929. This dress is documented in Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 2: Englishwomen’s Dresses and Their Construction c1860-1940. It is housed in the Centre du Documentation due Costume in Paris. It is made from two layers of silk gauze, ivory and black, and embroidered with pink flowers. The dress appears to have a very complicated construction, but it is in face made from rectangular skirt panels sewn to a square bodice that is turned 45 degrees to the bias.
Remember the 20-minute Vionnet? Well, this is more like the 10-minute version.
Take three 35″ square silk scarves (I recommend the pre-hemmed silk scarves from Dharma Trading). That’s it. Just three.
The unsewn parts of the folded scarf make lovely sleeves. And the other two carves make a gorgeous handkerchief hem. You can cut the neckline into any shape you want.
Even unpressed and right out of the dryer, you can see the slinky bias cut working its charm on the dress form. And you didn’t have to sew on the bias once. You didn’t even have to cut on the bias! Told ya.
© 2012 Kass McGann. All Rights Reserved. The Author of this work retains full copyright for this material.