Making a vintage (couture) dress from scratch

For those who don't know it yet, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London is one of the worlds museums devoted to design.

In 2007, they held an exhibition titled


The name makes it quite obvious what the exhibition was about, but what relevant here for us is the fact that V&A Museum keeps the sites devoted to past exhibitions open after the event itself is over. Thus, you can enjoy the free pattern of a vintage couture dress - written by the museum's designer.

[later edit: the link above is broken, but you can find the pattern here :) I put it up on my G Drive, but all the credit and copyright goes to brilliant designer Juliana Sissons who made the pattern for V&A in 2006]

Using the pattern made me able to create the following dress (see the photos). I had to modify the pattern slightly to fit my relatively flat chest and still fit around my hips (the pattern's size 10 was close to my shape, but didin't quite fit my bosom).

And I must say: thank you! Anna-Neah for blogging about (among lots of other nice things) making and sewing dresses. And admitting that the sky doesn't fall down even if something goes wrong while you sew. And that sewing with IKEA-fabrics is quite okay too :)

I used both IKEA "Rosmarie" and black "Ditte" for this dress, and a 50 cm off-white zipper. I pre-washed the fabric, so that it wouldn't shrink later. Thank you Maria for telling me about such things!

Look - it has lovely big pockets!
Don't mind me looking a bit emo - Micke acted his best
 "Daaahlin' - I'm photographing you fo' Vouge
 so you bettah pose!". 
Although the pattern only calls for a lining on the body
and not the skirt, I still made the lining with a skirt.
This way, I think I can add an under-skirt for it in winter,
and not have it itch me crazy.
Note to self: next time you should choose a fabric
with a more uniform pattern. I nevertheless managed to
fiddle with the pattern pieces so that I got one complete
rose on my back.
Next time, I'll use a slightly thinner cotton fabric, but other than that I must say it turned out great. Even though I poked a lot of needles into my fingers... Pins are such pests!

How much did this cost me? Let's see:
  • 9,88 euros for black Ditte (bought 2,5 m, didn't use all)
  • 14,28 euros for Rosmarie (bought 2,40 m, didn't use all)
  • 1,30 euros for the 50 cm zipper
Total of 25,46 euros.