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 for the skirt here and the pattern for the body here - thanks Chelsea Ridenour for posting it in the comments! 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.


  1. it looks great! especially in that fabric! :) way to go ikea :P you have to send it to a dress a day, I'm sure she'd like it :) especially with the pockets :D

  2. She actually has the pattern on her page already :)
    I had to check.

  3. Oooh very pretty :) Looking forward to seeing it on the dance floor! ;P

  4. Sooo pretty! If I didn't have one pretty much like it already (H&M, actually) I'd make one right away.

  5. Jättsnyggt! Gillar särskilt fickorna, saknas på allt för många klänningar.

  6. Bella Bella Bella! :)


  7. Jättefin! Ska kanske gräva fram symaskinen själv också... :)

  8. hi!! Does anyone still have the pattern saved for this dress? I would love to make it, but unfortunately the link to download the pattern no longer works. If you could send me the pattern in my email or some other way, that would be amazing! My email is

  9. Hi, I'm trying to track down a copy of that beautiful dress pattern. Do you still have a copy please? The V&A website doesn't have the pattern anymore.

  10. I can't find the dress pattern anymore… Do you have it on a PDF file and can you mail it to me… It's a must diy dress :)

  11. Hi, I stumbled across this post while looking for 50s style dress patterns and I love this. It's beautiful. The link to the pattern isn't working any more, however. Do you still have the pattern?

  12. hi, sorry the link is broken, is there anywhere else i can get it from, please, it looks gorgeous

  13. Hi!

    The pattern can now be found at

    Happy dressmaking joy to you all!

  14. Fantastic use of the pattern in the fabric. It makes you want to go out and make one yourself.

  15. Hejsan,
    fantastisk klänning men jag får ingen ordning på mönsterdelarna. I vilken ordning ska de tejpas ihop när man printat dem?

  16. Helene, det står nog på mönsterdelarna.

    Men om du håller dem i den hög de kommer i när du printar ut dem, och radar ut dem en i sänder brevid varandra (om jag minns rätt så var det typ 5 i rad) innan du "byter rad", så borde du få dem perfekt lagda. Efteråt måste du sedan ännu klippa ut längs med de sträckade linjerna den storlek du vill ha.

    Kom ihåg: jag själv är str 36 (fast nu som mamma mera str 40) upplevde att övre delens axelparti satt väldigt tajt, så jag ökade lite på vissa mått där.

  17. hi
    i find the pattern for cut. thanks. but is there somewhere a manual for the sewing? :)
    eller på tak :))

  18. Hej,
    Har letat som en galning efter detta mönster och blev helt överlycklig över att du lagt upp mönstret. Men det är bara med kjoldelarna i den pdf du lagt upp. Livdelarna, (del 1-10?) saknas. Har du även den pdf-en kvar? Och kan du i så fall snälla, snälla lägga upp även den? Vill så gärna sy den, blev helt kär i din version.


  19. Hi, I would like to make the beautiful dress and printed the pattern, but there is only the skirt. Is it possible to have the rest of the pattern also please.

    Great thanks


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