How to sew a 1920s flapper dress pattern

Updated April 17, 2017

Though it may be intimidating to sew an entire dress, few dress patterns are simpler than a 1920s-"flapper"-style dress. The design is simple to replicate because the style has a straight, uncontoured silhouette, and therefore requires minimal complex seaming. It is basically a T-shirt with a skirt sewn on. Many patterns from the time boast a one-hour total project time, which is just as alluring today as it has ever been. The project does not even require formal measurements, since it is not a fitted garment.

Follow the directions on the pattern and acquire the necessary fabric to make the dress. Depending on the length of the dress, you will need 2 or 3 metres (2 or 3 yards).

Cut out the pattern from the pattern paper. Pin the pattern pieces (you should have just one to three) to the fabric close together but not overlapping. Cut the fabric in the same shapes as the patterns.

Remove the pins holding the paper to the fabric and put away the pattern. Pin the pieces of fabric together as directed on the pattern.

Sew the pieces together, removing the pins as you go. You may use a needle and thread or a sewing machine. The machine will be faster and create a more secure seam. Make sure the sides facing up while you sew are the inside of the dress so that the seams will be hidden when you wear the dress.

Add buttons or embellishment, like fringe or sequins, as desired.


Accessorise with long, layered necklaces, a bobbed hairstyle (or faux bob updo), and a headband.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric, about 3 metres (3 yards)
  • Iron
  • Buttons
  • Thread
  • Needle or sewing machine
  • Straight pins
  • Scissors
  • Dress pattern
  • Embellishment, if desired
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About the Author

Grace Riley has been a writer and photographer since 2005, with work appearing in magazines and newspapers such as the "Arkansas Democrat-Gazette." She has also worked as a school teacher and in public relations and polling analysis for political campaigns. Riley holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in American studies, political science and history, all from the University of Arkansas.