vionnet dress pattern 3 (1919-1920) – handkerchief dress

vionnet3-01I’m back with another Vionnet make! This one is similar to the first dress I made in terms of flowy-ness and fitting, except that the “flaps” hang vertically rather than diagonally. Still cut on the grain and worn on the bias, as usual.

vionnet3-02Here is a photograph of what I assume to be an original Vionnet garment. See how the fabric in the back ripples downward perfectly? That is what is supposed to happen… (Image source here)

vionnet3-03Instead my triangular flap pretty much stays a triangle and leans left. I think I don’t get that nice “ripple” in my flap because my fabric is stiffer and I seem to have my weight on my left leg. Also, the wind is probably blowing in that direction as well.

vionnet3-04Another (original?) Vionnet garment (image source here). There is actually a tutorial for this dress and the author calls this the a jabot dress, which I think is the official term for the flaps. In the tutorial the author says to use square pieces of fabric. That works since the concept is the same, but my pieces were slightly different.

vionnet3-06I’m working from the Japanese Vionnet book, and it used shapes similar to a square, but not exactly. Not a huge difference except my hem isn’t as “jagged” and my shoulder straps are wider as well. The only big difference is that in my version the shoulder straps are twisted.

vionnet3-29Rather than try to explain how this dress is constructed, here is a quick demonstration with the aids of some sticky post it notes. Where I have made folds represents the side seam lines.

vionnet3-30I stapled my seams together, and done! Pretend the top two front triangular points meet the back two triangular points to form the shoulder straps.

vionnet3-09Here is the real life version, you can only see the full triangular jabots form a square if I hold them open with my arms.

vionnet3-31View from the top, you can kind of see how the jabots/flaps stick out on all four sides.

vionnet3-05Photograph used in the Japanese book.

vionnet3-07Also! I discovered a solution to the projection-and-tracing technique I had been doing earlier. I found out I could scan, scale to an accurate printing size, then print it tiled in adobe acrobat. Then cut and tape per usual .pdf pattern assembly. This way the pattern pieces are more accurate and it’s easier since I don’t need a huge wall to project upon and trace.

vionnet3-08The beauty of this dress (and previous dresses) is the unlimited ways of wearing it tailored to the wearer’s preferences. So let’s start with the simplest variation, the version with no sash.

vionnet3-10Here is the dress fully opened.

vionnet3-32Here is the paper model fully opened.

vionnet3-11You can see the twist in the back shoulder straps better here.

vionnet3-12Another animated gif to show you the side flap.

vionnet3-13When worn without the sash, the dress moves around on it’s own whim and there’s no controlling it. If you like drama this is the look to go for.

vionnet3-14Let’s restrain it for a bit. In this variation I’ve opened the front triangle flaps completely open and pushed the remaining three flaps toward the back. This gives a very clean and simple look to the front.

vionnet3-15While the back is a full on ripple party.

vionnet3-16Or, you can have the front diamond slightly opened and allow the side flaps to remain at the side.

vionnet3-17This allows the ripples to be even on all four sides of the dress instead of just one particular side.

vionnet3-18Side view.

vionnet3-19And here’s what happens if I push all the flaps toward the front.

vionnet3-20Ripple party in the front, woohoo!

vionnet3-21You’ve got a dress with a bunch of flaps, so depending how much you open them and in what direction you choose to open them toward, no two looks are ever the same. And then even when you do decide, they’ll certainly slip and slide to whatever position they want as you wear it since they are not “fixed” into the place. The sash is a guide, but certainly not a permanent flap holder. You can also choose to make the sash wider or longer. I’ll be honest, I didn’t use the pattern, I just grabbed a long rectangular scrap of fabric and serged all the sides for my sash.

vionnet3-22You can move the sash up for an empire waist look (not my most flattering silhoutte).

vionnet3-23Or lower it for a drop waist look.

vionnet3-24If you’ve got a nice brooch (I used a hair clip) you can clip (or tie with a ribbon) the front two straps in front of your neck together to create this look.

vionnet3-25It will raise your back V up a bit more.

vionnet3-27Or you can clip the straps together in the back to give fuller back coverage.

vionnet3-26Which in turn creates this halter look for the front.

vionnet3-21An extremely quick make because there are only 4 side seam lines plus 2 shoulder seam lines for a total of 6. Hemming, however, is another story as you’ve got 4 giant squares to hem… Best to hem it before you stitch, which I admit I didn’t do because I was too excited to see how it would look and wear. I hemmed it afterward, which proved a little difficult especially since the straps twist and you have a switch from right to wrong side. My hemming was awful, but without close up photographs you can’t really tell.

vionnet3-28In the end it’s a combination of fabric, wearer decisions, sash height, and wind strength that will determine the final look of this dress.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>