Finding a Nice Dress Pattern – How Hard Could it Be?

Ah, the dress. The icing on the super amazing cake that will (hopefully) be my costume, the source of my future fellow LARPers’  jealousy and respect. Or something. I don’t have any hopes for finding free dress patterns, and I’m certainly not going to try to make my own – I’m a decent hobby seamstress, but let’s face it, I’m not going to apply to Project Runway any time soon. Again, perfect historical accuracy is not the priority, so all I had to do was go online, and find some nice shop that carries reproduction patterns to make a stylish, mid-30s outfit which comes in my size and works in cold weather. Should be a snap, right? Wrong, apparently. Astoundingly enough, genuine 30s looks do not dominate today’s fashion industry. That, or I’m looking in all the wrong places.

After going through quite a few sellers of very pretty vintage dresses that are way too valuable to be worn to a LARP, I eventually found Folkwear, a company that sells patterns for “vintage and ethnic garments”. Apart from some nice but not terribly useful patterns (like a cute Russian peasant outfit that I would never find use for) they have a retro department with some good stuff.

249groupThis pattern is called 1930s Day Dress. Pro: It’s a dress! Which is pretty! From the 30s! Con: Well, not so much from the 30s as in the imagined style of. I’m not going for prefect period accuracy here, but it would be nice to know what year I’m almost, kinda dressed for. Also: That dress in October? *Shudder*.

236viewsHere we have something a little more season-appropriate. The Sophisticated Lady (yes, that is what the pattern is called) isn’t specifically dated, or super interesting for that matter, but it’s something. I can’t help but feel that it looks a bit matronly, and possibly not like something a dashing old time investigator (or cultist) would wear if given the choice, but hey – it’s not like the internet has been real forthcoming with providing good alternatives.

I was pretty tapped out from hours of toiling fashionservice1931.08.front1away with search engines, when I finally stumbled on something that was really worth getting excited about: The Magic Bias Slip at Dressmaking Research. This beautiful undergarment from 1931 even comes with construct-it-yourself pattern directions! Suddenly I remembered why I started this project in the first place, and decided to not give up on trying to find a dress pattern that excites me as much as this pretty little thing.

There’s sill a bunch of stuff to do before I can start sewing – for instance, the machine I plan on using resides happily at my sister’s apartment an hour’s trainride away – but at least I have a plan (well, a start) and I can begin the search for fabric. I still don’t have a clue what I’m actually going to look like, but I have a feeling that what’s on underneath is going to make me feel pretty fabulous.