Decades of Style #2005: 1920s Baltimore Dress

With the premiere of Downton Abbey just around the corner, I decided I really wanted to make Decades of Style #2005: 1920s Baltimore Dress. I know I just made the 1 Hour Dress but hey—I’m a girl. I like options. And now I have them.

The Baltimore Dress was a little involved, given that the entire front of the dress has to be pieced together first. And there are a LOT of bias cuts, which all have to be stabilized before you even begin sewing. But overall, the dress went together really easy.

The biggest challenge I had was in the yardage requirements, as the pattern calls for 2 yards for the main fabric and 1 yard for the contrast. I managed the two yards of the main fabric but had to get really creative with my cuts to make it fit. And no matter how carefully I laid out the contrast, I needed 1 1/2 yards to get the pieces to lay right. If the front center panel hadn’t needed the triangular pieces to hang on a bias, I could have fudged it by tracing out a full piece, rather than the cut on fold piece, and lined up on the straight grain with one edge. But those bias cuts require a huge amount of yardage, and As I needed to cut at the largest size thanks to my incredible curves, there was no fudging the fold lines on this one. I needed 1 1/2 yards to make the contrast work.

But once I got it cut out, the pattern stitched together beautifully. Even given that I purchased the wrong stay tape (pattern calls for fusible—I bought the sew in kind. This added at least an hour to the project as I carefully sewed in each piece of stay tape before actual construction began). Stitching in the stay tape and hand finishing the armholes, neckline and hemline were the biggest time investments. I even threw in edge stitching along all seams to make sure they stayed put as pressed—this was not a requirement of the pattern, merely my own personal preference.

The pattern includes 3/8” seam allowance which is considerably more narrow than commercially available patterns, but easy to work with, provided you pay attention and don’t drift in to the standard 5/8” seam allowance. This pattern would be easy for an advanced beginner to work with and a piece of cake for intermediate to advanced sewers. But I love the finished project and can’t wait to wear it to the Downton Abbey movie next Sunday.