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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wedding Dress Patterns Through the Decades

 I thought it would be fun to post a little retrospective of the many styles of wedding dresses that were available to home sewists over the last several decades. This would be the ultimate retro sewing project!
 These patterns can be found on Etsy of course!

Here is a rare 1930's pattern. Bias cut skirts influenced by the Great Madame Vionnet were de rigeur in this period. Madame Vionnet had a universal influence on fashion in the 1930's. Her bias cut gowns were widely copied and sewing patterns of the time reflect that. I recently made a wedding gown with a charmeuse skirt cut on the bias. The fit is actually quite sexy.

An example of a wartime 1940's pattern above. Women were urged to save fabric during the war and many shorter trainless styles and short sleeved styles were made.

Another 1940's pattern .

Late1940's. Very modest indeed. Note the use of more fabric after the end of the war.

Another long sleeved 40's pattern. It's rare to see a wedding dress now with sleeves, let alone long ones. Although, we are already seeing a return to them on the heels of  Pricess Kate's wedding gown reveal. I for one am happy to see sleeves again. There is nothing more annoying than tugging up an ill fitting strapless gown all evening.
A gorgeous 1950's confection above. It reminds me of Grace Kelly.
I love the elegance of the many gored panels on this 50's pattern.

A late 1950's pattern. You can see the influence Dior's New Look had on fashion and the re-emergence of the full skirt after the straighter forties styles.

1960's. The Jackie O pillbox hat says it all.
Very modern and chic  60's headpieces to be worn for the bride or bridesmaids.

Late 50's or early 1960's. This is obviously before the later swinging sixties look. Very sweet and demure.

Here we have the late 60's look. My mom had a haircut just like the model in the yellow dress. Very Mary Quant and stiff.

This and the next two patterns are from the 70's. So folksy!

70's again. this is for the modern woman. The Charlie Girl. I could see Lauren Hutton in this. She was the ultimate 70's icon to me.

Let's not forget the eighties where sleeves got really big ! Leg of Mutton sleeves, they were called . I don't think this look has been out long enough to be appreciated yet!
So would  any of you consider sewing yourselves a wedding gown from a vintage pattern? And have any of you ever tried making one before?


  1. "Leg of Mutton Sleeve"- how glamorous! Ha ha! I have a 60's bell skirt wedding dress and bridesmaids pattern that I am going to make for me to wear to my sister's wedding this fall. Very neat to see the styles morph through the decades.

  2. Brings back memories. I used at least two or three of these old patterns for fancy dresses for dances for my sisters in the 1970's and 80's.

  3. there was a really different dress in the early 70's them compared to current style ... the picture reminded me of that ... anyways thanks for the article


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