How to Make a Flapper Dress

Things You'll Need

  • Patterns of Time 1920s dress pattern
  • Muslin
  • Fabric
  • Sewing machine and supplies
  • Notions

Vintage enthusiasts, costumers and regular folks alike enjoy the look of the 1920s flapper style. The decade is remembered as a time of social rebellion against Prohibition, traditional values and moral restrictions. Prized at the time for being daring, sexy and carefree, flapper dresses are back in vogue today. Modern women are bringing back the flapper dress for costumes, to add diversity to their wardrobes, and to show off the flattering silhouette. To make your own flapper dress, follow these instructions.

Choose the pattern you would like to use. Patterns of Time makes an accurate 1920s flapper dress pattern, but some may prefer the flashier Simplicity costume patterns.

Take your measurements. Women's clothing is measured at the bust, waist, hip, back waist length, front waist length, shoulder-to-bust, shoulder length, back width length, arm length, upper arm and shoulder-to-elbow. Also measure the hem length you would like, but leave some extra length for errors.

Determine the pattern size that best suits your measurements. Remember that you can make adjustments on the existing sizing, so go with a size that fits the biggest part of you and adjust from there. Cut the pattern pieces.

Create a full-test version, or mock-up, of the flapper dress in cheap muslin fabric. Put the dress on as you sew and make adjustments to the sizing so it fits your body. Remember that flapper dresses should be fun and flirty, and they can show off your curves. Although flappers traditionally were thin and flat-chested, iconic flapper characters like Betty Boop had curves. When you're finished, try the dress on one last time and make all final adjustments.

Take apart the mock-up flapper dress carefully and use the sections in place of the original pattern pieces, so you get the most accurate and flattering fit in your final dress.

Remake the dress in the fashion fabric of your choice. Fabric for a flapper dress can be just about anything, although the best dresses were heavily beaded and often done in a sheer fabric, so that the color of the lady's slip dress undergarment would show through. Before finishing hems and details, try the dress on to make sure there were no sizing mistakes. If the dress fits to your satisfaction, complete all finishing details.


  • To top off the flapper look, consider stockings, heels and 1920s head wear. Most flappers had shockingly short hair that lent itself well to the popular hats of the time. Also consider adding a variety of long, dangling jewelry like big necklaces, earrings and bracelets.