20th Century, Sewing

Vionnet’s 1920s chiton dress – a catch up post

I ran out of time to post about the finished Vionnet chiton dress before Pompeii to Paris (though I did post about the initial construction), so I feel it is well time you got a proper catch up.

The really fabulous thing about making the chiton dress was that the inspiration frock practically came with a pattern.  There was a picture of it laid out flat:

The chiton dress - flat

And an image of Vionnet’s original design sketch, showing how she envisioned it looking on a model:

Vionnet's design sketch for the dress

And finally, an image of the surviving original dress on a mannequin:

The original chiton dress on a mannequin

Between these three images it was very easy to calculate the approximate dimensions of the original dress, and cut out a reasonable replica from vintage kimono crepe:

The chiton dress pieces - all laid out in their places

Two hours of picot edging and darning stitch to join the pieces later, I had a dress:

The necklace is a bit red and flapper for Vionnet's vision, but the dress needs it in photographs to provide contrast and 'pop'

It fits me very snugly (very modern, it shows off what a great bottom I have), Isabella the mannequin like a glove, and itsy-bitsy petite Anna in a perfectly period, slightly loose 1920s style.

As a recreation I love the 'chiton' ends, but they are a bit much for everyday wear

The darning stitch join across the bust

Not sure how I feel about the dress with a belt - though that is how Vionnet designed it

The little kimono mon hiding beneath a chiton flap

The dress was so easy I’m thinking of making another one that is proper ’20s’ size on me.  In other words – 4 sizes larger than what I usually wear!


  1. It really looks easy – so easy that I’d want to try it out, too. For a doll, most probably. I do not think it’s “me” enough to make it for myself…
    Your first version is very pretty and looked gorgeous on Anna!

  2. Paul Miller says

    I love this dress, chiton ends and all. I wonder what a crop top of the same exact design would look like, over skinny, dressy jeans and ballet slipper flats?

  3. Paul Miller says

    Yep, just the top two. If you really wanted to depart, you’d do it in a wide, horizontal stripe. I’m getting a “Fame” homage thing in my head.

    • I like where you are going…especially with the wide stripe. Not for me though – you need a distinct lack of hips to carry that look off!

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