Presenting the 1956 Patou Dress by Marc Bohan #V1350

The Vogue #1350 Patou ensemble was featured in the Nov. 15, 1956 issue of Vogue magazine. Here is the photograph:

With this description:

...and here is the line drawing:

Here is my re-imagined version, created 64 years later!

The skirt portion was made from a dull duchess satin from Mood Fabrics. The lace bodice was underlined with a white silk taffeta. The bolero, belt, and cummerbund were crafted in silk-wool from Fishman's Fabrics in Chicago.

This was one of the more difficult patterns I've encountered, which is ironic since Bohan was known for his “deceptive simplicity." There is certainly a lot more beneath the surface to his seeming simplicity.

Nailing the proportions for the cummerbund and jacket was critical.

Bolero and Cummerbund made in Silk Wool

After recreating a couple of Bohan’s designs, I can finally understand what “deceptive“ means. This dress wasn't at all simple to make. The instructions lacked clarity, and skipped many important descriptive steps along the way. There was a moment when I actually considered abandoning the project! I spent hours and days trying to figure out how to assemble the pieces, especially regarding the complicated draping in the back.

The back drape that you see below is all one gathered piece, entirely sewn by hand. The draping required numerous orgami twists and turns which were more intuitive than descriptive. In other words, I had to shape the pattern the way Bohan seemed to want it to ultimately fall, without any guidance (except from the limited photographs). For the longest time as I experimented, the required shaping remained confusing. I would not be able to recreate precisely what I did from memory with the draping, but I did my best to emulate Bohan's vision.

This dress was a challenge from start to finish, but I learned a few new dressmaking techniques and gained an even deeper respect for Mr. Marc Bohan's genius.


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