Folkwear - Paper Sewing Pattern - 215 Empire Dress

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Late 1700's inspired Empire dress paper sewing pattern by Folkwear.

This high-waisted dress known today as "empire" was worn in the period following the French Revolution in the late 1700s. Often called a "chemise gown" to satirize its scandalous brevity and lack of undergarments, it reflected a desire to return to simpler, classical Grecian dress after the excesses of the European nobility and patriot alike. It's peak of popularity was during the "First Empire" period (1799-1815); hence its name. It was worn floor length or as high as knee length in front; trains were also worn for day or evening until 1806. The Empire Dress has remained a favorite fashion silhouette until today.

Folkwear presents a sewing pattern for this classic in three lengths, with two sleeve options. A narrow bodice is gathered into a slim A-line skirt front and side panels, and full gathered skirt back that falls to just bellow knee length, full length, or full length with train for weddings or formal wear.

On the traditional version, drawstrings fit the bodice firmly to the bust and tie at center back. For contemporary wear, we suggest a closed back and elastic in place of the drawstrings. Short puffed sleeves may be cut very high of slightly longer - both are authentic. The longer sleeves features button and cord detailing.

Suggested fabrics: Soft, lightweight or medium-weight fabrics such as cotton gauze, batiste, dotted Swiss, rayon challis, silk, very lightweight silk velvet with drape.

Fabric Requirements: See images.

Sizes Included: XS - 3XL

Folkwear provides sewing patterns that are based on authentic vintage and folk garments from around the world, with special focus on embellishment details, history, and honor of the garments and the cultures and times they originate from.

"We believe that sewing is made richer, and therefore more enjoyable, when you understand more about the garments you have been inspired to make - including their histories and cultures." - Folkwear


At Truro Fabrics we're a small, family-run business in the heart of Cornwall, UK. We love compiling our carefully chosen fabric collections and sharing beautiful products with our customers. All orders are lovingly wrapped in recycled tissue and re-purposed packaging, ready to arrive and be made into exciting creations.

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