Free Pattern from the V&A!

by Erin on September 20, 2007

V&A couture pattern

Click here to find a free pattern from the V&A for (I think) the dress above. It's in UK sizes 10,12, & 14 (I have no idea what those sizes are in Red-Blooded American, but I'm assuming that's something that's Google-able), and it prints on A4 paper (of which I used to have a stash but don't any longer). So all in all I'm not certain how easy this will be for those outside the Empire to manage, but hey, free pattern for cute dress!

Many thanks to Nora and Catherine, who sent me links to this, and to the associated V&A exhibit, The Golden Age of Couture 1947-1957. Which, delightfully, will still be around when I'm in London in October. Hurrah!

I'm thinking it might just be time for me to become a member of the V&A. Have to encourage this sort of thing!

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Ladygrande (Texas Marie) September 20, 2007 at 9:44 am

What a lovely dress! Thanks for sharing the link. Very interesting “on-line” tour. Have fun when you actually visit it. Marie


.x.Helen.x. September 20, 2007 at 10:07 am

Broadly speaking American sizes are one size different to UK. So UK 10-12-14 is approx US 8-10-12 or if you’re used to BurdaWOF sizes, its a 36-38-40.The pattern instructions gives sizing in cms, but to convert into inches thats:UK 10 – B32.5, W25, H34.5 UK 12 – B34, W26.5, H36 hipsUK 14 – B36, W28, H38The V&A has a great little site – I seem to remember there were some vintage knitting patterns on there too?


KibitzKnitz September 20, 2007 at 10:09 am

And it’s got Pockets! :^)


Allison September 20, 2007 at 10:10 am

A couple days ago, Kathleen Fasanella at Fashion Incubator linked to a neat article in the Guardian about the Zemire dress. Her post is here. Neat stuff!


melissa September 20, 2007 at 10:39 am

fantastic! I can’t wait to go to the exhibition! And Erin – when you’re in London you MUST come to our big ol’ barge and see the Glastonbury dress in person! Drop me an email if you’ve got a spare evening in your schedule.


Anonymous September 20, 2007 at 10:41 am

I really love the material. Is that a border print?Linda


Saint Pud September 20, 2007 at 10:42 am

That tuck up at the bustline really makes the whole dress. Lovely! Wish I could have the fabric, too.


TransplantedOkie September 20, 2007 at 10:51 am



twollin September 20, 2007 at 11:13 am

Oh, did you see the “design a shoe” contest on the same page? Left hand side, in the links, right under the Couture dress item.


Moonwishes September 20, 2007 at 12:04 pm

I love this dress. the fabric is great! Boy do I miss my waistline as it disappeared awhile ago and I would need it for this dress.


Emily September 20, 2007 at 1:40 pm

I’d disagree with Helen on the relative sizes of UK vs US dresses. Currently, I think there are 2 dress sizes between them; in other words, a US 4 is a UK 8, etc. But like US sizes, UK ones have altered over the years (got bigger)!Also, the A4 etc paper sizing system (IS0) is used everywhere in the ‘developed’ world certainly apart from US, Canada and parts of Mexico (apparently, see ). Nerdiness over.


WendyB September 20, 2007 at 2:35 pm

Wow!!! So nice! And IMHO, a UK 10 = a US 6.


The Momma Chronicles September 20, 2007 at 2:56 pm

About dress sizes… when I bought my wedding dress in 2002, it was US18/UK22. If anyone cares, that is.About today’s dress… I totally agree. Big fat siiiiiigh of contentment just taking in all the happy elements. The fabric, the bodice, the fabric, the pockets, the fabric…


Anonymous September 20, 2007 at 3:17 pm

Oh yess for the V & A!!!!Does anyone know how many sheets of A4 it would take to print this out??


bani September 20, 2007 at 3:20 pm
Kate in England September 20, 2007 at 3:36 pm

Sizes here in RTW are indeed 4 digits larger than in the US – so a US 8 is a UK 12, US 10 is a UK 14. I have done a lot of shopping on both sides of the pond and can guarantee this to be the case. However, looking at the measurements someone posted, that pattern looks to be based on the old-fashioned “standard” measurements, which makes the sizing different to anything in RTW on either side of the Atlantic. I can’t WAIT for this exhibition, I’ve had my ticket booked for a long time and plan to go more than once. I saw the the book today and it’s 35GBP, but Amazon already has it for 22.75 – I am very torn with this, because I like to support the niche/speciality bookstores that sell this kind of book (and also the V&A itself), but that’s 30% cheaper, with free shipping – it’s hard to turn down.


enc September 20, 2007 at 5:18 pm

I wear a 6 at places like JCrew and Anthropologie, and I wear a 12 in UK.


phoenix September 20, 2007 at 6:23 pm

So, so pretty!


standgale September 20, 2007 at 7:14 pm

for those who have not looked at the pdfs (perhaps your internet connection is slow) there are 9 pages of fairly detailed instructions, 20 pages for the bodice and 42 pages for the skirt. I’m thinking of only printing the bodice and just making up the skirt.The sizes, in centimetres, and the fabric and notion requirements are in the instructions.


Pencils September 20, 2007 at 7:48 pm

British sizing really depend on the manufacturer, and on which end of the spectrum you are. The smaller sizes are indeed farther apart, but the larger sizes like 14, 16, 18 are closer. I’m quite fond of Boden, and I wear a 16L there, when I’m a 14 American. On my last trip to Top Shop two years ago, I was often too small for 16′s and bought some 14′s. But in other high street stores I was definitely a 16, sometimes even an 18 because I’m so tall. Seemed odd to me as in the US, the less expensive the store, the smaller the garments tend to be (except at Old Navy), until you get to quite expensive lines, and then they get smaller again as the price goes up. It makes it very hard to shop. :(


Heather September 20, 2007 at 8:08 pm

I want to come to London, too! I didn’t get to the V&A last time I was there. Thanks for the link to the collection. Voided Silk Velvet Dress: to die for!


PaperDollyGirl September 20, 2007 at 9:22 pm

WOW! Great post alerting us to a fabulous dress. I would love to make something like this.


.x.Helen.x. September 21, 2007 at 4:49 am

Oops! Checked a Simplicity pattern and the measurements match up to UK10-12-14 on there, but maybe its best to just ignore the dress sizes and look at the measurement chart.Ah the joys of ready-to-wear sizing! (not!)


Anonymous September 21, 2007 at 6:45 am

Conversion Chart for a variety of sizes & countries is available at:


Anonymous September 21, 2007 at 8:44 am

The instructions for printing the pattern say (a) set up your printer for no scaling, and (b) that each page has a small margin built in. I tried printing it on 8.5 x 11 paper and it seemed to work out OK, due to the margins. A4 paper is about 8.25 x 11.5, in case anyone is wondering about the size difference. Now I just need to tape all of the pages together. I hope I don’t need to eat my words.Amy


woodsywoman September 21, 2007 at 9:32 am

On the topic of free patterns… has everyone seen that is giving away 1 free pattern? No strings, just $3 shipping! Designer patterns are excluded, I believe, but there are lots of cute options in their new fall line.


vespabelle September 21, 2007 at 12:15 pm

I think this dress is really all about the fabric! The V&A should tell us where they got that fabric!


Monkeygrrl October 1, 2007 at 12:04 pm

Watch out for conversions between cm and in. I’ve found that pattern companies (like Style and Burda) that are European-based have much smaller margins for error, etc. than U.S. patterns. And, I love the V&A. Last summer, I stood in the fashion galleries transfixed by the back seams on an 1840′s bodice.


missmarymary September 20, 2008 at 9:06 pm

To comment on a very old post, I was wondering if anyone has actually made this dress? I’ve found one example on, but haven’t see any others. I’ve got ~4 1/3 yards of gorgeous dark gray silk I’m going to squeeze this out of – mostly the skirt (with pockets!) and a modified bodice. I just would love to see more examples. i have a hard time believing there has only been one!


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