Reconstructing History Sewing Pattern Review 1304

Today’s post features a dress I made using the Reconstructing History 1304 sewing pattern. Reconstructing History are an American based sewing pattern company, specialising in reproducing historical patterns.

The sheer range of sewing patterns available on the Reconstructing History website is quite astonishing. Reconstructing History offer a broad range of styles, periods and genres, from the fourteenth century right through to the late 1940s. As part of my writing work for Vintage Dancer, I was asked if I would like to review a Reconstructing History pattern of my choosing. Although I was tempted by this Regency Riding outfit, and this 1910s Walking Suit, the pattern that won my heart was the 1304 Day Dress and Jacket from 1933.


The pattern itself was fairly difficult to work with, due to both the design details of this particular style, and the pattern itself.


This was my first experience of using a Reconstructing History pattern, so the review contains my experiences and thoughts of using this one pattern only. During some parts of the construction process I did find myself thinking I would have preferred to work with the original, vintage pattern, rather than the Reconstructing History incarnation. This was mostly due to the sizing lines all being identical – making it very difficult to follow and apply pattern notches.

The fabric requirements were also a problem area. According to the back sheet of the pattern, the dress required 5yrds 40 inch wide, or 3.5yrds 54 inch wide. But, within the instruction booklet it stated the dress needed 4yrds 40 inch wide, or 2.5yrds 54 inch wide. So which was it? This was only clarified by me physically laying-out all the pattern pieces onto fabric, to then measure both the length and width of the material in order to determine the desired yardage.



Hiccups and glitches aside, I am pleased with how the completed dress turned out. I used some beautiful reproduction late 1920s/early 1930s fabric from Maltings Fabric – the Hampden. I wrote about a visit I made to Maltings Fabrics in my previous post here. The fabric is a viscose crepe, and has a lovely handle and drape to it. Somehow, the print reminded me almost of a rainbow Dalmatian dog (I know that sounds completely bizarre!)



In order to accent the design details, I used a plain black viscose crepe for the belt, cuffs and neck frills. My favourite feature of the pattern is the sleeves. The sleeves are full, then where the cuffs are applied there is a series of three tuck pleats. The cuffs also feature an interesting V detail, perfectly art deco!



As the fabric features beautifully muted pastel shades, I managed to find an original 1930s belt buckle on eBay that was a perfect match! I accessorised the dress with an original 1930s bag I purchased just after Christmas, which still contains its original mirror. I chose white over-the-knee socks which I wore as stockings, a cloche hat I have had for a few years, and Bridgette heels by Hotter which I purchased in the sale a few weeks ago.


Overall, I am really pleased with the dress, and I am in love with the fabric! As I will be imminently making my wedding dress (which is 1930s), this dress presented a few design details that will definitely put me in good practise for the task ahead!

My conclusion and final thoughts on the pattern

The pattern contained some nice historical information, which added context to the design. The instructions were detailed, and included both text and illustrations, making them easy to follow. The paper the pattern was printed on was of high quality, and I liked that the pattern was printed onto one side of the paper only.

However, with the identical sizing lines, lack of grainlines, even a few typos on the pattern pieces, there were moments when I found the pattern could be more user-friendly. The biggest point for me was however, the fabric requirements confusion. When I am sewing a garment, the last thing I want to do is waste time calculating and figuring out how much fabric I need, when it should be stated clearly on the pattern.

As aforementioned, I was given the opportunity to chose a pattern to review from Reconstructing History, in order to write a full review for publication on Vintage Dancer. Whenever I am given something to review, I always aim to be constructive, and to stay true to my integrity, which I hope I have done so here.

Has anyone else worked with Reconstructing History patterns? What did you think? How did you find them? Let me know in the comments.

Links & Outfit Details

Until next time dears!



10 thoughts on “Reconstructing History Sewing Pattern Review 1304

  1. Sharon says:

    Thanks for bringing these patterns to my attention. I hadn’t heard of Reconstructing History and there’s quite a few 30s dresses I want to make now.

  2. Porcelina says:

    Beautifully done! The details really are superb. I’m sure sewers looking up your review will want to know which of the fabric requirements was correct.

  3. Jenny Frances says:

    Oh yes, that’s true, good point! In my original review for Vintage Dancer I did discuss this (along with many of the construction details & alterations I made), but it seems much of it was omitted. I will have to look up my original text to remind myself what the correct fabric requirement actually was (as I actually completed the dress weeks ago now & can’t recall off hand.) XxX

  4. Astrid says:

    Hello, I came across the Reconstructing History Patterns through a retro/vintage directory featuring all sorts- and found the link to your article. I liked your detailed description of your ups and downs with this pattern and thought despite some of the set-backs you had with this, the dress turned out absolutely lovely.
    I thought I’d go with a few easier looking ones (a few skirt and top combos) and ordered 3 patterns. So far the only negative thing I’ve experienced (I haven’t received the patterns yet), is being charged an additional Customs and Import fee by HMRC, in order to release the items waiting for me at Gatwick Depot. (I know you received your pattern to review from Vintage Dancer.) So a little disappointing so far, but all for the vintage cause.

  5. Jenny Frances says:

    Ah, it’s annoying that you were hit with customs charges! It was difficult for me to do the review for this pattern, as it was the only pattern I had used from Reconstructing History. It’s always tricky to review something based on a singular experience, and in this case I did contact the company with a few questions I had regarding the pattern. For me, the experience of using the pattern wasn’t entirely smooth sailing, but then other patterns in the range may fair better for all I know. That aside, I did like the finished dress, and above all I love the fabric! I hope you have a good experience with the patterns, do drop me a line and let me know how you get on 🙂 xx

  6. Anna says:

    I have been working with their 20s patterns and must say I had similar issues. The typos aside, I had to true a lot of the seams before I started making my paper pattern adjustments. The instructions were so minimal and basic I had to consult my original 20s sewing book to understand how to work with the pattern. And before I start to write a novel, I stop here. The list would be to long.

  7. Jenny Frances says:

    Oh gosh, well I’m so sorry that you had those issues, but at the same time at least it wasn’t just me feeling that the pattern had a lot to be desired! I actually really like the style of the dress, and also the matching jacket, but I think it will be a while before I pick up that pattern again to work from. Thanks so much for your comment & feedback, it’s definitely interesting to hear how other people have got on with this company.

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