Free Designer Pattern: Juliana Sissons Hobble Dress

Scarlett Cannon photographed by Monica Curtin for Blitz magazine, 1985
Scarlett Cannon in Blitz magazine, 1985. Photo: Monica Curtin. Image: V&A.

As part of the current V&A exhibition, Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s, Juliana Sissons is sharing a pattern for a hobble dress designed in 1984 for London club kid Scarlett Cannon.

In the early 1980s, Sissons had an in-club boutique, Call Me Madam, at London’s Heaven nightclub, where Cannon hosted the Cha Cha’s club night. As Sissons later recalled, her early designs had “a high fashion punk influence,” with Call Me Madam catering to “the alternative types, such as Leigh Bowery, Boy George, dancers, entertainers, fire-eaters, pop stars…” For i-D’s 2012 profile of the designer, with recent and archival photos and video, click the photo below (update: profile no longer online):

Scarlett Cannon and Juliana Sissons in 1982
Juliana Sissons and Scarlett Cannon, 1982. Photo: Daniel Faoro. Image: i-D.

(The exhibition catalogue by Sonnet Stanfill is entitled 80s Fashion: From Club to Catwalk; on London club style see also Graham Smith’s photographic history, We Can Be Heroes: London Clubland, 1976-1984.)

The Scarlett Dress is a low-backed hobble dress with pleated hip drape and three-quarter sleeves. Inspired by Old Hollywood, the original was made in red stretch ciré jersey and worn to Cannon’s birthday celebrations at the Camden Palace and Bolts in North London.

Front / Back - Scarlett sketch

Cannon lent the dress to the exhibition, where it’s styled to fall off the shoulder, accessorized with a Judy Blame bead necklace (Blame’s first piece: photo at Gilded Birds). You can see Cannon’s photos of the exhibition setup on her blog.

Juliana Sissons technical drawing - Scarlett schematic

Download the Scarlett Dress pattern. (Pattern here; instructions here.) The pattern has 10 pieces, arranged over 30 pages of A4 sheets.

Size: UK size 12 with added ease (bust 93cm, waist 72cm, hip 96cm = bust 36 5/8″, waist 28 3/8″, hip 37 3/4″ approx.)

Recommended fabrics: stretch fabrics

Seam allowance: 1cm (3/8″)

Notions: 1.5cm (1/2″) shoulder pads

N.B.: It seems the download will be available only for the duration of the Club to Catwalk exhibition, which closes February 16th, 2014.

Update: The download is still available as of spring 2014.

Click here for the other instalments in my Free Designer Patterns series.

9 thoughts on “Free Designer Pattern: Juliana Sissons Hobble Dress

  1. Thanks for sharing! It’s way too big for me and I don’t do A4 cut and paste but it should be easy enough for anyone that’s interested to piece together the A4s in any vector program and print on large ream. Weird that the A4s don’t have margins though. Wonder how that’s gonna work out on a home printer =0

  2. Can someone clarify the settings needed to get the pattern downloaded to the right scale. I have the download, but there isn’t a test square………
    Is it set to the right size and ready to just go ahead and print….it to comes up on the download as a size of 70 something percent, is that correct??
    Many thanks in advance.

    1. Normally these must be printed at 100% — and since the seam allowance is 1cm and is marked on the pieces, that could take the place of a test square.
      Ruth at corecouture is making the dress for New Year’s; you may want to check out her posts 🙂

      1. Hi there,

        Thanks for the response.
        I also follow Ruth’s blog and as she was having a problem with the sizing, I wondered about the scaling for the pattern.
        When I downloaded it, it showed up as 70+ and I thought I would double check before printing off the pattern.

        Thanks for letting me know that the seam allowance is on the pattern pieces – that will be a good way of checking that it is printed to the correct scale.

        I know Ruth will make a fabulous job of the dress and look amazing.

        Really enjoying your blog. Thanks for sharing with us.

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