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.