What is the Dior New Look?

Not to be confused with the high-street store or the popular pattern company, Christian Dior's New Look was a seminal moment in fashion history. We think the Metropolitan Museum of Art put it best when they described the essence of the New Look as:

Featuring rounded shoulders, a cinched waist, a very full skirt, the "New Look" celebrated ultra-femininity and opulence in women's fashion. After years of military and civilian uniforms, sartorial restrictions and shortages, Dior offered not merely a new look, but a new outlook.

It was first presented in a couture collection in 1947, but it came to heavily influence daily women's wear throughout the 1950s.

Love vintage inspired sewing? Check out our free pattern round-ups of 1920s Oxford Bags patterns and free vintage patterns up to size 18.

What are the special details of a Christian Dior New Look dress or outfit?

If you want to create your own New Look outfit, pay attention to these key details:

  • Aim for an extravagant and glamorous feel
  • Opt for full skirts, using lots of fabric
  • A nipped-in waist and exaggerated hourglass silhouette
  • Heavy silk, taffeta and other high-quality fabrics with plenty of body and structure

What patterns can I buy to recreate the Dior New Look?

We love Vintage Vogue patterns for this - they're original designs from the 1950s but they've been regraded for a modern fit, so they include better sizing options. Check out V2903, V9105 and V8729.

Are there easy 1950s inspired patterns?

Original 1950s patterns were designed to be made by people who had been sewing since they were old enough to hold a needle and thread. For beginner sewists, you might want to start with simpler dresses and separates. For easy vintage inspired patterns, check out the Ruby dress, Sophia set and the Notch Collar jacket from Simple Sew.

Free 1950s sewing patterns

If you want to recreate the New Look silhouette for free, check out these PDF patterns to download for free now:
Full 1950s skirt
Original 1950s skirts, tops and jackets
1950s inspired dress including plus sizes

If you're not sure you're quite up to sewing a whole couture 1950s gown, why not try this sweet little bag appliqué project as a little nod to the style!

Fancy winning some fab sewing prizes? Check out our competitions and enter today!