1920s | Downton Abbey Inspired | Dresses | Hats | Shirts | Vintage Sewing

Going Gatsby for an Afternoon

September 9, 2013

This year I finally made up my mind to create a historically correct 1920’s outfit for the Art Deco Society of California’s Gatsby Summer Afternoon in Oakland, California.  This Art Deco picnic was held at the Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate and the attire is daywear from 1920-1940 (the Art Dcco period of course!).  It is a living history event with no spectators as everyone is a participant.

Gatsby Summer Afternoon

I made not only my outfit, but my husbands’ as well, even venturing into hat-making, which is a pursuit that I have never delved into before.  My dress is a seafoam green floral poly chiffon with a yellow crepe back satin slip.  It’s made using Vogue 2535, a 1928 design pattern that is out of print.

Vintage Vogue 2535, Original 1928 Design

I added a sash out of my slip fabric and fabric rosettes made from my dress fabric.  I love this pattern and it’s very comfortable to wear, even with synthetic fabrics and a hot afternoon.  The cape is most definitely my favorite feature and I also love the handkerchief hemline.

My hat is a 1920’s garden party hat made with maize silk dupioni and a buckram base.    The sash is the same yellow fabric I used for my slip and I added vintage silk millinery flowers.  I used Butterick 4697, a “Making History” pattern that is also out of print.

Butterick 4697

As a history scholar, I try to get my vintage repro outfits historically correct.  I am ….mostly …. with the exception that I could not find any crocheted gloves in time and my lace glovemaking pursuits were futile.  Also, it was very hot that day and I couldn’t stand wearing my seam-back pantyhose….. I think stockings and garters are the way to go!

If 1920’s men’s patterns were readily available I would have used them for my husbands’ outfit, unfortunately they are not easy to find.  Fortunately, men’s fashion has not changed much in the last 100 years, so I improvised.  My husband’s shirt is McCalls 2447 and is made of blue Burberry herringbone stripe shirting.  It has collar stays and French cuffs with vintage blue sapphire cufflinks that were my grandpa’s (which of course, you can’t see!).  His vest is Vogue 8497 (out of print) and is made of navy cotton poplin with vintage metal buttons and lined with striped shirting.  His trousers are vintage from a thrift store.  I bought him a 1920s vintage silk foulard tie with a geometric design, but what do ya know?  I forgot to pack it….

His golf cap is Vogue 8869 and is made of a black/midnight blue wool coating from my stash.

Overall it was such a great day, albeit HOT, and we are already planning for next year!  I’d like to make Vogue 2535 in a silk/cotton voile and use some contrasts.  I have in mind making my husband a seersucker suit, so if anyone knows of any great vintage suit patterns, please let me know!

Mr. and Mrs. Hughes at the Gatsby Summer Afternoon

Happy Sewing!




More details and photos from this event on my blog.

  1. Lovely dress, I’m really liking the cape and handkerchief hem as well! Great job on your husband’s outfit! I hope you’ll post about the seersucker suit if you manage to make it – that would be something!

    1. When I saw that dress pattern I had to have it as well! I wish they would print some more 20s and 30s patterns. Most repros I find were printed in the early 2000s. Right now, they seem to do mostly 40s and 50s. I have seen those patterns on reconstructing history and I think the morning coat would work. Just need some trousers in the right shape and rise.

  2. Wow, I’m really impressed with the outfits your created. And the hats. You both look great!

    I have a pile of sewing magazines from that era, so I have seen this style in drawings before, but never made up. The vast majority of patterns with those magazines are for womens’ and children’s clothes but if I happen to find a pattern for a man, I’ll let you know.
    And of course, the proper hosiery to wear with a 1928 dress would be fully fashioned stockings with a long-line girdle with a straight silhouette. But that would be very warm, hard-to-impossible to find (I think you could find the stockings, but all the girdles I’ve ever seen for sale are later styles) and quite expensive…

    1. Lucky you to have those magazines! I just love the cape! I have some patterns for 20s lingerie, but not sure if one included a girdle.I know I’d much rather have those stockings than hose, that’s for sure! It would have to be quite cool outside for me to even dream about wearing that I did think about doing all of the vintage lingerie, too, but you know how it goes when you’re busy and do things at the last minute!

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