1930s

As most of you already know, one of the greatest satisfactions of sewing your own clothes is having a fabulous occasion for which to wear them!  Such an occasion was this past New Year’s Eve, when Wild Kat hosted a glittering Prohibition Party.  We even convinced our men to dress the part!

 

Wild Kat opted for a flapper-styled sack dress made from an original 1920s Standard New Idea pattern.  She used a cream satin trimmed with embossed black velvet.  For more photos and details, please see the Hometown Victory Girls blog.

 

 

 

 

I  stepped away from my typical, full-skirted dress and created a classic 1930s-style.  Using Vogue 1371 and a slubbed satin in peacock blue, I was quite happy with the results.  More photos and dress details can be found at the Willow Homestead blog.

 

 

Wishing you all a wonderful New Year!

 

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Glitz, glamour and silly headpieces, that’s what! My home town Stockholm, Sweden, is blessed with a great burlesque club, Fräulein Frauke Presents, housed in one of the city’s classic dance palaces with quite the bad reputation back in the 40′s, 50′s and 60′s. Their annual New Year’s masquerade is the perfect  opportunity to break your sequin seaweed and your frivolous mask-making abilities.

New Year's Eve, photo by John Paul Bichard.

I bought this red sequin seaweed for last year’s celebrations, actually, but it got delayed at my local post office and I’ve been sitting on it since. The plans for the dress have changed during the year, for the better I think, and instead of a complicated, slinky number with a high slit and back cut-out, I made… a dressing gown. Sort of. I drew inspiration from a simple, but very glamorous and slightly quirky evening gown that Katharine Hepburn wore in the 1938 screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby, the one that has the entire back panel of the skirt ripped off in a memorable scene. I translated the inspiration into a long gown with an a-line skirt, containing all the width I could squeeze out of 3 yards of fabric, and a surplice bodice, buttoned at the side, with elbow-length sleeves and a modest v-neck. I really like that combination of the rather casual, simple cut with the inherently festive fabric. It’s a dress that looks comfortable, and feels easy to wear.

The entire garment is flatlined with red cotton poplin, to protect the skin from the somewhat scratchy sequin fabric and counteract a slight transparency, since the base material is a synthetic tulle with very little stretch. I put it together with french seams throughout, for further protection against scratchy sequins on the inside of it, and finished the hem and edges with poplin bias strips on the inside. I also spent a lot of time cutting tiny 2 mm sequins in half, to clear at least some of the seam allowances of the extra bulk. The end result is a very heavy, but, yes, quite comfortable evening gown that I really think I will get a lot of use out of. It’s formal enough for white tie events at a pinch, what with the full length, but also frivolous enough for black tie and just plain parties, and I also think it turned out quite flattering.

Cutting a thousand little sequins in half to clear the seam allowances = major pain in the behind.

I also made the pearl… thing. It’s a masquerade, after all, of course you want a mask of some sort, and I didn’t feel like repeating last year’s sequin glove mask, especially since this year’s theme was the roaring 20′s, which really isn’t my decade, normally. I toyed with the idea of simply draping a few strings of pearls across the eyes, but that seemed a little too easy, and the project grew into this, after having a closer look at showy Art Deco headpieces, the Ballets Russes and Russian kokoshniks. It’s all based on a plain plastic headband with teeth, my favourite notions shop turned out to have an old lot of vintage glass pearls in stock, and the  rest is steel wire, lots of pearl string and thousands of knots, topped off with two enormous artificial peonies.

Pearl headdress in progress, from the very beginning to close to finished.

And it was fun. All of it, including New Year’s Eve. Hope you all had a great New Year’s too, have yourselves a happy new year!

More on both projects over at the Fashion in Shrouds, for once.

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It’s another dress inspired by the early 30s! Seems I’m pretty fond of them right now… I love this silhouette, and it’s so much fun to play around with a “new” (to me) era =)

This dress is really two separate dresses. The bottom is an interlocked jersey, sleeveless. It’s finished and can be worn on it’s own. What made me want to make this outfit was the top layer – it’s all bias cut lace. The front bodice has a high neck cowl and is pleated to the midriff piece. The back is in a single piece, also on the bias to remove the need for darts.  The skirt was made from my by now TNT bias skirt pattern, the lace made a little bit longer than the jersey.

This dress made me scratch my head for quite awhile; I didn’t want to make an opening in the lace (zipper, buttons, hooks and eyes, it all spelled disaster in this fabric) and even though the lace had some give due to the loose weave, my regular dress pattern includes a waistseam that would not have stretched. My solution:

Remove part of both bodice and skirt to create a diamond-shaped panel that was cut on the bias. I’ve not seen this exact solution in a period pattern, but different sort of panelings was common in the late 20s/early 30s.

The sleeves are the only part that’s cut on grain, my regular sleeve pattern widened to create a nice width.

This dress was fun to make, and it just took a weekend to make as both layers was sewn on the overlock. The combination of jersey and bias-cut is a nice one, as both layers moves with the body, making this a very comfortable dress I could wear all Christmas eve, during cooking, dog walking, eating a ton and even sitting down in a deep sofa =)

Click here to read about it on my blog (although I think I’ve covered most of it here ; ) )

Love, Erika

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It’s been about two months since I last posted anything on here…but they have been some of the busiest months I have ever experienced! I’ve been trying to set aside time for myself to sew something here and there, even if it’s just small steps to completing a project. These small time increments have fortunately proved to be a success, since I managed to complete two dresses.

 


The first dress is a vintage cotton, in a sort of oxblood red. It features shoulder darts, an empire waistline, and black cord-ribbon accenting (with black buttons as well). The second dress is made from an organic bamboo rayon jersey. I used a contrasting cream collar and buttons from some vintage broadcloth my grandmother gave me. It was my first time working with jersey and although not as bad as I had anticipated, I did still run into a couple of problems (mainly the stretch-stitch taking forever).

Anyway, feel free to pop on over to my blog, more details and pictures on these dresses here.

Anyone have some tips for how they work with jersey fabrics? I do not own a twin needle or walking foot sadly, but they are on my list to purchase at some point.

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