1920s

My outfit including my wool coat with fluffy fox fur collar and a fake bob which took more effort than the dress.

I recently went to a prohibition night at the Police and Justice Museum in Sydney, Australia. They had turned the museum into a speakeasy with heaps of fun activities, music and performances. Of course they encouraged 1920′s and 30′s dress and so I “whipped up” (because it’s that easy) a flapper dress. I found a gorgeous light satin in green and bought the longest black fringing I could find. I used a 1970′s (Simplicity 8750) bias slip pattern but left out the main darts to have that loose silhouette and added two rows of fringing on the bottom.


I also tied the Best Dressed competition so I’m very happy.

 
I had forgotten how fantastic bias cut is to wear and am very tempted to make more bias cut garments. I’m hoping to have a few more photos on my Instagram: http://instagram.com/sharpscissors from the night soon.

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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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Gatsby Dress

by Amy Mayen on December 28, 2013 · 2 comments

in 1920s,Vintage Sewing

Gatsby Dress by SewsNBows

I recently got to pattern test the new Gatsby dress pattern from Heidi&Finn. It’s such an easy, fun sew! I read every post at WeSewRetro, but I rarely get to contribute. I’m sort of sneaking this one in, since it’s a modern pattern and modern fabrics! But there’s a distinctly vintage flavor to this dress that I love.

Gatsby Dress by SewsNBows

This is a child’s pattern, and I made the biggest size for Isabelle, 10/12. The fabric is crushed panne & stretch lace. That alone is pretty much a sin against vintage sewing, but I had to keep it kid friendly or it wouldn’t get worn!

Gatsby Dress | SewsNBows

I love the Grecian style fashions that were so popular in the roaring 20s! If you’d like to stop by SewsNBows to see more photos, I’d love a visit!

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