1920s | 1930s | Downton Abbey Inspired | Dresses | Pattern Drafting | Vintage Sewing

Sewing a 1920’s Art Deco Evening Gown

By on June 11, 2017
Art Deco Ball - Jennifer Serr
Art Deco Ball - Jennifer Serr
At The Ball

Well, the day (Art Deco Society of California’s) of the  Preservation Ball arrived and I was prepared!  This year’s theme was Death on The Nile (the Agatha Christie Murder Mystery) with a focus on Egyptian Revival of the Art Deco era. I was lucky to be gifted some beautiful fabric, salvaged vintage trims and good luck at Britex for the finishing touches to my gown and headband. Thanks also to Barbara Mooney at Daisy’s, here in Alameda, for lending me the PERFECT necklace and pointing me to some wonderful coordinating earrings (in her shop) that I will treasure for years to come.

Dressed Up with My Handsome Husband
Dressed up with my Handsome Husband

In the end, I’m happy with the final look. My foundation garment worked well on the dress form so that I could drape my gown to my measurements, however, did not work under the dress when I was wearing it.  It still needs some modifications to the cups and the straps showed. Fitting can be a challenge sometimes and often requires multiple fittings (which I did not do this time – ugh).  I ended up wearing a 1920’s-style corset that I made two years ago.  It’s strapless and gave me the right silhouette.

Front View of my Dress
Back View of My Dress
Back View of My Dress

Below are some photos of the process by which I created this dress – Draping the fabric directly on the dress form.  For a more in-depth view of my process including inspiration, sketches and step-by-step photos, visit my blog posts here, here, here & here

Taping the Dress form and foundation for Draping
Taping the Dress form and foundation for Draping
Draping the Back Bodice
Draping the Back Bodice
Draping the Side Bodice
Draping the Side Bodice
Fabric Draped and trims placed
Fabric Draped and trims placed

See more of my projects and vintage inspiration on my blog or connect with me on instagram!

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1980s

Out of the Eighties Top

By on March 20, 2012

Pattern: McCall’s 4632 (1989)

I created this top using McCall’s 4632 from 1989. Originally the pattern was to be sold in my Etsy shop but that view F in the bottom left hand corner looked attractive. I was thinking of making it in a fabric with more drape but I’m trying to sew out of my stash. Therefore, I located just enough of this cream/oyster twill to try it out. The fabric (which must be old, I can’t remember what I made with the rest) is pretty luxurious with a smooth hand and a slight sheen.

The style is loose, basically a square but the gathered shoulders add interest. It reminds me of a lot of the simple shells I’ve been seeing around from independant designers. It was extremely easy to make and I especially liked the fact that the yoked area on the front is actually overhang from the back pattern piece. I was thinking I could use that detail on many more projects so why not work off of this pattern piece than make my own from scratch.

Since the pattern was created in the late eighties it was designed for 1/2″ shoulder pads for that big shoulder look; therefore, I had to remove some length from the armholes and quite a bit of width at the sides. I ended up taking two inches off the length and two inches from EACH side, so four inches off of the width. I will be using this pattern again with a more suitable fabric, like crepe de chine or voile. It could also make a really cute dress.

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