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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Dresses

Completely reworked vintage crepe dress!

By on May 2, 2014

Hi! I have been sewing for many years but am new to this site. I love seeing what other people are making! I have been collecting vintage fabric for too long, and tend to use exclusively vintage materials whenever possible (unless it compromises the integrity of the garment, ie. thread).
For my first post I want to share with you something I finally finished recently that I am really very proud of. This is one of my favourite “reworks” that I have ever done. I found the starting dress at a local thrift shop. Though the style was.. let’s say dowdy (see bottom photo for ‘before’ pic), I was in love with the fabric. It’s a really lightweight crinkly crepe, and the horizontal lace insets gave me instant inspiration.
I took the dress apart at the seams and decided to wing it without making a pattern. Started with the bodice, adding shaping via under bust gathers and a lightweight cotton for modesty behind the lower lace panel, and attached that to a flat 3-panelled waist section. The straps were a (possibly over-)zealous whim, with alternating opaque and sheer stripes made with pin tucks. I wanted lots of fullness in the skirt so I gathered both the top crepe and an under layer of the original lightweight cotton lining. I had a bit  of extra fabric left over so I fashioned a matching  rosette which slides on to an super long tie belt which is optional, I like wrapped haphazardly a few times about the waist. Closure is a hidden side zipper which just felt right with the whole retro vibe.
I really love how this turned out, especially considering the lack of planning! Not sure exactly what era I was channelling here, probably between the 1930’s and 50’s. Hope you guys like it!

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