Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The Gatsby Dress

The fabric for this dress was bought on a whim while I was meant to be looking for wool suiting - Bees, Horses, Birds of Prey!! All in a distinctly oriental slinkyness that just cried out to be a kimono dressing gown, or a 1920's style frock - obviously ;)

Browsing the awesomeness of online 1920's fashion and the stills from Baz's new film was to wallow in decadent dreaming of the upper class, but surely everyday, women of a certain age, wore clothes in the 1920's as well - Hello Miss Fisher! Dot was a tad sensible for me, Phryne too magnificent, where next?

Why the treasures of Etsy - Thank you Carol and your 1920's draft your own dress pattern re-release! In the end, after detours via the Eucalyptus top, godets were abandoned (fabric too drapey) and the finished dress is remarkably similar to Marion Cotillard's dress in Midnight In Paris.  As I Said...: Fashion In Film: Midnight in Paris (2011)
Yes, an interpretation of the 1924 classic One-Hour-Dress (certificated as true at the 2nd National Merchandise Fair of 1923 no less!). The .pdf booklet "Easy Ways to Pretty Frocks" made for fascinating reading!

The bodice to the dropped waist is lined in silk that I picked up at Rathdowne Remnants sale (yay sales!) and I used the technique blogged about here (and in several other places). This all wouldn't have come together as seamlessly if the girls from Social Sewing hadn't helped with fitting my sloper and advising on my tank - Thank You!

Thanks to Mel for the reminder on ensuring the facing/lining is narrower than the dress fabric! And I clipped the neckline, then decided I didn't like it, so I've actually overlocked /serged the rest of the seams under the lining - with french seams, is it overkill? maybe not ;)

The gathers are reinforced by some Petersham ribbon and the side seams curve to the front as I decided that I did need a higher dropped waist to avoid looking entirely sacklike. I can quote Mr Paul Caret (1925) from the Art of Dress: 
"Do not be deceived as to your own figure. If gowns built on straight lines are not suited or becoming to your type, do not wear them... Watch your waistline. Place it where it is most becoming to you. Do not accept a high waistline if it fails to revel the good points of your figure .. and .. Do not hesitate to wear a wide skirt if it looks better on you than a narrow one. A tight skirt has caused many a woman to sacrifice her beauty for the sake of being fashionable"
Thank you Mr Caret ;)

What I have learnt:
French Seams are annoying to adjust - best not to try until you have the fit right ;)
Just Do It - and stop browsing all the pretty inspiration pictures and helpful tutorials
and that I really must look at the photo uploading glitch that's hindering my progress photos ;)

but I can say, it's incredibly comfortable, floats delightfully, layers well, all seams are French and I have bees on my bodice!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

1920's Love ;) Great Gatsby Sewing Challenge

I do love the 1920's - women feeling free to express themselves and step away from the Victorian era after a time of great change.

When gazing at my lovely black & white fabric and the delightful images on Pinterest and other blogs - I just kept asking: "What would Phryne do?"

 the EvaDress 6332 ;)
Love the cloche and the slouchy boots

...and I do have the Vintage Pattern selector at my fingertips, and they do have a rather lovely drop waisted dress with side pleats... but I'm not feeling any love for PDF's at the moment, so drafting it is ;)

...stay tuned - the Great Gatsby screening at the Kino to raise $$ for the St Vincents Institute is in 2 weeks ;)
Do you want to come along?

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

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Clara - a winter dress and Thanks to Elise of honig design

The fabulous Elise of honig design - and she is fabulous, have you seen her self drafted wardrobe?
Anyway, she has designed an absolutely fabulous Garden Party dress that has serious play value, looking great while being easy to move in. She's made and blogged about three different versions and shared some renditions made by some talented bloggers..

Yes, that's right, it's a FREE .PDF download!! Thank You Elise!

I went searching for some grey or navy suiting material and managed to come home from Brunswick St with a stretchy charcoal brown - I really shouldn't be allowed to buy fabric alone - mainly as I also bought a slinky B&W print that I adore but DH looked askance at and the dachshund wants to curl up on - surely that's a GOOD sign?

Anyway, despite my slap-hazard pdf piecing and cutting out, the bodice fitted (yes, I made a muslin, I must be learning!) and I only needed to draft out a size at the waist.

I did struggle with the zip, but that's not new for me, an invisible one was ripped out more than three times - and I did make that a little harder than I could have - as that muslin I mentioned, I only pinned it at the neck & waist - so across the widest part of my shoulders, I only had a 5mm seam allowance - how fortunate was I to have chosen that stretchy material ;) (I know, I know!!!!)

I then decided to up the difficulty by trying for full length sleeves... my trusty library's stash of pattern and fitting books were useful as background reading, and paper weights. In the end, I cut the sleeves exactly as printed, just longer. The material definitely helps with keeping a full range of arm movement.
I kept my trust in Elise's pattern and she didn't let me down.

I love the pleats!
I did have to move the pleats after trying the skirt on as the initial placement wasn't particularly flattering for me, but that was actually quite fun.
 - have you met Florence yet? she's the newest addition to my sewing room and definitely made pleat adjustments much more enjoyable ;)

I hemmed it long, much longer than the jaunty skirt of the Garden Party dress, but she is my Winter Clara dress for wearing with boots - and she is rather comfortable. Next time I'll try a bright pattern with less stretch, so Thank You Honig Design for making your Garden Party dress available.
;) - and the dachshund? he's asleep in the remnants.