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!


  1. Well don't you just look the part!! Love your styling. I'm sure tomorrow night will be a very glamorous affair, indeed :)

    And re. pics, I'm afraid I failed to qualify for the Brains Trust and can be of no help whatsoever :(

  2. Thanks Jenny ;) And I enjoyed Gatsby - although I somehow expected more singing and a dance number ;) I've left in complete love of Jordan's entire wardrobe! ahh, to be 20yr old flapper ;)

  3. Very pretty dress! I love the way that the shape of the dress works with the fabric print. Your hair is styled perfectly. Your puppy is adorable, btw. :)

    1. Thanks Becca! I adore how you entwined the story of your great grandmother in your dress - I adore her photos and do love yours - you are so much braver than me, I've only started handpicking zippers in wool, beading on floaty fabrics is a whole world further than that!!!

  4. How did I miss this? What a beautiful dress and your styling is amazing - looks like you just walked out of the film! Love the quote too :)

    1. Thanks Elise ;) High praise as I love all your makes and styling!

  5. You had me at "floats delightfully!"... What a beautiful dress! I also have to say what a cute puppy! We have a little dachshund too... who also dreams restlessly of soft furnishings and my fabric stash! Haha, somehow he always picks the softest thing in the house to snuggle with. It sounds like yours is the same way! :-)

    1. Thanks Julibechickadee ;) The are truly little burrowing creatures aren't they! I had some dress progress shots of him 'helping' with fabric stabilising that I will post one day (when my glitch sorts itself out) - am now off to restalk your blog in search of yours ;)


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