It seems that almost the entire month of July has passed with barely any new blog posts appearing here.. oops. Anyway, today I am going to remedy that with this new post, hurrah! A few weeks ago, Kieren and I met up with the lovely Cate & her wonderful Mom as they were staying in the area for the weekend. (You can read more about it on Cate’s blog here, as I didn’t get around to producing a blog post about it). On the Saturday, we met up in Lewes, which is a really excellent town for browsing antiques, vintage and general knick-knacks.
In one of the shops we went into, I spied a beautiful original 1920s dress, and I got a bit over excited.. the price point was so unbelievably low, that I decided to try it on. Now, I usually have minimal shopping habits – in that I generally dislike shopping. I will normally formulate a plan, decide which shop(s) will fulfil my requirements, go to said shop, and get out of said shop as fast as possible. For me to actually try something on, is pretty much unheard of. Anyway, spurred on by my general high spirits from having such a lovely day with amazing company, I hurriedly shuffled into the changing room with the beautiful 1920s dress.
It fitted! Hurray! And it looked so pretty, I knew I couldn’t leave her behind. But then, when it came to trying to take the dress off.. well I got a bit stuck. And I started to panic. Which then caused me to sweat, in turn causing the fabric to cling to me, which then led to.. a massive rip. Nooo. So, feeling like a complete idiot, I felt that I had to buy her now, regardless of whether I thought I could repair/alter the damage I had caused. Yes, I know some people may have just shiftily put the dress back on the shop floor without saying anything, but honestly I just couldn’t do that.
So, once I got her home and gave her two good soakings and airings, I then decided to assess the damage. I removed the sleeves and bound the sleeve edges, making the dress sleeveless. Trying the dress on again, it looked & fitted fine. But, I hate the skin on my shoulders, and I also hate my underarms.. rendering a sleeveless dress kind of useless to me. Sigh. I kept the sleeves thinking I could recut them and attach them at a later date, but then another idea came to me.
Why don’t I take a pattern from the dress so I recreate it in fresh, new (more robust!) fabrics?
YES. This was a much better plan. After all, I love true vintage, but often I want to be able to actually wear clothes that I am not terrified will rip/split etc etc when I am going about my daily life. If I want to suddenly burst into a Charleston dance, or do lunges whilst waiting for the kettle to boil (a weird but usual occurrence for me, I drink LOTS of tea on a daily basis, and doing lunges is a good way to squeeze in a bit of thigh-toning whilst waiting for the kettle, haa ha!) then it’s good to know I can do so without damaging my clothes.
To actually create the pattern, I layed the dress flat (I did not take it apart, as I wanted to keep the dress intact just in case I decide I want to wear it). I made some changes – adding sleeves, increasing the across back measurement, increasing the hips slightly, and adding a tad more fullness into the front skirt.
The original dress is made from a peach single layer silk georgette, and I happened to have lots of peach double silk georgette in my fabric stock (which is actually for my lingerie line andEdna, but I have so much of it, I thought I probably wouldn’t miss just over 2 metres). Double silk georgette is actually a better choice for the dress, as it still maintains a level of sheerness, but not so much as single layer silk georgette. It also has slightly more weight to it, therefore enabling it to drape beautifully.
The pattern consists of, a front bodice with bias – bound neckline, front skirt section which is gathered, the back which is cut in one long piece, and thin tie-belt strips. I really like how the back is cut in one piece, whilst the front sections are separate. I actually much prefer this design to the one-hour dress pattern, and found the separate front skirt much more flattering.
The front jabots were inspired by this pattern I found on Pinterest. I wanted some detail at the front, and as the jabots were derived from an original pattern, I thought they were appropriate.
The dress took a couple of days to make, mostly due to the fact that I was working in silk. I wore this dress to the Chap Olympiad, and teamed it with:
- Dress: made by me
- Stockings: Marks & Spencer (that are in fact bridal stockings, but I liked the cream shade)
- Shoes: Juliette c/o Hotter, similar here
- Dress Clip: from the Mid Century Market
- Earrings: Sofia’s Garden
- Hat: Original 1920s cloche hat, embellished with silk ribbon flowers which I made.
I really like this style of dress, it is very different to the structured and fitted styles I am used to, but I love it! I have already made a cream cotton version, which I will be blogging about soon too.
I’m rather pleased that I have actually got around to making some 1920s summer dresses, whilst it is still actually summer and warm enough to wear them!
Until next time dears!