Sunday, January 31, 2010

Take that resolution!

Or a tale in which two is better than one

As  you may recall, one of my New Year's resolutions was to make at least one thing for myself every other month.  Well, too keep the motivation going, I joined the One Garment a Month sew-a-long on PatternReview.  The point of the resolution was to start sewing for myself for fun and not always to just whip something together under the gun for an perhaps I failed.  Last night was Bootlegger's Ball at the Wildwood Country Club and Jim and I were chosen as one of three couples of demonstration dancers to encourage dancing.  Had this been a 1930s or 40s event, I would have been set, but alas, no dice in the way of 20s clothes.  Fabric stash to the rescue!  I have some mauve cross strap Aris Allens that are great for 20s dances so I stood in my closet and pondered what I had to match the shoes.  Luckily, I was able to come up everything I needed (except a foundation garment) for a flapper dress.  I had resolved to not wear a kitchy, cliche flapper dress, so mine contained none of the following:
1. Red
2. Black
3. Fringe
4. Feathers
5. Long strands of pearls

Go me!  Sadly however, I have learned that if you want to win costume contests at historically inspired parties, you should in fact where a costume containing at least 3 of the above items

Nevertheless, I was quite proud of my creation, especially since this was my first real attempt (an 18th century chemise definately doesn't count) at draping and designing without a pattern.

I was standing a little strangely, so it's hard to see, but there is a dropped waist of the ivory silk, which helped break up all that rose chiffon.  The mauve shoes are dance shoes, so I wore regular mary-janes for the walking around outside.

I was dying by the time we got home!  5 hours of sleep, a full day of sewing and dancing for 3 hours will do that do you, or so I've heard.  I finished my dress at 4 am Saturday, slept until 9:30 and then got up to finish make Jim's vest, which also turned out smashingly.  I was finished at 3 pm and had just enough to do hair and makeup and walk out the door.  He's quite pleased with it!
I got online and youtubed 1920s hair and makeup tutorials to get the look you see above (pardon the slightly dishevelled look, this was about 5 minutes before I got to go to bed finally).  My hair is definately past my shoulders and I wasn't interested in getting my hair bobbed for a one night event.  As usual, Iris didn't let me down.  She's one of my go-to tutorial wizards on youtube when it comes to vintage hair.  I'd never used a tutorial by Miss Elegance by she certainly didn't let me down.  It was the exact look I was going for.  That classic "damsel in distress" silent film star look.  I was a bit rushed, so I didn't get it exactly right (and I have yet to learn how to reshape my brows well) but I was still quite happy and did get lots of compliments.

The vest was made to match the pants that I made him for Valentine's Day last year and he's been asking for it for quite some time.  Actually, this outfit is full of presents!  The bow-tie is a vintage piece that he got in his stocking that matches the red-orange stripe in the plaid perfectly.  The pocket watch was his wedding present, because really, what Dapper Dan doesn't have a stylish timepiece to go with his "out on the town" look?

The back is a yellow satin that matches the other prominent stripe in his plaid. 

These pictures really don't do the fabric justice, but it's pretty fantastic looking when you can see all the colors together.

This was the first upper body piece I've made for Jim and boy am I glad that I muslined it!  I've got myself a lop-sided husband and didn't even know it!  It was mostly prominent in the front, but I did wind up having to take a little dart out of the pattern on his back armhole on one side.  The things we learn about people when we sew for them!
I cheated on my dress since I had no time, nor inclination, to make the proper foundation garment to get the figure of a 12 year old boy so popular in the 20s.  Instead I butched a sportsbra by cutting the racerback out of it and rebuilding it to be hidden under the straps and neckline of my dress to achieve the same look.  Worked out pretty well too!  And I not only made my one garment a month deadline by one day, I got two out of it!


  1. I think you're adorable in your dress. And your DHs pants and vest look really, very nice. Good job! Keep on dancing!

  2. You did an amazing job on both. Your dress, especially the drapiness, is just beautiful, and your husband's vest is too cool. I really like the "total look" with the hair and makeup --- you both look great! I hope you had a great time!