Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Great Gatsby Sewing Challenge

Hello all. I am snugged up in the den this gray morning with a quilt on my lap looking out the window at the little leaf buds on our oak tree and wondering when the spring weather will show up. Having lived in Northwest Washington for twenty years, I know not to trust that spring is here until after the lilacs bloom in May. But after an unseasonable warm and sunny Easter weekend followed by two weeks of clouds and rain,   I am longing to sew up some dainty spring fashions.
While I was reading around the sewing-blogs looking for inspiration, I came across The Great Gatsby Sewing Challenge over on Miss Crayola Creepy. Now, being a curvy pear-shaped lady I am no fan of the dropped-waist and shapeless torso associated with Flapper Era fashions. My eye-for-vintage usually gravitates to the va-voom curves of the late 1940's through early 1960's. But as a modern lady I can appreciate what the 1920's did to try to free women from both the corset and the confines of gendered and socioeconomic elitism. The introduction of sportswear, the slip-on dress, and the use of knit fabrics all contributed to the breakdown of both gender and economic power structures during this period.
As I was reading the guidelines for the challenge, I saw that Erin referred to  jazz-era styles seen on the tv shows Boardwalk Empire and Downton Abbey for participants who wanted a little more inspiration. 
Any time I think of the fashions on Downton Abbey, the first thing I consider is the beautiful purple dress worn by Lady Sybil in season one. Of course this dress is a classic Edwardian shirtwaist-dress, but I think that it may be possible to take inspiration from it and bring it up to a 1919-1920 era style. And that shade of purple is apparently my best color. And the challenge will allow me to finish right in time for lilac season!
As I have been perusing 1920's fashion plates online, I have pretty much decided that I will either do a shirt-dress from very early in the decade, before the waistline dropped to the hip, or do separates from the very end of the decade, in which the separation of skirt and blouse allowed a natural waist to be visible again. I think that either of these options could be styled with hair, make-up, and accessories to read as a jazz-era outfit.
1919 Shirt-dress. could raise hem to mid calf for a bolder flapper feel.

1929 Sportswear Separates. The waist line had moved back above the hips by this time.
What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I really love both options, it's hard to choose! I LOVE the first one, but that mint separate is darling!