Friday, April 12, 2013

The Great Gatsby Sewing Challenge: Patterns and Fabric Choices

After my post yesterday I considered a little more about what type of garment/s I wanted to sew for The Great Gatsby Sewing Challenge. As I said, being a full figured lady the thought of making a gamine, dropped waist flapper-style dress is pretty much a joke to me. Also, living in a post-feminist (kind-of) world today I realize that subduing the female form into pre-pubescent boyhood is not the best way to empower women.
I did start thinking about all the things that were brought to our modern world of fashion in the 1920's.
The step-in dress, one which didn't require assistance from servants or family members to get dressed, not only revolutionized the fashion world and ease of movement for women, it also assisted in delineating the separation between classes made apparent by costume. The step-in dress often had only a few buttons on the front-bodice, making it the link between the fitted shirtwaists of the Edwardian era and the shirt-dress of the 1940's which is still a fashion staple today.
And of course the little-black-dress assisted in this process too, as there was not as much variance or visibility of fabric quality in evening wear in the inky-shades and simple shapes.
As for my challenge project, I always gravitate toward day wear when selecting vintage styles because of their ability to mesh with a more modern aesthetic. Also, at my current skill level it is much easier to work primarily with natural woven fabrics, so that would indicate day wear as well. Then, back to my dread of the dropped-waist, I had decided on focusing at the very beginning or very end of the decade. I finally decided that some 1920's inspired separates would be best.

Day wear can be made in easy to sew fabrics, such as this skirt
which appears to be in a  cotton or linen woven.

These separates allow a natural waistline to be visible,
although the  hip is still emphasized by sashes and  banding.
I chose to use McCalls 3830, which is a straight-skirt with multiple length options.
I will be making version B, which is a mid calf length that I felt hearkened to the early 1920's. The techniques needed to make this skirt are all familiar to me, such as making darts and inserting a zipper. I considered trying to change the closures to something more period appropriate, but ultimately decided that I would put all the learning in with the blouse.
For the blouse I decided on Simplicity 1779, which I already had in my stash. 
The blouse has multiple sleeve and collar options. I decided on the long sleeves and the flat collar, but I may add in the bow- tie as well. I will definitely have to learn on this one, as I haven't done sleeves before and find them pretty scary for some reason. I also haven't done buttons or button-holes before, but I think that must be pretty straightforward.
I know I want to use a lilac colored lightweight woven fabric with a contrasting white collar on the blouse in tribute to my favorite dress from the Downton Abbey series.
I haven't quite decided on the skirt fabric yet. I have it down to 3 options.
1. An aqua textured bouclĂ© lightweight coating I have in my stash, which I may want to keep for its original intended use for a jacket.
2. A wool blend ribbed medium weight coating in dark purple.
3. A wool blend smooth-finish medium weight suiting in navy.
I'm leaning toward the latter two options. What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. I was also afraid of sewing my first set of sleeves but it wasn't as complicated as I had feared. Good luck :-)