Every year the Art Deco Society of California puts on the The Gatsby Summer Afternoon. This Gatsby Event is the highlight of my year, as far as vintage events go, and this year was no exception. The weather was perfect (high 70 degrees and breezy), the picnics were exquisite and the company eclectic and entertaining.
For this year’s ensemble, I chose to replicate a look that my grandmother wore (see photo above) in one of her modeling photos. I’ve admired this dress for years and have not quite had the nerve to re-create it until now. That front neck detail with the capelet and ruching really had me flummoxed.
When I mentioned, on Instagram that this was my plan, Deirdre from Vintage Pattern Lending Library suggested I use one of her patterns to start and then she sent it to me! How lucky am I? Thank you Deirdre! The pattern was a perfect jumping off point and it really took the pressure off to have a pattern to start from.
I’m pretty pleased with the overall look, considering, in the end, I only had about a week to pull it off. I completed the ensemble with me-made purse, hat and jewelry. There are a few changes I would make, given the time and inclination (neckline wider and capelet longer in the back). Overall, though, I’m pretty happy with the whole look.
Here you can see the progression from first prototype to the actual fashion fabric. If I had more time, I would have made a second prototype before using the fashion fabric.
To make the front neck detail, I had to do a dramatic pattern adjustment, accommodating for the front gathers and drape and also for a small opening on either side, which the capelet passes through. You can see the pattern correction above.
Additionally, I put the front and back bodice pieces on the bias, because it looked like the original was on the bias. I also made the front and back bodice larger at the hip to accommodate my measurements.
For the skirt, the front had far more fullness than the back and I didn’t like that. So, I balanced the front and back. See Illustration below.
The capelet was drafted as if it were a “sailor collar”. You can see the original draft above.
Here are the details for the outfit:
Fabric - Handkerchief weight Linen/Viscose Blend - Britex Fabrics San Francisco
Hat Pattern - Vintage Pattern Lending Library - 1931 Ladies Brimmed Cloche Hat - Reproduction Sewing Pattern #H5651- fabric from leftover dress scraps and ribbon from my stash.
Highlights from the 2018 Gatsby Summer Afternoon
The Group above is part of the Eagle Field Foundation - A non-profit foundation based in the heart of California with the mission to preserve military history. They are kind of like a living, traveling museum and they really pulled out the stops for this amazing tent & military vehicle display.
So much fun! It’s always the 2nd Sunday in September, so mark your calendar! Until next time, Happy Sewing!