Oh my word, how fast is this year spinning by? I still have a pile of fabrics to use up and patterns to find, not to mention still ploughing through daughter no2’s summer wishlist. I have done pretty well using up stashed fabric this year, I haven’t calculated any totals yet, not measured anything, but I’m feeling positive that I’m going in the right direction! The project I’m working on at the moment is also a stash bust, but only half.
Earlier in the year, I was asked by a friend to make a 1920s evening dress for her to attend a charity ball in September. At the time I said, yes, why not? Sounds like fun. I started looking at patterns online and had a few ideas, then when I won a pattern of my choice from Decades of Style I thought I might as well pick something useful. So together we decided on the Zig Zag dress. I duly ordered it and promptly forgot all about it.
A couple of months passed and said friend mentioned that we probably ought to make a start on the dress… OH DEAR! I admitted total forgetfulness and then thought, where’s that pattern?? Decades of Style assured me that it had been sent out long ago, so someone else is enjoying my pattern – grrrr. They sent out a new one, but of course, now we’re getting twitchy. In the meantime we bought what we thought was the perfect fabric, but it was all Croft Mill Fabrics had left, and it was less than the Zig Zag dress required. We needed to figure out contrast areas.
So I went back online, made a few sketches, had a few ideas. Eventually we settled on a new design and I started to draft from her close fitting bodice block. I drew a panel at the hip, divided the skirt into three and added 3cm of flare to the hemline of each panel. The front and back bodice both got a v-neckline, the back deeper than the front. Because the fabric has a zig-zag sequin motif I decided against any curves, so the hip panel is straight and angular. The pattern pieces fitted comfortably on the fabric, I had enough black silk charmeuse in my stash to use for the lining, we were sorted.
Except that we couldn’t decide whether the hip panel should be sequins or plain. A general agreement on Instagram was that it should be sequins, you can never have enough! I had only one way to make sure we were on the right track. I had my friend hold the fabric up against herself and I tied a width of black chiffon around her hips. Folding the fabric up to the finished length, we then looked in the mirror. We liked what we saw, then I removed the chiffon… Not so dramatic. Even though we thought sequins would be better, turns out we both preferred it with a plain black hip panel! Go figure.
The lining has been made up, all seams French seamed and the neckline stabilised with Vilene bias tape. As of now the sequin fabric has been cut and I was left with masses of chopped sequins on the cutting table, and everywhere else in the sewing room where they’d ricocheted after being cut. Thankfully my new vacuum cleaner made short work of the stuff on the carpet, but I’ve a feeling I’l be hoovering up sequins for a while yet.
Now my task is to hand baste the skirt seams, remove the sequins that are in the way and then machine the seams. The sequins are attached to mesh, so there won’t be any fraying. I’m tempted to run the seams under the overlocker, but I’m not sure it’ll play nicely with that fabric.
The Decades of Style pattern eventually turned up on Friday morning, sadly, too late for this project, but hopefully I’ll have occasion to use it. I really appreciate the company sending out another pattern, who knows where the first one ended up, but I hope the person who has it eventually gets a conscience. So, this is my task for the weekend and into next week. I want to get it all finished by next weekend, partly so I know it’s done and partly because there are lots of piles of things still waiting on my cutting table!!
8 thoughts on “On my Sewing Table – 1920s Evening Dress”
I’ll be interested to see the finished dress as I’ve just started making a 1920’s style dress for a friend to wear to her son’s wedding.
Fingers crossed it’ll be finished by the weekend, I hope I’m not tempting fate by saying it should be straightforward…..
Oh, my goodness – what a story this dress has. 😮 But sounds like you’ve got it well & beautifully sorted. (Agree with you about those sequins vs. your overlocker, but do let us know the outcome if you try it.) Will look forward to the finished view!
I’ve decided not to let the overlocker have a go, even with removing the sequins from the seam allowances and seam lines, I think there’ll be too much bulk left over and I can do without having to replace needles! Come back at the end of the week, hopefully it’ll be done! Without too much blue air…
Will send positive thoughts your way!
This is quite the adventure! I am really liking the look of this dress, but then again, I adore the 1920s!! Can’t wait to see it finished.
Overlocker and sequins? Only the brave. Or is that foolhardy. I love the idea for this dress, I hope it comes together as planned.
Yeah, I gave that up as a very bad idea! I’m hoping for fabulous photos at the event.