Monday, December 3, 2012

A late 20's dress for Lanternlight


This past Saturday, a group from the DFWCG attended Plano Heritage Farmstead's holiday celebration - Lanternlight.  The theme for this event is usually turn-of-the-century Victorian/Edwardian, but this year they switched things up a little and did 1920's, which was SO much fun! 

In the past, I've kind of turned up my nose at 20's fashions because I don't find them to be the most flattering styles, but I've really come around over the past few years and I'm enjoying them more and more.  I've discovered that not all 20's dresses look like shapeless feedsacks, and some of the styles are really chic and fun to wear. 


For my dress, I used an undated Pictorial Review pattern, which I am guessing from the styling is from 1930-32ish.  But you can see from the pattern diagram on the back that there is almost no shaping in the dress, and I discovered that if you wear the belt at the hips and shorten the skirt a little, it passes for a 20's dress with no problem. You could really see the changes going on in the pattern industry with the way this pattern was made.  It has a very brief instruction sheet like older patterns with only the most basic construction steps covered, but then it also has printing on the pattern pieces with cool little illustrations and extra hints and tricks for how to put it all together.  Compared to the other 1910's and 1920's patterns that I own, this wealth of information must have been such a welcome change for home seamstresses!  The only changes that I made to the Pictorial pattern was to leave off the cuffs (no good reason why - I just got lazy), and I also omitted the collar so I could wear a fur collar instead. 


Although you see a ton of fur collars on coats in the 20's, it's much harder to find them on dresses.  I got really excited when I found this 1927-28 dress illustration in the book Montgomery Ward Fashions of the Twenties (there's a link at the bottom of this post), since it appears to have an attached fur collar and it looks so similar to my dress anyway.  But there is nothing noted about it being fur in the text, so I'm guessing it was really some type of velvet or plush.  I have occasionally seen photos of women with fur collars worn with a dress, like this one, but I'm pretty sure most of those are stoles instead of anything that is attached.  Obviously, it doesn't make sense to put fur on a dress that needs to be washed, but I was really determined to have a fur collar on this outfit, so I did it anyway.  Shhh... don't tell the authenticity police!  I found this clip-on fox fur collar on etsy, and since it is not permanently attached, I can still wear the dress and wash the dress without the fur, so I don't feel quite as guilty about it. 

My dress is made from polyester crepe, which is another strike against me on authenticity.  But I had my mind set on making it in deep red, and when I was buying fabric for it last summer, this is the only dark red crepe that I could find.  The buttons and belt buckle are all vintage mother of pearl.

For the hat, I reshaped a modern wool felt hat using my vintage hat block.  I'm kicking myself for not taking pictures of that process now, but I was so tired this past week that it never crossed my mind until I was almost done.  But all I did was wet the hat and stretched it and pinned it over the block so it would sit down much farther on my head.  Once it was dry, I cut the brim to a shape that I liked, then wired and bound the edge of the brim with a strip of silk taffeta.  For the decorations, I had originally planned on making some fancy fabric flowers, but I ran short on time, so I ended up buying a huge velvet poinsettia from Hobby Lobby, and I hot glued the individual petals onto the hat. 

The shoes are from Aerosoles, and they are called Ticker Tape.  I thought they were so perfect for 20's costumes, and they were quite comfortable too.  I just replaced the leather cord with a ribbon since I didn't like the way the cord looked on its own.  Aerosoles has quite a few retro-styles of shoes, and they have good sales too if you are patient and keep checking back. 

So that's about it.  I had a blast wearing this costume, and I was pleasantly surprised at the number of compliments that I received at the event.  I guess 20's dresses might not be so terribly unflattering after all.  ;)  You can see more pictures from the event on my Flickr page.














21 comments:

Loren Dearborn said...

Super adorable, I really love how chic and flattering this is, definitely NOT a feedack, lol! And so Christmasy!

Sean MacKenzie said...

That is so pretty! I used to hate the 20s, but now I can't get enough of it!

The Fictionista
{sean-mackenzie.blogspot.com}

Augustintytär said...

You look so beautiful! This is the most fabulously glamorous 20's dress I've ever seen! Every detail is perfect. From the hat and hair to the stocking seams. And I'm not supposed to like the 20's. But I guess I adore it now. :)

Sandrine said...

Aww, you and your little guy are so cute on those pictures!! I love your dress! Now I need to make more 1920s fashion... :P

Lauren R said...

Adorable and very flattering! I love everything about your creation - the color, the fur, the fit, the way you accessorized it. You are such an inspiration!

Cathy Raymond said...

Aside from looking really true-to-period, it's stunning on you! You rock!

Cassidy said...

The 1920s seem to be sucking everyone in - I feel like everyone is having one of these epiphanies recently! You look excellent and my first thought on seeing your picture was 1928-29, I didn't realize you'd used a later pattern.

cathgrace said...

The hat is stunning! You look so beautiful and "right" in this!

The Choll said...

I'm still reluctant to try the 20's, but dang you wear it well! And you are rocking a great Cora Crawley vibe in the last picture.

Sarah Walsh said...

Well, twenty-three skidoo!! I love this outfit so much!! How did you do the seams on your hose? And your son's outfit is to die for, what a little gentleman!

Time Traveling in Costume said...

Beautiful! I haven't seen many '20s outfits I like and this one has changed that. The color is gorgeous on you.
Val

Tiffany said...

Omg! I love it! Especially that last pic :)

Jen Thompson said...

Sarah - the seamed stockings are vintage. I was incredibly lucky and found a whole box of them at an antique store one time!

Aubry said...

Wow! You look truly fabulous! I'm so happy to see that pattern made up. I love what you did with it.

Caroline said...

Charming! I love it! And the way you did the hat was super clever. The petals are so fun!

Caitlin said...

I love the fur collar and I love the color. Not going to lie, I would wear a dress like this just on a normal day.

Gina said...

Oh Jennifer, this is stunning! You have such a beautiful look!! I am so loving this!!

harmanhay said...

Beautifully done, dear lady, once again!

Chelsea said...

I love the hat! Where does one find a vintage hat block?

Jen Thompson said...

Chelsea - I got my hat block from a local antique shop. Sometimes you'll see them on ebay and etsy too.

Lady Mellilah said...

That color is soooo scrumptious! Love it.

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