Great Gatsby Fail

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Earlier this month, I signed up for the Great Gatsby Sewing Challenge over at Miss Crayola Creepy.  It was perfect timing because at the time, I was planning to attend a 1930s themed birthday party, and I promised myself I would wear something I’ve made.  I am a bit of a fancy-dress fiend, as you might have noticed.  I’ve only posted a couple of finished garments on here so far, and they’ve all been costumes!  I swear, I also make normal stuff.

My original plan was to make a navy blue version of these Burdastyle wide legged linen trousers to wear with an art-deco blouse and fabulous dripping jewelry.  I kept putting the project off, however, until the very last minute.  Two days before the party, tragically, this happened.

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I can’t very well make a pair of trousers out of that.  I didn’t have anywhere near enough fabric, so…  panic-time!  Frantically, I tore through my belongings, and managed to find a dress I’d made for a Prohibition event last year, using a Burdastyle pattern for a beautiful velvet dress.

I had intended to make my version from a luxurious navy blue velvet.  However, I didn’t want to take the chance of buying velvet online, because it’s so hard to tell what it’s like from a photo.  There was also the problem of matching the fabric to a chiffon, which I can’t do confidently from a computer screen.  I went to my local fabric shop and could not find a non-stretch velvet anywhere.  I finally settled on a navy blue poly satin, with a seriously beautiful white chiffon with a shimmery but very subtle flower pattern.  When I finished the dress, I declared it an ill-fitting abomination of low-quality materials, and I hated it so much, I didn’t even take a proper photo.  I did wear it to the party, and I have never been so grateful in my life for dim lighting!  At the end of the night, I dumped the dress in my Wupsie Pile (where all disasters go to die), and never thought about it again until last week, in my last-minute panic.

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Although the shape of this dress suits the Gatsby era just fine, it didn’t suit MY shape at all.  It bagged out in the mid-section, the straps were too far apart and tended to fall off, and the dress was far too tight at the hips.  I took a massive three inch swipe out of the back of the bodice, moved the straps closer together, and added gores from the waist on either side of the skirt.  I added some metallic embroidery thread to the front bodice, but I have so little patience for embellishments, that I stopped after I’d made two sparkly diamonds.  I tried the dress on and, although it was improved, I still didn’t like it much.

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I don’t even like this dress well enough to take a decent photo.

The day of the party, I put my dress on, took one look in the mirror, and just felt… awful.  I do not like this dress, no matter what I do to it.  The photos I’m showing you do not do it justice at all – I don’t hate these photos at all.  It’s the awful poly satin, it just doesn’t look good at all.  I felt like a complete hobo in this dress, so at the last minute, I changed tack and dressed as a fancy depression-era hobo.  Problem solved!

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Hobo-me with my friend. She came up with the name for this blog and is generally a pretty funny lady.

I made this dress, too, and the kerchief on a stick, so at least I kept my promise to wear something I’d made.

Better luck next time, eh?

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Woodstock dress

Here’s a dress I made ages ago, in the summer of 2011, I think.  What a long time ago!  I had originally bought this fabric for a jacket lining, but around May that year, my priorities shifted.  I had been invited to a Woodstock festival themed summer party, and I didn’t have anything to wear.  This print seemed to fit the bill, even if the fabric was a bit too stiff for the style of the dress.  Actually, I love the print on the fabric with all my heart.  Unfortunately, though, the weight of it is more suited to upholstery than to dressmaking.

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Do you like my hula skills?

I drafted this pattern myself, and it was pretty easy to make up.  I took my inspiration from this dress, which I had seen on Burda about a million years ago.  I couldn’t find a pattern, although I didn’t look very hard.  There was a bit of discussion on the Burda forums about the dress, and no one there had found a pattern either.  I think it might be the first pattern I ever drafted from scratch, and I managed to get it right with only one trial-make of the straps.  Then I whipped out my fashion fabric and started cutting!

The construction is pretty simple, and I didn’t do any fitting at all.  This dress is literally just a tent gathered onto a couple of straps.  The straps were the biggest construction challenge, because of the cross over in the front.  I really would like to see how a bought pattern would construct the crossover, because my way felt extremely clumsy.  The dress pulls on and off over my head, so I didn’t add a closure, although maybe it would have benefited from a little zip under the arm.

I didn’t finish any of the seams because, as I recall, this was a very last-minute project.  I only intended to wear it once for this party, and because the fabric I chose was not appropriate for the shape of the dress, I will never wear it again.

Recently, I was looking on the Map the Sewists map, created by Another Sewing Scientist, and came across a couple of other sewing bloggers in my area.  To my surprise, I came across a project by Elena at Tea for Two which used the same fabric.  I think she put the fabric to much better use than I did.  However, I kept my dress, thinking I might harvest the fabric for another project.  There’s always that jacket lining from my original plan…