The problem with making one thing…

…is that you need something to go with it.

Now that I have my snazzy cloche hat all ready to wear on the disgustingly hot days we’ve been having here in Melbourne this summer, I find myself wanting a full outfit to go with it. So i’m looking into making myself a 1920s-ish day dress, using one of the many retro cotton prints I have in my stash. There are, once again, a couple of problems with this idea.

The first is styling. I love 1920, but finding images of something to be made in cotton is a nightmare. For some reason,t he early twentieth century is a period that I’ve glossed over in my own library. I just straight from bustles into the late 1930s. Hitting the inter webs for inspiration turns up a whole lot of party-appropriate outfits and some gorgeous suits, but limited supplies of summer-y everyday-wear. I did, however, find this piece of loveliness.

1920s Arts & Crafts DressIt seems to do just what I want, but the simplicity of the style means that it needs the embroidery. I’m far too impatient to be able to sit down and accomplish that, even if I wasn’t using the search for a unicorn like this to avoid doing things like what I’m being paid to do. Anyone for altering the hem on a meringue wedding dress by hand? No? Yeah, unicorns it is…


Something  like this is also quite sweet and, apart from the cutwork, which I figure can be achieved by other means, probably quite do-able. But here we start to run into the second major problem with me making myself a 1920s dress. As deceptively simple as the designs are, they are made to flatter a particular figure type. Boyish, athletic, slim. A figure type which is decidedly not me. I’m more…well, I’ll flatter myself and say Christina Hendricks. Which all means that these little dresses would hang on me like a sack. Comfortable? Probably. Attractive? Well, it all depends on hoe you like the side of your barn to look.

The problem just kept coming…and coming…and coming.


Sure, there were a couple of things that I could use. Like the hemlines of the 1925 school girls in this photo – especially the one second from the left.


But I was still at a loss as to how to make something  vaguely authentic that wouldn’t make me look like a dreadnought. And I’m still at a loss. I’ve found an excellent chemise instruction page as well as many sites with guides for underwear (although again, noticeably lacking in what to do if you are constructed on more generous lines at the hip and bust), so now I just need to figure out what to put on over it. And, as I glance over at the wedding dress hanging, waiting for me to adjust it, or my job list, with about 4 other things that I should be working on right now, I’m tempted to go back to the start, dig out some of the white cotton that I’ve got in my stash, and see if I can’t resurrect my embroidery skills for an attempt on that first dress. Who says procrastination can’t be productive, after all?


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