February 26, 2016

Still thinking about the dress...

The 1929 dress, that is. Do you even remember it? It was the very first thing I was sewing this year but I didn't get very far with it.

Yes of course the dress had a, probably perfectly period accurate, too loose shape but I think I can deal with that. The real problem is still fabric. I always struggle to find good (and affordable) fabrics for styles from the 1920's and 30's. It just seems like all those dresses were designed for the finest of silks and wools. Even if I could still find those fabrics, they would be out of my budget. Even rayon/viscose is often hard to find. 

In this case, I was very surprised by how much I liked the colour I used for the toile. I didn't think about it when I cut into that stuff but that pale grass green really looked good on me. Just a pity that the fabric is a bit too transparent and I've used almost all of it.

I've been on the look-out for a fabric for this dress for the past month and my choices seem to be limited. One thing which appeals to me is a very drapey viscose velvet but there are only a few colours on offer right now (there will be more choice again in autumn...): Bright purple, deep dark aubergine, dark green, dark blue, very bright blue and yellow. 
I can't wear yellow, the bright blue really is too electrically bright, the bright purple just seems wrong for the period, the dark green is too christmas-y and the dark blue would be too severe. I kind of like the aubergine but doubt how flattering this colour would be on me. And whether or not any of these offerings would be anywhere near period accurate. I am not looking for a perfect match here, just for something which would not have been completely out of place back in the day.

So, I didn't buy any fabric but I did do a quick search on Pinterest for colour pictures of 1920's dresses. Of course, such a search mostly yields gorgeous examples which were made by the era's great designers and now live in museum collections. It does give some idea of possible colours though. 

My vague idea that pale colours were popular at the time proved kind of true. Especially part wear often came in pale hues but it was not all white.

There were really three kinds of colours I really liked. Three which I saw a couple of times: Pale greens (like that green I used before), mid blues/turquoise and burnt orange. 
Fabrics, it seems were often velvets and light silks (often not in shiny varieties). 

These are shades which could look good with my colouration and I can imagine this dress design in them. So, I guess I will have to look for some nice, drapey fabric in a colour like this. That velvet in the right colour would be really good... I can find stretch velvet in at least that blue but I really worry about how that would behave.
And I think I should consider some trim after all...


  1. Cute!


  2. Would a synthetic fabric like poly charmeuse or georgette works?

  3. The toile colour looks lovely. I don't suppose any of the bridesmaid type artificial silks would work?
    I think the stretch velvet could be very tricky with this pattern.
    I am making a 1933 day dress and have opted for linen after a lot of consideration.