My amazing Grandma who I still regularly go to for sewing advice and who often comes to me for computer advice was turning 90 years young. I say that because while she is 90, she is very active and busy. She works out 3 days a week, has card parties with her girlfriends and is very spirited. She taught me to sew when I was very young and even though there are many miles that divide us we still remain close.
My Grandma loves to dress in costumes. Any holiday you can see her dressed up; a bunny for Easter, a Leprechan for St. Patricks Day (we all know this costume is for free beer at the pub), Mrs. Claus – you name it. So my Aunts thought it would be great fun to have a costume surprise party for her birthday. The boys and I were talking about what costumes we wanted to go in and decided as Gatsby was the year she was born we would dress in 1925 style. My son Taylor – pretty much already dressed this way regularly – what can I say the kids got style – and Ethan and Kam were up for anything.
After going to many vintage stores locally and looking online I started to realize unless I wanted to be a flapper and spend a good deal of money on a dress I would have to make something.
I rented the Great Gatsby with Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan and started sketching. I think my favorite dress from the movie was this scene from a day party they were attending.
I loved the flow and feel of it. The embroidery was beautiful, definitely more day dress than flapper but still embodied the style of the era. I loved Cloche hats and was hoping I could make one.
Whew I had a lot to do and after a quick hour search realized that there weren’t any patterns that were close to this that were not discontinued and even close to my size.
Instead of starting from scratch I decided to find a few patterns that had elements of what I was looking for to then combine and make my own design. I leveraged the under dress of Simplicity 9034 as it had a similar neckline of Daisy’s dress. I did not use the bottom skirt portion of that dress however. The skirt (both under and over) were a modified version of Simplicity 1500 and the shell overlay for the top was made from Burda 6922.
The trick really became making all of these pieces seamlessly align, to drop the waist at the right point and to create the right drape. I started the top first and made a muslin test of the under dress and over shirt and marked up any adjustments on the muslin. Then I tried attaching the under dress to a skirt. The adjustment here was to the opening to attach to the top to make the drop waist dress. The pattern was more fitted and I had to adjust the skirt to match the top opening. I knew I’d have to do the same for the overdress. After about 3 muslin mockups I had my pattern and here is the final result. I had the overdress fabric in my stash and used lining to keep the dress light for summer for the under dress in a tobacco color. The sash was organza and the embroidery details were stitched out as lace.
My hat was a really fun project. I have bought more fabric to change up the design and make a couple more. I used a pattern I downloaded from a designer on Etsy named Elsewhen Millinery. After a few adjustments I ended up with this great hat. I used a soft suede to make it that matched the color in my dress. Added the matching organza and embroidery to tie it all together.
My men all looked so handsome and I think overall we carried the look well. As for Grandma’s party – It was so fun seeing everyone dressed up in different costumes. Grandma had an amazing time and now we all can’t wait till her next big bash!