That Was Then, This Is Now
Posted in Projects on Tuesday the 10th September 2019 by Vicki Ormerod
Sometimes, you open a package and it's not what you expected. Sometimes you open a package and its Lady McElroy Lace Fabric, in the colour of real butter. Its delicate but not lacking body, heavy but flowing, and so unique (in my limited experience) that you decide to keep it! During this same time I was participating in a fun Instagram sewing community challenge, #flashbacksewingchallenge, hosted by 2 of the loveliest sewing friends, Faith and Michelle.
I couldn't decide on an era because I love them all. I asked for some input, and ended up drawing the 1920s out of a hat (literally). Pre-war is a new style for me, and I definitely would not have been a flapper in that time. I began to research “normal” outfits and day dresses, and quickly saw that the romantic-yet-homey medallion pattern of this lace would make a very nice garden party frock. The next part of the challenge was personal: I was determined NOT to make a costume. I love Instagram challenges but I do not love costumes. I need versatile pieces that earn their spot in my modest closet-space.
Lace is very versatile.
(Especially cotton, with 25% poly for easy care).
I washed in cold to avoid over- shrinking this time, and tumble-dried. I pressed with steam on the cotton setting and it didn't crush or flatten the texture at all. I cut out the pieces with shears for precision, and utilized the selvedge for the skirt hem. But I am getting ahead of myself!
For that 20's boxy top, the Lou Box Top by Sew DIY is the trick. Its a fantastic beginner level pattern with too many variations for me to sew in my boxy top career. I used the scoop neck version, and lengthened it to 27” from the shoulder seam. Waistlines dropped and spread for this short time in fashion history. I changed the direction of the fabric for the skirt for interest and to make use of the neat selvedge in my hems. The simple gathered skirt is 2 rectangles with width= 2x bodice and length = 31”.
To finish the neck I chose a vintage satin trim for a bit more flashback. For the sleeves, I used bias binding.
For the Then, satin trim is threaded through the medallions at the low waistline and left long to emphasize the straight silhouette.
For the Now, a braided white belt lifts the waistline and creates a laid-back feel.
For the Then, a sweet ( free pattern alert!) cloche made up in creamy wool suits perfectly. Pattern from Elsewhen Millinery, and was a neat way to try out hat-making.
For the Now, a chambray shirt is the essential all-season layer and makes the lace boho and beach-ready. Chambray and lace is always a good idea.
I enjoyed the research here- not only the styles, but the the social issues, of an era- which really is what fashion reflects.
Do you incorporate vintage styles into your current wardrobe?
Thanks for reading, you're the bee's knees!
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