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Monthly Archives: September 2014

Gatsby Picnic and the 1920s Daisy Dress

Another lovely Gatsby Summer Afternoon has come and gone! I made a new dress this year, and although I did not have the name in mind when sewing, I am now calling it the Daisy dress. It’s yellow and white, with daisy lace around the bottom, plus Daisy is a character in the Great Gatsby. I hope I am nowhere near that frivolous, though!

Here I am in front of the Dunsmuir Hellman House in Oakland, CA. The picnic is held on the lawn, but there is a tour of the house for part of the day. Lots of people also bring their lovely vintage automobiles and they are parked on the lawn to contribute to the atmosphere.  There is also a live band, dance floor, performances and contests.

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The shoes are American Duchess. My hat is a straw cloche that I bought from eBay and redecorated with scraps from the dress, plus a vintage flower.

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My dress is primarily linen, with chiffon sleeves and accents of cotton, dotted net and rayon lace. I used the 1925 Zig Zag Dress pattern from Decades of Style #2502. The pattern is well-made, but perhaps runs a little large, unless you like the looser look.  I prefer something a little more fitted, so I ended up taking the bust in a few inches. The dress is made stitching all the gored skirt panels together, then edge-stitching that to the bodice.

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I liked how cool the linen was in the heat, but linen wrinkles like crazy! I had all the skirt trimmings but didn’t have my swatch with me when I had a impulse stop to get chiffon from the fabric store when passing by. I had to eyeball the color, then run out after a few minutes. It doesn’t look too off in the sunlight, but in indoor lighting the chiffon looks too orange.

I made a few little modifications in the pattern. I bound the neckline, then made a bow, whereas the pattern calls for a loosely-draped necktie. I also used yellow thread to make a decorative zig-zag pattern over the shirred portions near the shoulder seams.

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I also made some little tweaks to the sleeve pattern. I added 2 inches, since I have long arms, and used French seams. I also omitted the snaps on the cuffs, and made them a continuous band.

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Each year I think 1930s would be more flattering, but the 1920s shape is easier to sew. Then I sabotage myself by choosing a lot of embellishment! I spent a long time pinning and sewing down all the decorations around the waist and hem. The bottom of the skirt is decorated with pale yellow dotted netting, surrounded by triangles of bias tape. The hem is polished cotton with rayon daisy lace.

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As you can see here, I left the bottom layers unattached so the look wouldn’t be so flat, and so I can slip an iron underneath the netting to access the linen.

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I reused the slip from last year’s Gatsby dress.

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Dress project cost was ~$57:

  • 3 yards linen + 1 yard chiffon: $26.10
  • 10 yards bias tape: $7.49
  • Pattern: $18
  • Hem trimmings: ~$5 (the netting, polished cotton and lace all came together, and were purchased as part of a bundle with other items, so I this is an estimate).
  • Flower: 50 cents (it was part of a $3 cluster).

I’m not counting the shoes, hat and slip in the total cost.

Kathy of Stuff I Sew also made a cute sleeveless version of the dress from the same pattern. Are all these ladies lovely? Samantha is wearing a yellow vintage dress, and Amanda and Breanna made theirs. Breanna’s dress is also a Decades of Style pattern.

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You can see more pictures from the picnic at Flickr.

AAGPBL Kenosha Comets Uniform (A League of Their Own Baseball Costume!)

“There’s no crying in baseball!” -A League of Their Own

The most comfortable thing I wore at Costume College was my reproduction AAGPBL (All American Girls Professional Baseball League) WII-era uniform. There was no corsetry or special undies other than a pair of shorts, plus it was easy to pack (and wash afterwards!)

A group of us decided to do some DIY uniforms and dress up as the Kenosha Comets! (I am on the far left).

IMG_1179-2-(ZF-2606-04749-1-009)(Photo by Andrew Schmidt).

We decided to do their white home game uniforms instead of their light green ones because we had trouble finding the right color twill. We modified a basic shirtdress pattern by extending the front so that the dress buttoned off-center, like the ones in the movie, and added belt loops. I modified Simplicity 1880.

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Our team and arm patches were made by Emily, a team member, and Barbara of Of Corset.

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I was number 8, which was Pauline Pirok on the 1943 team. Sorry, my mannequin does not have scoliosis, I just put the uniform on funny.

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I added a pocket to the side, which wasn’t part of the original design.

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My hat was a custom order from The Turnip Seed, an Etsy seller who does monogrammed hats. I sent her a picture and she was able to do exactly what I wanted. Some of the other girls on the team got plain wool baseball hats from eBay and made their own patches.  Some other people bought the officially licensed hat from K&P Weaver.

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Underneath the costume we all wore green satin shorts. I drafted my own, but a pair of men’s silk boxers would probably work as well. From beginning to end the shorts took about an hour, and I think you can tell! I was rushing to get these finished, and was afraid my sewing machine was dying, since the tension started doing some weird things.

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For “cleats” I got a cheap pair of black sneakers at Target because I don’t like wearing very casual shoes, and didn’t see myself getting any use out of them the rest of the year.

We had a blast at Costume College, and plan to do it again next year! (The rest of the team photos are by Andrew Schmidt, official CoCo photographer).

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Did you spot the lonely Rockford Peach?

Improvements for the next wearing:

  1. I need to hem the dress shorter. I tend to make my skirts a little longer for modesty, but it’s pretty clear in the team photos it’s much longer than everyone else’s dress.
  2. New socks. I need to get some darker green ones.
  3. New belt. I made mine with D rings based on an example picture, then looked at some more old photographs, and found that most of the belts had buckles. I didn’t have time to make a new one.
  4. I had to order my materials online because I was home sick for a while with the flu. The “twill” that arrived in the mail was a lot thinner than what I was expecting. Part of me wants to remake the costume more properly with the right materials, but realistically, I’d rather use the time for something else!

Project costs: Although having to pay for online shipping for a lot of things upped my cost, overall this was not too bad. My general goal is to stay below $100 for each project, unless I am doing something extravagant, and I got to stick to my budget, even with shoes included!

  • Pattern: $4.99
  • Cotton “twill”: $22.39
  • Spruce Green Kona cotton: $4.62
  • Hat: $12 + $5 shipping
  • Buttons: $6.36
  • D rings: $1.09
  • Green satin: $5.89
  • Patches: $12
  • Socks: $5.99
  • Shoes: $14.99 + tax