Friday, September 18, 2015

Fabric Shopping for my Art Deco Weekender Wardrobe

With the patterns all picked the next - and probably the most fun - job is to pick the fabrics and bits and pieces to make my Art Deco Wardrobe.

I'm trying to keep the fabrics and prints I'm using as era appropriate as possible.  Ideally I'd make it all out of vintage fabrics, but finding fabric that old, and in long enough lengths seems to be like finding a needle in a haystack.  I'm getting around this problem by using modern fabrics that have vintage-y looking prints, and vintage fancy bits like buttons, belt buckles, and collars.

So this is what I've picked!

This is a sheer polyester chiffon, and its hard to see, but it has a gold shimmer.  I thought the small scale floral print was suitably vintage-y so I bought enough to make the dress on the left.  I am toying with the idea of using a gold rayon velvet to make the cape collar, but its a day time outfit so I'm not sure.  Thoughts?  And I have bought this vintage belt buckle, which dates from the 1930s.  It hasn't arrived yet, so I have borrowed the sellers photo.

I'm also thinking of using my bead embroidery skills to make a beaded collar in a V shape, like on the pattern illustration.  I think it will finish the outfit off perfectly.

This is the evening gown pattern I have used before, and I decided to turn it up a notch by making it out of lace.  I have also purchased a rhinestone encrusted belt buckle - well actually, I purchased a whole damaged 1930s silk dress that still had the undamaged belt buckle attached.  It hasn't arrived yet, and the seller has removed the photo from Instagram, so I can't show you what it looks like.

But the other thing an evening outfit needs is a cape.  Thankfully, the same store that had the lace, also had a rayon velvet in the same colour!

I'm going to be making a floor length cape with a hood!  So I'm on the hunt for another belt buckle to use as a closure for the cape.

For the dinner dance dress I found this fabric.  Is there such a thing as a burn-out satin???  Cause to be honest, I can't think of a better way to describe this!

You see, its sheer and the solid bits have a satiny texture.  I like the deco-y print and I think it will make up really nicely.  And I already own a 1930s cape in the same colour!

I'm really excited about this one!  It all started with the vintage 1920s beaded collar I found on Etsy.  I remembered that I had seen a chiffon printed with bows!  A match made in heaven!!  When the fabric gets here I am going to find a plain fabric in the same shade of blue for the jacket.

And here is my needle in a haystack.  Some 1930s rayon crepe fabric that I'm going to use to make this dress.  There are quite a lot of colours that I could pick out to make the solid coloured jacket, but I'm pretty sure I can easily get some plumy purple rayon which would be perfect!

So that just leaves one day dress with a jacket, and the beach pajamas.  I do think I have enough to go on with at this point, so I will probably stop searching and see if the right things find me.

But then I am faced with the biggest dilemma.  Recently I have started to lose weight.  I have been working hard at the gym and watching what I eat for AGES (ie. two years) but for one reason an another (probably mostly medication for my depression, which was actually bipolar) I haven't put on weight, I've actually gained it. But in the past 5 weeks I have lost an inch off my bust, two inches off my waist, and another two inches off my hips.  My personal trainer, who has been with me for this whole rollercoaster, has set me a goal of getting my waist down three inches to 28" by the end of the year.  He says its achievable and I believe him.

So this leaves me with an issue - what size to I make all of my dresses?  I can't leave it until January to start because I won't have enough time.  All I can do I think is make them to approximate measurements (I'm thinking 38/29/41) and leave a generous side seam allowance so I can let them out an inch, or take them in, whatever is necessary.

Any opinions or advice???



  1. These are all gorgeous. Love love love them!

  2. Gorgeous fabrics. I'm afraid I don't have good advice on the sizing issue, but I just wanted express solidarity on that note! This year it has been the same with baby weight. What if I'm successful in losing it? What if I make things smaller and don't lose it? Your idea sounds good to me. Good luck with it!

  3. Sooo yummy- those fabrics. And that blue is Devore Satin (devoured satin! fr. "dev-oh-ray") the same 'etching' technique as burn-out velvet, as far as I know. Just perfect. Enjoy!

  4. That zig-zag floral vintage rayon crepe is just amazing fabric.

  5. Hi Beccie! I've been on that med/weight roundabout and thankfully gotten off it too. I had the exact same problem! Let me share what I found.

    I was able to make an educated guess at the size my body preferred to be when healthy, based on old recorded measurements from my sewing records I've kept over the past 13 yrs. Sewing to fit that size when losing the last of the weight worked really well.

    I also made up dresses so I could make the side seams all one seam, like sewed front bodice to front skirt, back bodice to back skirt, then sewed the whole dress from armscye to hem, that way.

    I also did facings so I could get easy access to adjust them, and hems as well.

    One thing I didn't realise was how much across my shoulders, my decolletage and upper back would shrink. I lost more tops and dresses to that than I did to the waist being too big. It was far harder to adjust the neckline and shoulders than the waist.

    I learnt to sew neck and shoulders with an eye to the weight loss. Making sleeves easy to unpick so I could take in the shoulders. Making neck openings a bit higher and a bit narrower than the size/pattern would suggest. (Easy to make a neckline bigger but very hard to make it smaller!)

    The length needed in the bodice shrinks as well, so the waist seams easy to unpick and adjust helps. Same with the hem, which correspondingly lowers. Also the shape of the darts in skirts/trousers could change, not just the size at the side seams, so sewing all these areas in a way easy access helps.

    Quite honestly the whole thing was a total pain and I'm really going to try to stay one shape/size forevermore! In the end, particularly because of the neck and shoulder changes, I have found it easier to make new clothes.

    However I see why you can't do that, so I'm thinking you could perhaps sew the clothes up till they're almost finished but still easily adjustable, and closer to the time fit them properly and finish them all off? Or do the dresses that will work with a smaller you first, like the kimono-sleeved ones and the ones with high necklines? Something like that perhaps?

    Hope some of that helps!

  6. I would love to read a post about how you find your vintage fabrics. You always find such beautiful prints!! How do you confirm the age of the fabric? Do you have a guide you consult or any tips you can pass on?