The ‘Great Gatsby Affair’ Dress | Debi Fry
Fabric: 2 metres of 100% cotton, £14; 1 metre of gingham fabric, £6; 1/4 metre white silk, £3
Pattern: McCall 7403
Year: c. 1934
Notions: zipper, £1.00, 6 buttons from stash (a gift), free, vintage handmade belt (recovered), £1.00
Time to complete: 15 hours
First worn: September 2011
Wear again? Yes–though I don't think it will get a heavy rotation!
Total Cost: ~£25
I was so very excited for the challenge this week–because I was very lucky to be able to stop in San Francisco enroute to visiting my family and I was able to attend the Gatsby Summer Picnic!!! It was the perfect day. I was so happy to finally get to meet Mena, Christine, Shannon and Xandra!!
Awhile back, I had a poll on my blog for which dress I should make for the event. McCall 7403 was the clear winner. I was a bit in a panic because I didn't actually get to start the dress until the day BEFORE the picnic! Eep. Luckily, I had contacted the Sewing Workshop in San Francisco and I was able to get in to use their sewing machines for part of the day. Karine, the owner, was so lovely and accommodating! I got up on Saturday at 4:30am to cut out my fabric and grade the pattern, then I went to the studio and sewed up every seam I could for the next 6 hours. The next day, which was the day of the picnic, I got up really early to hand finish the remaining parts of the dress which included hemming and attaching the collar, attaching the buttons, putting in the zipper and hemming the dress. I finished exactly 30 minutes before Mena came to pick me up for the picnic!!! Phew!
I absolutely ADORE this pattern. It was very easy to grade and put together (stop by my blog later in the week as I'll be hosting a giveaway for this pattern). Like most early 30's McCall patterns, I found that it was brilliantly drafted. I really loved the interesting details of the yoke and matching hip v-line. The back closure, the great collar and sleeves also have really unique details. I chose to make the neck yoke in red and white gingham and the rest of the dress in pure white. It seemed the perfect combination for a summer picnic. I actually decided on these fabric choices to match the red buttons I already had in my stash.
I also really love the style of belt for this dress. It's actually looped through a buckle and buttoned on each side. I used an old handmade belt I found in a vintage store for £1.00 and recovered it with the gingham fabric. I cut the buckle off (which was a self-cover buckle) and took it apart. I was going to try and recover it but it was too difficult without some sort of adhesive. At the last minute I borrowed a beaded bracelet from my friend and twisted into a figure eight and used that as my 'buckle'. It worked beautifully. I'm so glad I had it because I think the belt really helps to break up the dress and add a bit more colour!
The picnic was so much fun. I felt completely in my element. The photo above is of Mena, Christine and myself all in our handmade dresses. Mena brought an extra parasol for me to use (thank goodness because it was very sunny).
The house and grounds of the Dunsmuir Hellman Historical Estate were absolutely stunning! It was also so great to be at an event where every single person was dressed in styles from the late 1920's and early 1930's.
It was great to enjoy a picnic surrounding by people that enjoyed the same time period and who put so much thought into the day. It was so much fun to just walk around and see the various picnic settings, outfits, and vintage cars.
Oh, I wish every day were Gatsby day :) What about you? Do you like the styles from the late 20's / early 30's? Have you ever been to a costumed event where everyone dressed up?