The “Beautiful Little Fool” Dress
“…that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool” – Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby.
“…Daisy, you’re quite, quite wrong” – Tempest Devyne in her front garden/yard.
Fabric: Blue sheeting from stash, blue sparkle dot tulle from Goodwill $3.99 (£2.49).
Pattern: Self-drafted. Year: Contemporary.
Notions: One re-used applique collar, plus one new applique $0.99 (62p) & thread.
Time to complete: 8 hours.
First worn: 10th September 2012.
Wear again? Possibly, though I’ll have to sew the drop-waist gathers properly first.
Total Cost: $4.98 (£3.11).
Challenge: “Gatsby Attire: This week, to coincide with the Gatsby Summer Afternoon in Oakland, we’re sewing creations from the 1920s and 1930s”.
Confession time again. I’m not a great Gatsby fan (haha, did you see what I did there?). No really, I think it might be cultural thing. I don’t get Catcher in the Rye either. I think there must be something in the American make-up or understanding that chimes home with both of this books that perhaps as a Brit I don’t identify with in the same way. But then you see, I do get and love Brideshead Revisited which I think is the British version of The Great Gatsby or vice versa. Please if you’re an English Literature major don’t shout at me if this is being simplistic.
Btw my 1st degree I WAS an Eng Lit major…and I did take “The 20th Century American Novel” as a course in my 3rd year at uni, so I’d probably shout at me if I had the energy…..but of course I don’t have the energy, because it’s so darn hot here. Do you see the lengths I go to for the Sew Weekly challenges….moving to America and putting up with the long, stupidly hot Arizona summers just so I can claim to be a method sewist for the one week that we do Gatsby? (What Gatsby?) That’s commitment I tell you!
And 1920s fashions definitely aren’t my friends. Drop waists are not kind to my voluptuous behind (and thighs, belly, and various other wobbly bits). And trust me, I did a serious amount of research online and at my local library trying to find some flattering fuller figured inspiration to no avail. Did fat women* like me in the 1920s just wear big coats or hide in kitchens? I did have a look at some dust bowl fashions but to be honest, I like my glitz and sparkle so I concocted this little number. I like that the blues echo the many, many blues referred to in the book and I hope the sparkle dot and floppy sleeves echo Fay Dunaway’s outfit when we first meet Daisy in the 1974 movie version.
*yes, my on-going mission to reclaim the word fat for what it actually is, just an adjective without the ability to hurt. Just as you are blonde, and you over there are tall, I am fat, and that’s cool too.
I desperately wanted to catch up this week (I think for the last 3 weeks I’ve posted after the Monday midnight deadline) so I kept it simple (stupid). I made a straightish shift dress in 2 pieces (front and back) from blue sheeting I had in my stash. You may remember the fabric from very early on….the “Freaky Déjà vécu” Dress. And I scored this tulle with holographic dots from my wonderful local Goodwill thrift store/charity shop ages ago but never had anything to use it for at the time. I again made a 2 piece, front and back straightish dress but this time with a high round neckline and after several bodgings came up with an armsyce shape that matched sleeves I based on ones from Butterick 4985 (except they are two piece sleeves with a gap in the top middle, so I joined the front and back pieces and made the sleeve length about 2inches longer to be floppier). I say straightish dresses because if I really made a dress straight up and down to fit my hips, it would gape horribly at the bust….I’m a 42″-44″-52″. You know, that size all the department stores make their clothes to fit ;)
I thought about sewing the pearl and sequin appliques onto the top of tulle but was worried the weight of them would warp the netting, so sewed them instead onto the blue shift underdress. I think they still work ok. And if in doubt, throw another string of pearls on….
Confession time AGAIN. You see that 3rd pic down. It’s seriously photoshopped. Nope, I haven’t taken out my wrinkles or moles, or bags, or bingo wings…..I’ve photoshopped the dress to what I wish I’d finished it to look like. As I said, I wanted to catch up this week, and post by the Monday midnight deadline…..but that meant taking photos Monday before the sun went down…..and I didn’t totally finish the dress the way I wanted to. In reality I haven’t sewn up the drop waist gathers. In reality I’ve used a elasticated pearl ring as a ‘dress scrunchie’ to gather the netting up.
*hangs head in shame and shows you the reality…..*
Oh the shame.
I WILL finish the dress properly I swear……sometime……when time allows……that’s going to be next year isn’t it? I like the side gathering but I’ll sew it flat. I promise.
See, you can trust this face….
Oh and if I’d really gotten my act together, I’d have done a movable feast of me actually doing the charleston. It’s one of the few proper dances I can do and don’t mind my wobbly bits wobbling everywhere. I do it like this. OK maybe not as seriously as that ;)
Oh, and look at that, I’ve blooming made a polka dot and blue dress. What’s the challenge next week? Polka dots. What’s the challenge the week after? Blue. Darnit. Oh well, onwards….
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past”.
(Perhaps Gatsby isn’t that bad after all….and I’m sure as heck off to see the Baz Luhrman version next year to oogle over the pretty dresses and sets, though I’m not convinced Toby Maguire will be a patch on the brilliance of Sam Waterston as Nick Carraway).