The “Gatsby Goes to the Zoo” Dress
- Fabric: my old shower curtain (viscose & polyester) + beaded silk pieces from a real 1920s flapper dress
- Pattern: Butterick 1257
- Year: 1923-1925
- Notions: thread (stash)
- First worn: for the Big Zoo Party, September 8,2012
- Wear again?: Yes!
- Total price: The beaded pieces were about $15 if I remember correctly. I think this pattern was $20-$30.
For your listening pleasure, here’s George Gershwin’s 1926 piano roll recording of Rhapsody In Blue, a song he wrote in 1924. Enhanced by the Denver Symphony in this digital recording.
Okay, here’s the breakdown…
Yes, yes, I’m wearing an old shower curtain. But when you need something fancy for a creative black tie event like Potter Park Zoo’s Big Zoo Party, you’ve gotta splurge. The Big Zoo Party is a fundraiser for the zoo, where I have been a docent (volunteer educator and animal handler) for six years. Before the event started on Saturday, I was busy helping with the set-up, writing auction descriptions and letters, counting cash boxes, etc., but when the guests began to arrive I donned my dress, added some peacock feathers in my hair (after all, it’s creative black tie and everyone is encouraged to add an animal element to their attire if possible–mine matched the invitations, so bonus points for me), and I was ready for the festivities.
I threw together this dress as fast as possible, partially because after my disappointment with last week’s project, I wasn’t really in the mood to sew, but also because I knew it would get dark a couple hours into the party and most people would have had a few and wouldn’t notice any problems with construction. And, in fact, I got a lot of compliments on this dress, some verbal (from the women) and some nonverbal (from the men).
Anyway, I was pretty sure that this might be the only time (besides a Halloween party or something of that nature) that I would wear this little number. But then, once I added the beaded silk pieces, which were salvaged from a real flapper dress, and added the headpiece, and especially when my make-up pulled it all together I found that . . .
I. LOVE. THIS. DRESS. And I have a friend who happens to be doing a fundraiser next month in a historic 1920s theatre downtown. She saw the dress on my dress form and told me I had to wear it. Done!
And maybe the next time we go to the Fox Theatre in Detroit for a performance, it will show up there too! I think I will be looking for excuses to wear it.
Fast and fun, practically the flapper’s motto, right? ;)