Post-Hiatus Art Deco Glamour

Ok is it just my dirty mind or do other people read the words ‘post-hiatus’ and see something else?

Just me?  Righto.

A while back my lovely Modern Flute/Piccolo friend mentioned she was going to a 1920s themed cocktail party.  If you’ve ever had the good fortune to lay eyes upon my lovely Modern Flute/Piccolo friend, you’ll know that not only does she have a perfect bob-cut, but that all the kayaking and cycling she does has left her with the absolutely perfect athletic Art Deco figure.  Naturally I jumped up and down like a three year old and begged to make her something.

After rifling gleefully through all the Vionnet dresses Google Images had to offer, I settled on a couple of inspiration shots:

vionnet 1

via

We loved the idea of a drapey back.  Because I am not kidding, that is pretty much exactly her figure.

I also really liked the idea of an asymmetrical hem, but so much in the standard 1920s handkerchief skirt format, more in a sort of Poiret-influenced way.  So in a sense to mash together the handkerchief skirt construction with some slightly earlier Poiret-y sash/robe/train-like connotations.  I guess if I was going to be harsh on myself I would say ‘mullet skirt’, but it’s not really, I swear!  They were everywhere in the ’20s, especially if you look at wedding dresses, where you often get a train on a knee-length dress.

poiret illustration

via

See?  It’s not really so much a mullet skirt as a Japanese-influenced-train-obi-thing.

So, drumroll please, here is the final design I decided on:

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On Goethe Institut paper, no less.

The front is straight-grain, all very respectable, then you turn around and it’s all flowing bias-cut drapery.  The sash is separate so it could be tied at the front or the back or however you please.

Then yesterday, having (finally) got the weight of the stupid hour long but pass/fail marked presentation I had to do for postgrad seminar off my shoulders, I finished the toile.  It looks a bit stupid on Dido, because she’s a lot shorter than my friend.  But it’ll be fitted this afternoon, and we’ll go shopping for fabric.  I’m thinking especially of a beautiful teal-blue silk I saw last time…  much nicer and drapier than the horrible pieced-in-places Lincraft polypop I use for patterning.

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I didn’t so much pattern the sash as just use a scrap.  Also the photo’s massively cropped so you don’t have to deal with the mess on my floor, dear reader.  Who says I don’t care about y’all?

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And the back.

I have since trimmed the train a little so that the folds hang a bit more evenly.  The sash will also be much wider and nicer and less like a giant scraggly bit of scrap-poplin in the finished version.  Then all that shall be required is a nice cupid’s bow, a few sets of beads and tons of Kohl, and we shall have our very own Louise Brooks (and not a bad likeness at that!).

c. 1925: Louise Brooks standing by the stairway.via

Now if only we could find a pair of shoes like that…

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Like knitting.  I’m knitting a jumper.  I have the back and about a third of the front.

Or the late 1920’s style dress I’m making for my Flutey Kayaking Friend who has the PERFECT 1920s haircut and she’s going to make everyone think Louise Brooks has come back to life and turned up at their college party.

Or possibly what the hell I’ve finally decided to do with that measly 1.2m of chartreuse silk seersucker that’s been sitting in my stash for nigh on 9 months (can I call it my baby now?)

Now I’m going to go into a particular peevy peeve of mine.  THIS IS YOUR LAST WARNING TO TURN BACK. HERE BE RANTING.  IF YOU JUST WANT TO HEAR ABOUT THE FLAPPER DRESS, OR IF YOU RESENT SKINNY AND/OR FAT PEOPLE SINGING STUFF AND/OR HAVING OPINIONS, MOVE ALONG AND FIND THYSELF OTHER INTERWEB-PASTURES NOW.  

I’ve been researching for my postgrad presentation, and it‘s made me angry and ranty.   Mostly, people are very caught up in how big/small opera singers are rather than how they sound.  I just want to get something straight: FAT LADIES AND SKINNY LADIES AND IN-BETWEENY LADIES ARE ALL ALLOWED TO SING OPERA. THEY ARE ALLOWED TO BE WHATEVER FACH THEY HAPPEN TO BE.  JUDGING PEOPLE ON WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE WHILE IGNORING WHAT THEY CAN DO IS SO FREAKING PRE-FEMINIST AND DOUCHEY.

Sometimes large lyrics come in little packages, and sometimes light cols come in big ones.  I’m not saying it happens all the time, but I wish people wouldn’t get so freaked out when it does.

Said as a decent-sized lyric who’s frequently accused of being too skinny (no, it is in no way deliberate), with many dear friends who get accused of the opposite.  It’s horrible either way.  Some people can have personal trainers and nutrition and weights and still be big, just as I will still be small no matter what I eat or how much exercise I do. If I didn’t have the scrawny genes, I would probably have already died of several heart attacks with the sheer amount of fromage I consume.  It’s horrible to hear of my friends getting fat-shamed or concern-trolled when they’re either way fitter and healthier than me, or they’ve been trying to lose weight and it’s really hard, or they honestly don’t care what size they are, they know the risks, they’re grown-ups.  It’s like sometimes people actually think someone’s going to turn around and go ‘REALLY??? OMG I NEVER NOTICED I WAS 130kg BEFORE YOU POINTED IT OUT, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!  I’LL JUST WAVE MY MAGIC WAND AND BECOME A SIZE 12, SHALL I???  JUST SO YOU CAN HAVE THE GLOWING HOLY SENSATION OF KNOWING YOU WERE THE ONE WHO HELPED ME FIND THE GLORIOUS LIGHT.’  Conversely, it’s also horrible to hear people walking behind you on the street saying to each other ‘omg she’s way too skinny!  That’s so unhealthy!  She’s probably got, like, an eating disorder.  Skinny people are so freaky, amiright?’  Come on.  I know there’s a particular summer dress that makes me look like a hat-stand with a little natty table-cloth draped over it, but SOMETIMES IT’S 37 DEGREES AND AN UNDERWEIGHT GIRL JUST WANTS TO WEAR A DAMN DRESS THAT DOESN’T FEEL LIKE IT JUST FOUND ITS WAY HERE FROM 1835 WITH ALL ITS FREAKING PETTICOATS, JUST SO THE GENERAL PUBLIC WILL BE SPARED THE HEINOUS VIEW OF HER STANDY-OUTY RIBS.  

Just like sometimes a girl is a size whatever and has the goods to be an opera singer.

Body policing is such a bitch.

And I was going to post something happy…