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


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


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:


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.


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?


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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