A Casual 1920’s Dress in Chambray

Hi, readers!

I’ve been a fan of 1920’s fashion nearly my entire life, but it’s only been the last five or six years that I have really gotten into actually sewing and wearing styles from that era.  All of my 20’s garments thus far have been essentially costumes for themed events, but this time, I’ve made one that I’ll actually wear in everyday life!

In walks the Decades of Style 1920’s Isabella Dress pattern.  When I first saw this pattern, I could really see myself sporting it.  It’s the 20’s casual daywear look that I didn’t even realize I was dreaming of!

I pictured this dress in chambray, and found this lovely orange designer chambray on the Cali site.  It’s a peachy orange with flecks of white and it drapes beautifully as well as being a dream to sew with.  For the contrast trim, I went with a Robert Kaufman London Calling cotton lawn in a black and grey leaf print.  The fabric design is reminiscent of prints that I’ve seen from the 1920’s and 30’s and pairs perfectly with the chambray.

The contrast fabric is used in pleats both on the skirt and the back bodice, the welt pockets and the flat piping.  These details really make this dress stand out.

The flat piping is made of fabric strips cut on the bias, folded in half lengthwise (wrong side of fabric together) and ironed flat.  If you were going to make regular piping, you would add some cording and sew it in.

This dress might look a little intimidating, but it isn’t difficult to sew.  The instructions are thorough and walk you through each step.  The tiny welt pockets (not sure what would fit in those!) probably take the most time, the rest is basting and sewing straight seams.  I cut out the hand sewing and top-stitched instead and finished my seams on my serger.  I generally do a lot of hand sewing and couture finishes, but I decided to skip those tedious tasks and surprised myself at how quickly this dress came together.

I didn’t make a muslin as I have sewn many Decades patterns and I’m familiar with the fit.  If I did, I would have noticed that I either needed a swayback adjustment to the back bodice piece or that I need to add some width at the hip so that the back drapes as it was drafted to.  I didn’t make any alterations to this particular piece, other than a bicep adjustment on the sleeves.

I’m super happy with this dress!  The shape and the fabric keep me cool in the heat , so it’s a great summer dress.  I’m already thinking of cold weather and making a long-sleeved version out of wool, like this textured wool suiting from Cali.  I must be crazy dreaming about a winter dress when we’re on the cusp of summer here in Northern California!

Tanya H, from TanyaMaile.com

Tanya is a Northern California ranch girl in love with retro prints and vintage patterns with a bit of modern flair. When not battling with her cat over her sewing table, she likes to repurpose junk, throw frisbees for her dogs, immerse herself in history books and geek out over sci-fi and fantasy. You can find her at her other home on the web: Mrs. Hughes.

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