|1922 Nationals Catalog of House Dresses|
Sixteen months ago I had my baby girl and even since then I have next to no time to sew a full costume again. I have managed to make a baby a few costumes though : ) The dress dress description reads: "A very novel trimming touch in this pretty dress is seen in the smart little "flowers" of white pique outlined with hand embroider stitches in bright colors and applied to the front of the waist and the pockets with charming effect. It is made of good quality checked Gingham, and trimmed with vestee, piping and sash of white pique. Ribbon ties at the neck and sleeves are very effective. Dress slips on over the head and snaps adjust the neck closing."
For the pockets I cut out a flower from my eyelet material and appliqued it on the pocket with some pink embroidery stitching (note to self: take embroidery lessons.)
For the keyhole on the front I backed it with eyelet fabric again and trimmed it, the collar, and the sleeves with some vintage (70s?) lace.
The whole project took me about 6 hours, mostly do to all the handwork and trim. I had to sacrifice my sewing room into the hands of my baby, who pulled all my trims out of the boxes, unraveled thread, discovered fabrics I thought I had lost, and *helped* me push the sewing machine pedal as I stitched along. It was the only way the dress could get done and it was worth it! I love how it turned out. I think it could be my favorite 20's dress I have ever made.
But that's not all. When I saw I had one rectangle piece of gingham fabric leftover I naturally thought, hmmm, that's just enough for a dress for my little sewing room destroyer. I found a 1924 pattern for a dolls dress that seemed simple enough. Dolls/babies, kind of the same, right? I used more eyelet to make the top blouse and the gingham check for the skirt. Trimmed the collar and cuffs in lace, added pockets (where I finally discovered how to use the zigzag stitch on my machine to make machine applique edging) and lots of pink bows and a long pink belt. Isn't it adorable?
Together baby and I and dad (who is also a vintage costume loving guy) went to the Great Gatsby Festival in Lake Tahoe. Its our favorite event of the year.
For you fashion history buffs, a house dress would have been completely inappropriate to wear to an afternoon party. House dresses were worn at the house only, maybe to visit a neighbor, but never in mixed company. So I broke the rules for this year's event. Maybe next year I'll make a more appropriate afternoon frock. Here are some more pictures of our day: First stop was a museum tour of a 1920s house with the original kitchen still intact! A perfect place for a photo op in a house dress.
I took my hat off inside but otherwise it stayed on my head all day. This was a great blue velvet sun hat, almost identical to one worn by Margaret in Boardwalk Empire.
Stopping for a spot of tea and a picnic is a must at Gatsby's party.
Baby says this was the best event yet, thanks Mommy for my dress!
Debbie Sessions is a vintage clothing and lifestyle blogger, entrepreneur, and owner of Vintage Dancer, an excellent shopping resource for those seeking vintage inspired men's and women's clothing and accessories from the Edwardian period through the 1960s.