My friends invited me to a New Year party themed "The Oriental Express". At first I thought — 1930s, Poirot; but then I reconsidered and went with 1920s instead. Off to internet I went to research and ended up on Pinterest with tousands of photos of dresses, slips, underwear jewelry, hair, accessories, and makeup. I even found patterns and sewing instructions there, which I could follow to the original sources.
I made a few things for this party. I even bought make up! And wore it too along with an Eton crop hairstyle with curls. I made a foundation slip, a dress, a sash, a necklace, a bracelet, and three pairs of earrings (I was on a roll). The final style inspiration photos and the pattern is on my Pinterest board. That way this post won't be any more photo heavy than it already is.
The jewelry was finished first. I wanted a long beaded necklace that is so iconic for 1920s. Panduro has an ok selection of beads, but these glass ones were closest to the inspiration pictures I could find. I stringed the beads alternating one large and one medium on a fishing line for the necklace and stretch cord for the bracelet. Since I have a pierced helix in addition to ear lobes, I made a special earring for that as well.
The foundation slip (or a costume slip, as the pattern calls it) is made from black tabby viscose. Everything is hand sewn with french seams and catch stitch hems. I followed the sewing instructions on the pattern and it went together really quickly. It was finished in only two days. If I had used a machine, it would have only taken a few hours.
Hip detail. After I'd pinned it together wrong (french seams go wrong sides together for the first pass, not the usual right sides together, and I always forget at least once during a project) at first, it really was not as fiddly as I'd anticipated. On the hanger the sides droop, but on me, the hips lift the sides and the hem is level.
The dress is made from polyester chiffon (I could not find silk chiffon), also hand sewn with whipped french seams and hand rolled hem. The seams are not as tiny as the instructions say because I need not to zone out and do my default 6-7 mm seams when hand sewing. If I find silk chiffon, I may do this again and use properly tiny seams. The skirt is a simple square that I hemmed first. After I sewed and hemmed the bodice I cut the round hole in the square and sewed the skirt to the bodice.
Detail of the hem. I did not enjoy working with polyester, it feels so icky in my fingers and it frayed like mad. I was still finding stray hairs that had worked their way out while I was taking the photos. Ugh. However, it was good practice. I had not done a proper teeny hand rolled hem before and this dress had plenty of hem to practice with. I ran out of time and hemmed the sash on the machine the day of the party.
This being the first try, there are things to improve on: foundation slip neckline is too high, the shoulder straps could be a little slimmer, the right one needs to be moved (it keeps slipping down), dress front V is too low, and the seams in chiffon could be tinier. I could remake the foundation slip top and that will fix all those things. I have enough fabric left for longer shoulder straps, but I want to get back to spinning and knitting.
Apart from those minor details, I am pleased with what I've made. I had so much fun researching, and making this whole project. The viscose is absolutely luscious, and a pleasure to sew and wear. I love it so much that I'm contemplating sewing a few home dresses with it from the same slip pattern. The jewelry set may get worn to modern formal occasions, if any come up. I am really chuffed how they turned out.
The party itself was really fun with good food, a murder mystery game (of course, it's Oriental Express!) which my team won, lovely guests, and awesome hosts. Not only did I have fun researching and making, I had even more fun at the party. Here is to an awesome 2016! Terviseks!