The Planning and Research are the Best Bits

It's been a long time since I made a post that wasn't just a translation, hasn't it?  Well, I have been doing some things.

- I did finish hemming the demi-polonaise!  Here it is in its untrimmed and unironed glory:

It has to be over my thesis gown, because this dress form is a little too big.  Even with a shirt balled up under it as a makeshift bum pad, it's not quite staying at the waist.  Well, soon I will order a Uniquely You form and have one that I can actually use.

- I've been working on my 1920s presentation for Dress U (though not so much this month), and buying magazines off eBay to do research.  It's totally necessary that I have a Delineator from 1889 for this project, you see.  Um.  Anyway, I hope to scan them in entirely and host them someday, but I'm not sure when that will be - in the meantime, individual pages and prints will more than likely work their way onto here, because they're too interesting to just stay in hard copy for my eyes only!  Especially the 1834 Godey's, which I am almost too frightened to touch.

- Probably the most disruptive is National Novel Writing Month.  I did it every year when I was in undergrad (although I only won once), but I had to give it up while I was at FIT and writing my thesis, because if I'd thought it was hard making time before, it became completely impossible to even think about it then.  It's looking like I'm going to finish this year, which is good, but it means I don't have a ton of time after work.

- Because of NaNo, there's really no chance I'll get to sewing before the end of the month, but in the meantime I'm trying to make sure that I actually get on sewing in December by picking out patterns and fabrics.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to use this 1918 VPLL skirt pattern and this 1912 waist pattern, altered for a lower, wider waistline.  You can see in these two pages from my 1921 McCall's and a 1920 page I got from eBay (the .jpg, I mean, I didn't buy the page) that the same skirt silhouette was in vogue, with extra width or free-hanging panels on the sides.  Crossover fronts were still worn, and elbow-length sleeves.

I'm looking into fabrics, but I have a lot to choose from and I don't know what I want.  Waist possibilities: hunter green gingham, red-striped blue oxford, blue check with a little woven ladybug, peach/sterling check, and a green-tufted white cotton.  Skirt possibilities: taupe with white stripe, olive and black twill, dark olive oxford suiting, navy cotton, and jade green lawn (either as an overlay or for just the side panels).  I'm leaning toward the peach/sterling check and the navy cotton, what do you think?

The nice thing about 1920s court dress is that you need to have a train and white plumes, but there's not really a set form it needs to take (compared to the robe parĂ©e).  There are court robes de style (1, 2) and there are court dresses that are basically ordinary - but couture - evening dresses with trains (3, 4).  I like this evening dress:

I don't have a pattern to approximate it, but I think I could drape that.  I think.


  1. Dear Cassidy,
    The demi-polonaise is looking pretty. That you have a 1934 Godey's is amazing! Have you dared to peep inside?

    Very best,


    1. I have a little bit - you can see it's not in great condition, I'd like to scan it soon so I can read it in more depth. There are no plates, but there is a discussion/description of the latest fashions.

      I'm going to order some voile when I get the 1920s fabrics and hopefully put a nice volant on a petticoat and an edging on the polonaise bit, so it will look much better at some point. Oh, and I can't forget that it requires a mantelet ...

  2. Wow, this is really exciting! I too love the idea of peach/sterling. The images are so nice and crisp. I've never tried making a 1920-21 dress for myself, as my pear-shaped figure looks just wretched in those hip-accented lines. But I have a photo of my grandma looking stylish in something like the surplice-wrapped front dress in the upper right of the first image. She's holding her twins (my mom! and uncle) and has her long hair pinned up in a fake bob. The skirt is a bit longer, tho, as I bet she felt funny showing that much leg!
    Keep those comments coming,

    1. It is kind of tough mentally getting ready to make something 1920s to wear. I could only face up to it by going to the very beginning of the decade, when some kind of figure is allowed, and I think I'm going to have to realign my standards of beauty some. But then I look at pictures of matrons from the 1920s who don't look terrible, and watch Boardwalk Empire (which has excellent costuming) and I feel like it's doable!

      I'd love to see that picture, it sounds adorable.


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