Alongside monthly giveaways/offers and stash interviews for this year's Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge, Kestrel Makes and I also promised you monthly inspiration posts exploring different decades. I'm kicking off this monthly feature with a highly informative and beautifully illustrated look at the 1920s, by the very knowledgeable Anna of A Few Threads Loose. Anna's also this month's generous #vintagepledge sponsor, offering one lucky winner their choice of 3 digital patterns or e-books from her shop - Mrs Depew Vintage! Make sure you enter the giveaway here, by 5pm on 26 February!!! Anyway, over to Anna...
When many of us think of the 1920's, images that Hollywood has given us often come to mind. Chief among them, the flapper girl in her short tasselled dress, feathers in her short, pin-curled hair and a tantalizing glimpse of garter showing as she shimmies and shakes on a speakeasy dance floor. This is the quintessential flapper icon, she stands for every freedom that women fought tooth and nail for, the freedom to vote, to have her voice heard, to work and support herself, and the freedom to express that new-found voice in her clothing.
(Image credit: Hemline Quarterly)
Her hemline was growing shorter by the moment, daring society to try and dictate its Victorian conventions to her. Thanks to Chanel's garçonne style, her silhouette grew more square than hourglass, and interesting art deco influences began to show up in both prints, pleats, and seam shapes.
This change in silhouette meant that the corset was nearly obsolete, it became passé and most young ladies traded in their whalebone cages for tap pants, bandeau brassieres, and cami-knickers.
It is this particular freedom of the flapper girls' underwear and lounge-wear that has always fascinated me the most. I think some of this has to do with the fact that my mother, antique dealer and fashion historian that she was, often sponsored vintage clothing runway shows, and I was often one of her models. Being a string bean of a teenage girl, my (then) tiny waist was perfect for the lovely, rare Victorian gowns...which meant wearing corsets. I hated wearing corsets. I did my part as any kid raised in the family business, but when it was time for the corset to come off, my euphoria was unmatched. Perhaps that's why I can relate a bit to the flapper mind set...she is, in a word, liberated, and she shows it off.
(La Femme Chic)
As ready to wear was not really popular until the 1930's, much of our flapper girl's wardrobe was homemade. Through sewing patterns, we can easily follow the trends of this era. You can see quite an amazing collection of 1920's sewing patterns at the Vintage Patterns Wiki 1920's page.
(One of my personal favorites)
Chinese and Japanese cultures were another popular influence on 1920's fashion. One aspect of this was the kimono robe, which came to vogue, and has hardly left. A 1927 edition of Fashion Service Magazine contains a great pattern for a 'Coolie Coat' modelled after the Chinese style at the time that perfectly illustrates this influence.
My most recent 1920's inspiration has been exactly along these lines. I am lucky enough to have McCall 5044 in my personal collection and just recently finished sewing one for myself.
The robe initially started out as a wearable muslin and as I got more and more absorbed into the details of the project, it became apparent that this would end up being my most favorite hand-sewn garment.
So I went all out and even added an art deco rose monogram to the sleeve. You can see more photos and sewing details on the robe on my blog - A Few Threads Loose.
I'm really excited to also be wrapping up development on a multi-size reproduction of this pattern. It is currently in the pre-order stage and I plan to have it available to ship by March!
But for those of you who have instant gratification in mind, I'm delighted to be sponsoring February's Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge giveaway - a choice of three digital Mrs. Depew Vintage patterns or e-books to the winner!
Thank you to Anna, for such an enlightening look at the evolution of 1920s styles. I too am particularly fond of the luxurious 1920s lingerie, which Anna's monogrammed robe epitomises! What's your favourite era/decade for style and why?
Have you joined the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge yet? Check out the #vintagepledge Pinterest board for plenty of inspiration!