*Portions of this post originally appeared on the Cali Fabrics blog*
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.
I didn’t even realize that I had pretty much copied the pattern illustration until I had this dress sewn up! I was just looking for a chambray that would look good made up with this pattern and would be close to period correct, and this is what I decided on. Then I went looking for some contrasting lawn that appealed to me (along with the aide of dear Janet from DoS) 🙂 and chose this pattern.
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!
I finished this dress just in time to wear on the day of a special event that I’ll be sharing soon. As I was dressing up in a 20’s ensemble for the evening, it seemed apropos to wear a 20’s day dress, too.
*Note: I received the fabrics for this dress at no cost as I am on the blogging team for Cali Fabrics. I received the pattern as a gift. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.
- Dress: Decades of Style 1920’s Isabella Dress in chambray and cotton lawn, made by me
- Shoes: ReMix Vintage
- Necklace: Vintage 1920’s
- Lip color: Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy in “Envious”