Tuesday, April 29, 2014

1920's Flapper Dress - Quick, Easy, and Inexpensive!

Whenever I think of a 1920's style flapper dress, I imagine layers of fringe.  However, fringe can be very costly to purchase and therefore a real budget-buster if you have many costumes to make or you are working with a public school drama budget.  So, when I needed to make a 1920's flapper-style dress for the play Chicago put on by our local high school, I started looking for alternatives.  What I came up with is a drop-waist dress that is reminiscent of the flapper style.  I found a free online tutorial entitled "How to Make a Roaring 20's Yellow Flapper Dress!!" here:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=44553.0#axzz30JGlWF00.  Following that tutorial, I created this dress:

1920's Flapper Dress with tutorial for the dress and rolled ribbon rose

I recommend the following YouTube tutorial entitled "HOW TO MAKE ROLLED RIBBON ROSES" to make a ribbon rose like the one shown in the Flapper Dress tutorial and pictured on the dress here. (Sorry it is not that easy to see the detail of the black rose pictured here, but it did come out nicely.) Here is the link to the rolled ribbon roses tutorial I followed - http://youtu.be/bRSiIe1CLpU

Lessons learned:  
  • I first made the straps out of ribbon as suggested in the tutorial.  However the ribbon tie straps I first made kept coming un-tied.  So I ended up creating one long fabric strap and threaded it through the front and back casings as shown above.  The ends were sewn together so we did not need to worry about any wardrobe malfunctions!
  • The tutorial requires you to figure out 1/3 of your hip measurement and the finished length of the skirt before you can begin cutting.  If I needed to make more than one of these, I would probably created a graded pattern for myself to make the process easier.  
  • The hardest part of making this dress is creating the pattern based off your measurements.  The dress is very easy to sew and I would consider this a beginner-level project - so don't be scared off by coming up with the pattern.  I recommend drawing out your pattern on newspaper from your recycle bin.  If needed, you can tape newspaper sections together to create a larger sheet, and if you make a mistake, return that page to the recycle bin and grab another page.     
I agree with the author of the tutorial, this dress does have great movement, and it looked fabulous on stage!

Below is a photo I found on Pinterest of a similar flapper dress done in red and black. Here, the costume designer used a black flower and feather instead of making the rolled ribbon rose.  Love it!

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