Monday, 22 June 2015

1920's Vintage Style Jean Harlow Inspired Dress and Fur - Butterick 5981 & Vogue 8814

The inspiration behind this outfit is two-fold. Firstly after a highly successful Lord of the Rings themes murder mystery (like a live action roleplay) my friends and I were keen for more and it was decided that we would do a 1920's Chicago themed event for the next one. This is the reason I have not blogged this yet, even though I made it well over a year ago - this event never came to fruition though, so I figure I better blog it now! The other reasoning behind it, is because the High School where I teach had an "Old Hollywood" theme for it's Senior Formal that year. As such, I sought a Jean Harlow type look for the event.

So there were two main sources of visual inspiration these were old images of Jean Harlow and Daisy Buchanan from Baz Luhrman's adaption of The Great Gatsby

Let's start with the fur wrap first. This was made using Butterick 5981.
It took me a while to find the fight style that I wanted to use, but I eventually settled on this one as I liked how it 'sat' on the shoulders rather than being held on by wrapping. I made this using an ivory faux fox fur from Spotlight, lined with a Deluxe Ivory Satin. The embellishment detail was inspired by this image of Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby

This is the style of dress I wanted to replicate

I purchased some glass chandelier droplets and simply attached them intermittently along the bottom of the fur. I didn't use anywhere near as many as Buchanan wears, primarily because they are so heavy, but I think I still got the look across. 

I finished the fur with a pearl and rhinestone brooch I bought from a jewellery store in Amsterdam. 

See pics below!

 The Dress:

I wanted something with an Art Deco cut without looking too much like a costume. I wanted the lines of a 1920's/30's silhouette but wanted to avoid a straight up and down 'box' cut dress. Therefore I avoided the flapper styles and opted for Vogue 8814. The Pattern is slightly fitted yet still features some wonderful geometric lines and of course that gorgeous flared flounce at the bottom. It comes with three length options, and whilst I did toy with a shorter length, eventually I settled on the longer style as it felt more appropriate to both the time period and the look I was after. 

See Vogue Photograph and Pattern Illustration below:

Despite the mammoth amount of fabric this dress uses (that bottom flounce is the culprit) it is relatively easy to put together. The exact same inside and out, fully lined. I don't usually muslin/toile if i'm lining the dress as I use the lining as my muslin. The lining slipped right on and off with out any need for a zippers so I made the shell of the dress and put this bad boy together. Piece of cake! Finishing the hem took a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG time though!

I had played with ideas of adding embellishments to the dress and even bought some sparkly trim and a beaded bodice applique yet eventually decided it was going to be 'wow' enough when teamed with the wig and jewellery. 

Overall, I think this worked out well for the intended purpose. Whilst it is a shame that it only got to be worn once, it did win me the "Most Hollywood Teacher" award at the school formal!

Left is Jean Harlow, Right is me!

It was a simple enough design to put together and looks quite elegant. 

Thank's for reading, please feel free to comment, pin and share!