November 10, 2014

Your Wardrobe Unlock'd Competition 2015 Plans

My entry from last year!
So last year I decided to finally try entering the annual Your Wardrobe Unlock'd Competition and made an Edwardian evening gown. Inspired by that one Worth evening dress with the swirling black velvet, I made the gown above and sadly have not worn it again since those photos were taken! I still really love this gown, I can't believe it was one of only two costumes I made this year, for shame!

My entry last year was a stressful project, mostly because I didn't allow myself enough time, so I was on a serious deadline to get it done. I also had to make a full set of Edwardian undergarments before I could make the gown. I had never done Edwardian costuming before, and had also never made a real corset with a busk! I mean I got it all done, and I love the final corset and gown, but it was a bit stressful taking on a new era; and it was even more expensive! I had a full time job last fall which meant I could afford to make that ensemble, which probably cost me close to 300 dollars when I was done. I sadly no longer have that kind of disposable income to invest in a costume!

I am already planning on adding a new era to my repertoire here soon buy making an 1880's corset and hopefully a day dress to go with it after the new year. That's my rough costuming plan for this spring and I don't have the time or the money to invest in another new era's worth of underpinnings! Which means sadly I will not be participating in the more exciting of the two themes for this years Competition, 1914 and early WWI . I really want a 1914 era evening gown, trust me I do, but just can't swing it this year!

So I turned to the second theme option for the competition, which is basically choose your own adventure.

"Pick a period dress or outfit from a museum or a personal collection, either an actual garment or a painting or photo of a garment. Recreate it exactly, or interpret it to suit your figure/coloring/aesthetic, keeping in mind period fashion sense. You should look like you stepped out of a painting or a photo from the time." (YWU)

So I poured over the one period I knew I could manage this year, the 20's of course (no corsetry required!) I scoured pinterest for a photograph of a great 20's dress I could actually replicate and didn't find much that fit the bill. I can't exactly hand bead a dress in time, nor do I have access to the level of textile awesomeness many dresses would require. Then I stumbled onto a picture of a dress I already knew well, and even better actually owned a pattern for, the geometric Vionnet dress from 1922.

Janet Arnold included the pattern/study of this dress in her book Patterns of Fashion 2. I really like how simple and art deco this dress looks, though I am happy that the YWU prompt says we are allowed to "interpret it to suit your figure/coloring/aesthetic" because I will raise the hem a bit (not that I don't prefer longer hemlines in general) and will certainly not be making the dress in its original colorway. Can you imagine how much prettier this dress would be in another color?

Not exactly my colors? Notice the conspicuous lack of black...I promise I will try to not make this dress in shades of black. I think my choice in color will be more down to what is available at my local fabric shop. I am also considering using the same color/shade of fabric but using different opacities to create the gradient style. Imagine chiffon, then georgette, then crepe, then satin. I'll have to see what is available at my local shop, in any case I think I will follow the original pattern of rectangles quite closely no matter what fabrics I find.

You all know how 20's obsessed I am so it makes sense that I would choose something from my current favorite era. Its funny because I tend to favor the 50's in the late spring and all through summer and then switch over to 20's/30's/40's the other months of the year. Something about warm weather makes my heart lean pin-up. But now winter is coming and my soul craves the art nouveau and art deco decadence of the 1920's.

I am glad to have finally settled on a plan for this years competition. I think, seeing as they release the themes in March, most people start much earlier instead of waiting for the deadline to feel nice and close. As it is I still won't be starting this dress till after the holidays, which again gives me just a month to complete it. I don't mind though, seeing as I have chosen something that requires no special underpinnings, and this year I haven't foolishly booked a vacation for the last week I was supposed to be sewing! Anyways, for now I have to get back to my current sewing projects, like that black Chantilly lace dress...


  1. That is an excellent choice. I've seen this dress before and it always stuck me as feeling very, very ahead of it's time. I could easily have imagined very nearly the same pattern being worn in the 1970s (I say that as a positive thing). There are so many colours that would look awesome in a monochromatic colour scheme in a design like this. My "blink" feeling is to work in blues, but purples and pinks could be dazzling, too. I'm sure whatever you pick will look fabulous!

    Happy sewing and best of luck with the competition!
    ♥ Jessica

  2. Thanks Jessica! It does seem like a rather timeless style dress, I would love to do shades of navy blue or a brick red but I will have to see whats on offer at the shop!


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