Finished Project · Sewing

Watercolor, Feathers, and a Drop-Waist Dress

Jamie Lau, one of the authors of BurdaStyle‘s newest book Sewing Vintage Modern, actually wrote to ask me if I’d make a dress from her book before asking if I’d review the book itself.  Of course I jumped at the opportunity, even though at that point I only knew that the patterns were classic designs from different eras in the 20th century.  Jamie explained that my choices of patterns were a 1920s drop-waist dress, a 1940s men’s shirt, a 1950s gathered-waist dress, or a 1960s stirrup pant; she also let me know that I was free to modify the patterns as I wished.  I ended up choosing the drop-waist dress since I’d been intrigued by the 1920s style ever since I learned about the Gatsby-themed party that happens each year here in San Francisco.  Jamie sent the pattern right over.

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It was only after I’d started the pattern that she asked me if I’d review the book.  The offer came at the perfect time – I was just trying to plan my modifications, and I was eager to see what had been done in the book.  The Louisa Drop-Waist Dress actually only has one major modification described in the book:  the 1960s Jackie Dress (seen here and here).  I wanted to stick with the 1920s style though, so I passed Jackie up and starting toying with simple modifications.  First, I contemplated making a V neck line, but then I didn’t want to lose any of the beautiful watercolor flowers on the silk charmeuse from Mood that I bought for this project with my Mood Sewing Network allowance.  I also debated turning the skirt into a single tier, but I decided against that idea because of the fabric yet again.  I liked how the tiers played up the silk’s abstract print.

IMG_7992 copy

Ultimately, I didn’t make any big modifications to the pattern.  I did swap the facing-lining combination for a full lining and the belt for a row of feather trim along the top tier (similar trim in brown here).  Simple little changes that were again guided by the fabric.


All in all, I couldn’t be happier.  The pattern and fabric came together into a great dress.  I love how the silk shimmers and dances through the tiers as I walk.  I finally have the 1920s-style dress that I’ve coveted – one with a very “vintage modern” attitude.

If you guys live in or near Brooklyn, Santa Cruz, or San Francisco, check out the upcoming book launch parties this week and next.  And, give a hug to Jamie for me!

This post can also be found on Mood Sewing Network and BurdaStyle. Though I also mentioned it in the text above, I used my MSN allowance towards the purchase of the fabrics, and I received the pattern and book for free from BurdaStyle.

18 thoughts on “Watercolor, Feathers, and a Drop-Waist Dress

  1. I just got my copy last night and I stayed up (way past my bedtime!) and read through the book. It’s wonderful.
    Your dress is lovely. I am eager to trace off a pattern and get sewing! Your dress is such an inspiration – the fabric is just perfect for this style.

    1. I used my rolled hem foot for the hem on the tiers. The book suggested serging, turning, and stitching, but I was nervous about serging the silk charmeuse since I’d never used this type of fabric before.

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