Monday, July 15, 2013

The Great Gatsby in Fashion, a new book by Debbie Sessions of Vintage Dancer

Today I'm bringing you a giveaway, The Great Gatsby in Fashion, written by F Scott Fitzgerald in 1925, with fashion history annotation by Debbie Sessions, creator of 

Debbie provides the full text of The Great Gatsby novel along with 33 additional 1920′s fashion history insights throughout the book. A great way to ensure that you understand the fashion statements made throughout the original novel.

Debbie and I, along with Bud and Ern Westmore of GlamourDaze, collaborated on  The 1940s Style Guide, book by Debbie, Rose Marie a 1940s retro dress pattern by me, a pattern that can take you to work, a picnic, a ball or your wedding day and make-up tips from Glamour Daze ...

... so I know how great she is at 'capturing' an era and making it available to the 21st century woman.

Her new '20s book is no exception and it is linked directly with the book text of The Great Gatsby! What a brilliant and creative idea. As Debbie says:

 “The love affair with one of the greatest American novels ever written has just as much to do with the dazzling fashions of the 1920’s as it does with great story telling. F. Scott Fitzgerald, a dapper dresser, and his wife, Zelda, a notorious flapper, experienced the high life of fashion and culture in the twenties. It was only natural for Fitzgerald to include detailed descriptions of the clothing each character wore. It is in his observations of their dress that he unveils the characters’ motivations and morals that play a critical part in the novel. Fitzgerald’s audience in 1925 would have understood what color a “gas blue” dress was and would have known the sound of “clicking pottery bracelets.” Today’s readers miss the cultural context of those fashions, until now.

How can you win a free copy of The Great Gatsby in Fashion?

Debbie has gracefully offered me one free copy of her epublication to my blog followers and you have a chance of winning it!

Debbie brings The Great Gatsby’s Jazz Age alive with illustrations and historical annotations of the clothing described in the novel. Sixty images of 1920’s dresses, suits, shoes, hats, hairstyles and the people who wore them are included alongside descriptions of the clothing worn in the summer of 1922, the year in which The Great Gatsby is set. Additional cultural insights of the life and times of the roaring twenties are blended into the annotations creating an insightful view of the 20’s wealthier class.”For a limited time you can purchase it for US .99c!

You can win a FREE copy of the book if you :
  1. Tell me briefly which film represents the true' 20s fashion best, either the Redford/Farrow or the DiCaprio/Mulligan . 
  2. Share this blog post on your Twitter and/or FB accounts to spread the word of the giveaway and let me know you have done so in your comments.
Put your answer in the comments section below by 4th August, 2013 Australian Eastern Standard Time.

Once done, you will go into the draw for a chance to win a FREE copy of  The Great Gatsby in Fashion, written by F Scott Fitzgerald in 1925, with fashion history annotation by Debbie Sessions! Best of luck to you all!


I'm The Tailor's Apprentice and I have created The Miss Page Vintage Pattern Collection. 1940s WWII dress making patterns for the 21st century woman. Patterns created by me from my extant 1940s gowns. All my patterns are available on Etsy and my website where you'll find out more about me as well. This year I am publishing an 1820s gown wardrobe pattern.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Making a paper tape dress form

Mine is on the far right, there's much more of me, lol!
I've been rather quiet on the blog of late as I'm renovating our garden cottage into a space for guests to enjoy a short break from the city. A place to rest, revive and enjoy nature at its best. I am including a Stitch Up History short break package: a weekend, or weekdays, one-on-one master class where you make a period or vintage outfit and enjoy the delights of one of the most well known national parks in Australia, the Blue Mountains National Park, part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area; listed for its remarkable geographic, botanic and cultural values, including protecting sites of Aboriginal cultural significance. Come and 'Like' Azure Hills Cottage on FB and be the first to know when Stitch Up History short breaks are advertised.
 But back to making a paper tape dress form! ...

In-between scrubbing walls clean, painting them and carting furniture in the non stop pouring rain, I had a break!  Three friends joined forces to create dress dummies out of paper tape using this tutorial. As fate would have it, it was also a beautifully sunny winters day, which was a delight after the constant rain!

I wore my Regency stays so I could have the right shape for making my gowns. Here are our pictures from the process.

  • First put on a long or short sleeved stretch T that you will later cut through, so don't wear your favorite one! If, like me. you are aiming for a particular silhouette, put your chemise and stays on first. I left the chemise off as my T was rather thick. 
  • It helps if you cut all your paper tape pieces up first, or do it as you go along, either works. We used 1 and a bit rolls of tape for the three of us, this gave us two layers.
    Sam ably demonstrating the paper tape
    Refreshment for all but me as going to the loo would be a tad awkward
  • Then start placing the pieces onto the victim ... um I mean model :)
    Create a chriss cross foundation to 'lift and seoarate' your 'girls' and put a band right at the base of yout top ribs right around your body
    Do the same for the back
  • Dry each layer with a hair dryer before you commence the next, we used two layers of paper tape, you can use three, just don't use too many as you will widen your body shape.
    As you can see I've added arms into my body double, useful for ensuring you get the correct armsyce shape for your dresses.
  •  But how do you then get out of it? First, ensure that the form is dry and hard, then simply cut up the back and along the top of the sleeves, using the zig-zag cut shown below.
    Cut up the back of the paper tape shell, try not to cut into your stays or underwear as you do this.
    Do the same on your sleeves to the neck then you can slide out of the form
  • Here is my double off the body.

  • Turning your double into a dress dummy. This is the next stage and I haven't done it as yet. I'll document it as I do it and post it when completed.