TUTORIAL: QUICK AND EASY 1920's FLAPPER DRESS

I'm going to risk sounding really fluffy and silly saying this, but when I was first informed about Moet & Chandon's 1920's themed party, all I could think of was what to wear.

It was quite at the eleventh hour, only scoring invites at the last minute.
I had lunchtime on Thursday to scout for a 1920's dress and if that fails, I had several hours after work on Thursday evening to DIY something from scratch for the event.

I had found really pretty pieces online from Topshop but sadly could not find the exact piece at the store that Thursday. So it was quite clear to me that sunny afternoon, that I had no choice but to make myself a 1920's themed dress.

I'm not sure if you've ever had this experience before. Deciding to DIY something and having only a few hours to finish it can be quite nerve wrecking.

It had to be something quite simple and fast.
I made several sketches of what I thought would be simple to make and did some research. Of course I had to take into consideration the materials I had on hand.


I must say that I drew most inspiration out of Vogue's spread on Carey Mulligan in May's issue.





I would have loved to explore beading and using faux feathers on my dress, if only I had the time.

So I settled for a simple black dress with lots of fringing, quite similar to the sketch on the right above.
Because of my shape, I decided to go for a more shapely dress since straight silhouettes do nothing for me.



So here's a shortcut on how to make a quick, easy and modern 1920's flapper dress:

You need:
- stretchy fabric in any colour of your choice (I chose black)
- fringing, any length will do (colour to match dress)
- fabric chalk
- a sewing machine
- scissors
- pins
- fabric glue

How to:

a) make a simple black dress

1. Fold stretchy fabric in half and lay it completely flat on the floor.
2. Using a dress that fits you well (or has the shape you want), lay it flat over folded stretchy fabric. Pin the dress down. Make sure that the stretch goes across the dress (from left to right and not top to bottom). 
4. Pin the dress down and trace the dress out onto the stretchy fabric.



5. Take note and mark important sections like the armhole and neckline. You will notice that I changed the neckline from the original existing dress. You will end up with something quite similar to this.

6. Add approximately 1 inch to the line recently traced and cut the fabric out. You will have two pieces of fabric that are exactly the same in size and shape. Don't forget to cut out the neckline too.
7. Sew down the shoulders and the neckline before sewing down the sides/silhouette of the dress.
8. Once this is done, you will have a complete dress and it will now be ready for the fringe!

b) adding the fringe

1. Lay the dress flat on the ground. Because the fringe is going to go down in a V shape, I measured multiple Vs on the dress, starting from the neckline. I did this for both sides, the back and front. It is really important that the lines (in the front and back) meet at the sides. (I had first time jitters and tested a round of fringe along the neckline first).

2. Starting at the bottom or last line on your dress (this is very important), place the fringe along the lines drawn and carefully glue the fringe down. Starting at the bottom will make sure that you don't get your fringe all tangled up or covered in glue.







3. Repeat this until all lines are covered in fringe and your dress is done!
4. Try it on for size and hem your dress and sleeves accordingly.
5. Alternatively, you may sew the fringe down strip by strip if you have more time. Just remember to do this prior to step #7 of making the dress.



To complete a 1920's flapper look, go for a headpiece and lots of pearls and long jewelry!
I found the ad campaign by Tiffany & Co. really pretty and totally inspiring!


I hope you enjoyed the post and don't forget to send me pictures (to jillianundercover@gmail.com) of your completed flapper dress. Good Luck!

(Great Expectations, Vogue images from here).

15 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Elvira! And thanks also for visiting my blog ((:

      Delete
  2. What length of fringe did you use? And how many yards of it did you end up using? (I'm thinking of making my own for Halloween and I think I'm about your size. :D )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Shay! Thanks for visiting my blog (: I'm at work now but I'll go home and check how many yards I used. The fringe I used was roughly about 4 inches? If you want, drop me an email and I can get back to you there (:

      Delete
    2. Hi Shay! I used about 10 yards of fringe but the amount you use will greatly depend on how much fringing you want (if you want extra) or if you're going to switch up the shape of your dress etc (: I bought 15 yards, just to be safe. Good luck and send me pictures!!

      Delete
  3. Does the fringe stretch with the fabric?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi TINKERBE||! Thanks for visiting (:

      Yes, it stretches a little, with glue. But I would suggest using a base dress (step 2) that does not need to stretch too much in order to fit. Otherwise, add in a quarter of an inch or so to the width of the dress (step 4).

      In my opinion, the best way to guarantee super perfect fit, is to glue the fringe down with the dress on (get a friend to help!). Good luck! Send me pictures ok? ((:

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Hi Caroline! You can get your fringe at your local art/sewing supply store. Fabric stores might also sell fringe. I'm not sure where you're from, but I write from Malaysia. In Malaysia they're available in select Kamdar stores and Bunga Reben stores in Kuala Lumpur. I hope this helps! (:

      Delete
  5. My prom theme is going to be the roaring 20s and I really want a unique flapper dress so I wanted to know if you had any other awesome ideas

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Juliet! Thanks for visiting (:

      If you want to make something really unique, what i love using are feathers. Instead of using fringe, there are feather trims (http://i01.i.aliimg.com/img/pb/578/315/437/437315578_725.jpg) you can buy. Use the trim to create a really poofy looking bottom half of the dress - like what Carey Mulligan wore in Vogue. Maybe add beads and rhinestones for extra glamour? The 1920s was all about showing off glam, but remember not to overdo it. Sometimes less is more (:

      I hope you found this useful. Drop me an email at jillianundercover@gmail.com anytime if you have further questions. Good Luck!

      Delete
  6. So I've got two questions. One: where'd you find your headband, I've looked all over for one, but yours is the only one I like! Two: i have a black slip dress that I was planning to use instead of making one, but the neckline is a scoop. Any tips on how to fringe?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ruthie!

      I believe I got my headband from Forever 21. You can also try Lovisa? Not sure if they have this where you're at. In any case, most accessory stores sell these nowadays (:

      If its a scoop neck - for the fringing around the neckline, instead of doing a V like I did, maybe follow the curve of your scoop-neck dress. And for the rest of the dress, maybe do straight horizontal or slightly curved lines, so there is some uniformity with the neckline.

      Good luck!

      Delete
  7. Hello,
    We are a costume design company and are looking for a good price on fringe so we do not have to charge our customers outrageous prices for some of our costumes that have fringe. I see you shop locally in Malaysia. Do any of your store have online web sites? Thank you for your help and we will give you and all your subscribers 10% off any $50 or more order our store is www.houseofzuehl.etsy.com.
    Thank you for this fabulous blog! We learned a few things

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello there! I'm so happy you found my tutorial useful, and thank you so much for visiting (:
      I bought the fringe from a shop here in my city. They do have an online store but I didn't see the fringe being sold there. You can check it out for yourself here: http://www.bungareben.com/

      In any case, I don't mind helping to buy the fringe, and then sending them over to you for a small minimal fee. If you're interested, let me know and we can definitely work something out. Email me here: jillianundercover@gmail.com

      Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you soon! Good luck!

      Jillian x

      Delete