Watercolor, Feathers, and a Drop-Waist Dress

Silk dropped waist dress

Jamie Lau, one of the authors of BurdaStyle’s newest book Sewing Vintage Modern, wrote to ask me if I’d make a dress from her book. 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.

Silk dropped waist dress

It was only after I’d started the pattern that I finally got a sneak peek at the book. It 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. 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.

Silk dropped waist dress

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. Simple little changes that were again guided by the fabric.

Silk dropped waist dress

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.

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Comments


  • Sandy
    December 11, 2012

    I like the dress…but how are the feathers attached?

    • Amy
      December 11, 2012

      The feathers were a trim I bought. It was essentially a long, narrow piece of felt with feathers glued to it. I thought it paired well with the fabric and the vibe of the pattern, so I worked it into the dress. The pattern suggests a belt, but I wanted to keep the unbelted 20s vibe, so I moved the feathers down to the tiers.

  • oonaballoona
    December 11, 2012

    ooh amy, i LOVE the feathers in this, they compliment the beautiful fabric perfectly! wonderful dress!!!

    • Amy
      December 11, 2012

      Coming from the queen of great-use-of-feathers-in-a-garment, that means a lot!

  • Erica B
    December 11, 2012

    Love the 20s flapper style. The feathers are a nice detail.

    • Amy
      December 11, 2012

      Thanks Erica!

  • Shane Bracewell
    December 11, 2012

    I love the dress and the feathers are a wonderful addition.

    • Amy
      December 11, 2012

      Thanks Shane!

  • Cidell
    December 11, 2012

    What a great print and smart idea to add the feathers. So intersting and unique!

    • Amy
      December 11, 2012

      It is a great print. I do love painted fabrics!

  • Amanda S.
    December 11, 2012

    I find silk charmeuse to have a mind of its own, so kudos to you for taming it. Also, THAT PRINT! Truly beautiful!

    • Amy
      December 11, 2012

      It was my first time using silk charmeuse. I’d heard stories, but I didn’t have any trouble. Even when I was making the tiny little rolled hem on the tiers. Must be magic fabric!

  • Carolyn
    December 11, 2012

    Amy, it’s an awesome dress and the use of the feathers trim is inspired!

    • Amy
      January 1, 2013

      Thanks Carolyn!

  • Ginger
    December 11, 2012

    Wow! What a great combination of fabric and pattern! Lovely dress!

    • Amy
      January 1, 2013

      Thanks Ginger!

  • Lauren
    December 12, 2012

    I never would have thought to pair feathers with that print, but it’s basically perfect. Awesome job!

    • Amy
      January 1, 2013

      Thanks Lauren! It hadn’t crossed my mind either until I saw the trim. When I did, I knew it was perfect.

  • Cissie
    December 12, 2012

    How utterly adorable! Your rolled hems look perfect. And the feathers are just the crowning glory!

    • Amy
      January 1, 2013

      Thanks Cissie! Sometimes my rolled hem foot and I don’t get along, but usually we can find our stride pretty quickly.

  • Teri Stich
    December 21, 2012

    Beautiful Dress and the feathers are great!

    • Amy
      January 1, 2013

      Thanks Teri!