Friday, May 17, 2013

Gatsby: The Fringe Benefits

In the movie, Jay Gatsby's lavish parties were so renowned, every socialite was clamoring to get on the invitation list. What a delightful excuse to get dressed up, sip champagne and dance till dawn!!! Gatsby the Magnificent focuses on an era of unabashed wealth, opulence and luxury. Everyone danced the Charleston and the Flapper Girls wore dresses that moved with every swing of the hip and kick of the leg. If there was ever a vehicle to rev up your creative juices, this is the movie to turn to for lots of fun and inspiration. Let's party!!!!

All three of the dresses featured in today's post are super simple to create even for those lacking in sewing or construction skills. They begin with a simple one-seam "tube" dress, over which rows of fringe are pinned in place and stitched. Add beads, glitter, sequins or feathers and your Flapper Girl is good to go!

For the blue dress, I used a piece of the leftover pantyhose from the black dress featured in the previous posting.

Tape the top of the material to the doll (to keep it from moving) then stretch it around the doll and pin down the back. Mark the pins (the sewing line), then trim away the excess. Lay this out flat. Then lay out a row of fringe along the bottom of the dress. Mark the placement for each subsequent row to ensure you keep each one level. Stitch the fringe in place. When finished, stitch up the back, making sure the rows of fringe are aligned at the seam. Leave the last inch open at the top (so that the doll can get in the dress). Use a hook & eye closure. I used rhinestone trim across the top of the dress. A small rhinestone clip and a bit of silk cord is used to make a necklace. (Try to find jewelry or bits of jewelry as tiny as possible to respect the scale of the doll.)

The white dress is made pretty much the same, using a novelty fringe dotted with small teardrop crystals.

For this garment, I stitched the foundation dress (using stretch lace) down the back first. Then I positioned each layer of fringe--starting from the bottom and moving up--and stitched in place. You don't want this type of fringe too dense which is why I pinned it directly onto the stitched up dress while it was on the doll. Hand stitch. It too, is fastened with a hook & eye.
My final dress starts out, again, with a tube dress which is completely stitched up first.

This tube (made from a piece of pantyhose) is totally stretchable and needs no fasteners. Even when completed, the doll slides easily into the dress. I bought a small packet of feathers. You don't need too many. Note how I have placed the first row at the hem, hand stitching the tip of the feather in place against the dress. Your next row (placed above) will be staggered so as to cover the tops of the first row. For your last row, use the feathers with the finest tips so that their tips are barely noticeable. If all of the tips are a bit thick or if you can still see the individual clusters, here is where you might want to add a tiny bit of ribbon topped off with a bow. This dress did not take very long. Admittedly, if I were to make this again, I might choose a better quality sheer fabric or lace since so much of the fabric in my design is visible. After finishing this particular dress, I felt it needed a bit of sparkle with the help a a few rhinestones glued randomly in place.

It's raining. It's pouring. But nobody is snoring. We still have our eye on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival. Stay tuned!!

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