Thursday, 23 February 2012

1920s maternity

My life has been somewhat absorbed of late by two things: moving house and being pregnant! Major life events that really take it out of you, it has to be said. It's meant that my usual vintage obsession has somewhat been dented over the last few months from a combination of busy-ness, tiredness, and frustration with the difficulties of combining vintage clothing with the maternity look.

Don't get me wrong - there are vintage maternity clothes out there - it's just that it's hard to justify investing in good pieces for just a few months. My maternity clothes have been cheap as chips from mainstream fashion shops, mostly bought in the sales for a few quid each. Using vintage accessories has been the best way of keeping vintage part of my look. I have searched and browsed longingly over some lovely vintage maternity pieces though, and at some point I will perhaps blog about them, since at least that would give some use to my browsing!

My current challenge, however, is putting together a 1920s weekend wardrobe that fits (given I'm now nearly 7 months gone) for a weekend away in a couple of weeks. Only one of my original twenties dresses now still fits, so I'm resorting to making a couple of dresses from original twenties patterns and adapting them to my strange shape.

My first test of this was for another twenties event a couple of weeks ago, for which I tried to make a black day dress. It was not an overwhelming sucess, but here's the result;

It's adapted from a 1928 Vintage Vogue pattern I've used a number of times, but the result really had no relationship to the original. My hormone addled brain completely miscalculated and the whole thing ended up far too big, so I ended up adding lots of tucks and pleats, especially around the neckline, to make it even vaguely fit properly. I did wear it for the weekend, somewhat reluctantly, but with a big cardigan over it to hide it's worst sins.

One of the main things I learned from that weekend is that the 1920s style is not flattering for a pregnant lady. It's the style most likely to fit, I suppose, because it isn't as fitted as other eras, but the 1920s look is all based on a straight up and down sillouette, and a pregnant belly gives anything but that look! The worst part is the low waist line. Whilst empire line clothes gathered under the bust are quite pretty and flattering for the pregnant figure, the low twenties waistline just makes you feel like you have a huge beer belly. Not a good look!

So I've decided to give up on this version of the dress, and have cut it up for my next attempt. This time I'm going for a tunic style that doesn't have any distinct waistline at all, in the hopes it'll skim over my bump a bit more attractively. It is adapted from Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion 2 (pattern 27a). This is my first attempt at using one of her patterns, but it is theoretically quite a simple one. I am however adding side panels to make room for my bump, so it'll be interesting to see how that works; but I'm trying to make it in such a way that I can reconstruct it and wear again after pregnancy.

This time it's an evening dress, so the black cloth from the day dress is being used as the lining, covered by silver lame lace net. Then I'm adding a lot of diamante;

The diamante was a challenge, but does sparkle so prettily;

So far I have tried the dress on pinned together; it's working better than the last attempt, but I'm still frustrated by how my bump makes it look so far from the twenties silhouette; this is just something I have to accept, I guess. Still lots of work to do on it and the final version may look better; I shall update as it comes together!