1919-20 Wool Ensemble

April – July 2009

A 1920 day ensemble in orange wool challis and brown cotton chambray. It’s made with the Decades of Style pattern #1902B, “1920 Tunic Blouse,” and their now discontinued #1901B, “1919 skirt”. For accessories, I made a matching hat and carry my early 20th century recovered parasol.
The wool was a very unusual find at the local fabric store. Other than black and white, it was the only solid color challis in stock. And it is extremely sheer. If I ever find more of this stuff I’ll snatch it up in a heartbeat. But at $20/yard I picked up just barely enough for this outfit. The bottom of the skirt had to be pieced for length, and the brown stripe was a solution to cover this seam. I think it worked out well in bringing the whole thing together, design-wise. A lucky outcome.
The skirt hem is interfaced with silk organza, using Roberta Carr’s method in her Couture book. I was really impressed with the results. It gave an otherwise lifeless hem a really nice finished shape. The Decades pattern does not call for a lining, but I added one in cotton voile.
1920 Brown Straw (February – June 2011)
This was a nice straw hat from the Salvation Army that I actually wore all last summer. But sacrifices must be made! I pressed it with my iron, then cut it into an oval shape using measurements from an original 20s hat. Then wired the brim and added petersham ribbon. I was going for something similar to the hats on p. 129 of Everyday Fashions, 1909-1920, As Pictured in Sears Catalogs.

Straw hat before altering
1920 Brown straw

This is a truly one-size fits all costume. I made sure of it by adding the elastic waistband, rather than a period closure. It looks adorable on my mom, who’s several inches shorter than me. Hopefully I’ll find a good fabric to make up this pattern again.
Underneath the outfit I’m wearing a modern flesh colored camisole and slip. It took two years, but I finally came across some reasonably 1920-looking shoes at a Goodwill.