Sew the Show: Boardwalk Empire {plus a mini tutorial!}

Show of hands - who here has trouble getting inspired? I sure do! Especially since I've spent much of 2015 on "Fabric Freeze" - my primary source of inspiration has been dwindling daily as I sew through my stash.

Thankfully, in my short time blogging for myself here, I've come to discover a whole world of blogs bubbling over with creativity. Alida Makes is, of course, among them! So when she invited her fans to "Sew the Show", I knew it'd be an excellent source of inspiration. 

This month's sew-show is Boardwalk Empire. And I confess... I'd never heard of it. Which surprises me, because...

I'm a mega super duper history nerd. I simply find it (people's behavior over time) fascinating. I was an English Major in college, and my most favorite part about reading period fiction pieces was seeing history (which is so often associated with straight memorization of names and dates and keywords) interpreted through the social lens of the author. It makes it all feel more real

And that's what had me hooked watching Boardwalk Empire from episode one. BE is a period drama from the 20's. It chronicles the evolution of prohibition, suffrage, civil rights, political corruption and mob rule....

And for my sewing purposes, we watch women's fashion transform from floor-length skirts, and buried under multiple layers, to post-war styles, where serious concessions were made to tradition and modesty, and sexual rebellion shaped new hemlines and bared an unprecedented amount of skin. 

Fit was loose, but suggestive. waists were dropped, necklines beaded, and skirt lengths went up, up, up. 

So I embraced a few of these characteristics, and re-imagined them for a more modern take on the era. I'd sketched a few ideas out throughout my month-long-BE-binge errr.. "research", but it was this Vanity Fair spread that lead me to design.... 

Hat? CHECK. Short hemline? Oh yes. (I'll be lengthening that...fyi) Loose fit, nipped here or there with strategic pleats/gathers to suggest the feminine physique underneath? You betcha.

My one regret with this dress was the belt. I'd intended to add a beaded embellishment to the center, but my photographing-timeline was bumped up a day with the onset of sudden, sunny, spring-y weather, so the belt was photographed un-beaded. Probably just as well, anyway, so it'll be a neutral day-dress I can wear throughout the season. 

Now, to be a "real" 20's hat, I'd have needed to add some serious embellishments, turned up the from brim blossom-style, or stitched up a much shallower, or non-existent brim. But I read this week that many women who couldn't afford the fashions of the day took up millinery classes to make their own (imperfect) replicas. Well HEY, I have taken up millinery myself! And since I had a few imperfect drafts of last week's top stitcher hat, I decided to finish up one of those to style this look, too.

Here's how I did it:

I modified the Jocole quick dress for this look. I cut an accent panel for the front center, about twice as wide as I needed it. This left plenty of room for extra gathering at the waist and neckline. Instead of fixing clear elastic on the inside of the body pieces, I added a built-in-belt with fold over elastic on the outside, all along the pattern's waist marking. (Since I used dark fabrics, I couldn't see my fabric marker. I folded, starched, and pressed to have a discernible line to follow.) Here are some (supper grainy cell phone) progress pics:

The rest is finished per pattern instructions! Easy peasy, right? 

So what do you think?? Did you sew up something from the roaring 20's for Sew the Show?? Let's chat about it!

Happy Friday, ya'll :)

PS: you have through Midnight Monday to enter your own look! Good luck!!