For Costume College this year I’m joining a group of other costumers in donning our very best 1920s daywear in imitation of the incomparable Miss Phryne Fisher! Aside from her undeniable stylishness, the comfort factor was a big influence on my decision to join the crowd– Los Angeles in July just cries out for flowy, comfortable clothing, and 1920s outfits fit the bill admirably.
I actually wore some 1920s daywear last year as well, but thought I’d mix it up a bit this year and go with a jacket-and-pants combo, since Miss Fisher makes it look so darned good. Rather than try to sew the main pieces myself (pants scare me), I did some judicious sourcing of pre-made pieces, one of which was this jacket!
This fabulous kimono-style jacket in embroidered chiffon looks oh-so-1920s and cost just about $20 on eBay. Score! It’s actually listed as an abaya— commonly worn by Muslim women– but it works perfectly as an over-jacket for this period. I’m a sucker for embroidery, and the style of this multicolored embroidery just hit the spot for an art deco-ish look.
Due to concerns about sizing I ordered a size XL (I usually wear a US size 6-8) and it was actually the perfect size, other than being slightly too long in the sleeves and body. But it definitely needed a lining to make it look like something other than loungewear, so I decided to line it in turquoise rayon.
While I was at it, I removed the sleeves so I could raise the shoulder seam, so I basically ended up taking apart the whole thing.
I took the quick and easy route to lining– I laid out the now-flat body of the coat and basted the edges in place before cutting around it. Then I machine-stitched around the edges (except the hem), finished them by hand, and re-sewed the shoulder seams. I draped the coat on my dress form and pinned the hem up to cover the raw bottom edge of the lining, stitching it in place.
Then I took in my sleeves to fit the new, smaller armscyes (had the added advantage of making them narrower and less robe-like) and made french-seamed sleeve linings for them, again turning up the original sleeve hem to cover the raw lining edge. Once I set in the new sleeves, the kimono-style coat was fully lined, shorter, and ready to wear!
I’m going to combine the jacket with a simple sleeveless white blouse and a pair of wide-legged white pants. Now I just need to figure out a hat to disguise my decidedly not-1920s-style hair…