Galaxy Beach Pajamas and Hat

The first event at Costume College every year is a pool party, and while almost no one actually goes in the pool, it’s a great chance to show off a more casual outfit that’s suitable for hot weather. I think I’d been at the party last year for about an hour (sweating the whole time) before deciding that I totally wanted to wear a set of 1930s-style beach pajamas next time– they seemed so loose and comfortable, as opposed to the foam-armored corset I’d laced myself into at the time.

When they announced that this year’s pool party theme was “Garments of the Galaxy,” I decided to make my beach pajamas out of navy blue net embellished with silver glitter stars. Not quite authentic to the 1930s, but I thought it would at least be glamorous and fun.

Although there are patterns out there for 1930s-style beach pajamas, I ended up picking out a modern Vogue pattern (Vogue 9321) for a wide-legged jumpsuit, as the silhouette looked right, I liked the tie-back detail, and it was a lot less expensive than the vintage-style patterns were. Plus, it uses elastic instead of a zipper at the waist, which would make it easier to fit and sew. And it has pockets!

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I made a few alterations to the construction process, specifically to fully line the whole thing– the original pattern only lines the back bodice section, but with my sheer fabric that was clearly not an option. I lined it with navy blue rayon challis, which is flowy and breathable.

After doing a quick mockup of just the bottom section to check the fit over the hips, I cut out my actual fabrics and got to work. I will note that I didn’t bother to pre-wash the rayon, since I was never going to be able to wash the jumpsuit anyway due to the glittered net. For the record, the glitter started shedding the moment I unwrapped the fabric and hasn’t stopped since– I’m going to have to pack it in a plastic bag to keep it from contaminating the rest of my luggage!

The pattern is categorized as “Very Easy,” so I wasn’t surprised when it went together fairly quickly– I sewed everything but the elastic waist and the hem in one evening. I bag-lined the top pieces of the jumpsuit so I’d have finished edges and clean insides (topstitching the edges to keep things flat), but left the bottom lining completely separate from the outer fabric except at the waist and the pockets so it the pant legs would flow nicely.

Due to the scratchy glitter fabric I did have to alter the back waistband, adding a strip of rayon where the outer layer was turned to the inside to form the elastic casing– otherwise the glitter would’ve been against my skin, which would have been very uncomfortable.

I also tacked down the bodice where the two pieces overlap– otherwise the neckline gaped open too much for comfort. I just stitched the pieces together along the overlap line to about 1/2″ below the top edge to keep things closed. Due to the tie-back design, once the front was stitched together I was able to wear a regular bra without it showing beneath the bodice, which was a definite plus!

I didn’t bother to hem the net layer of the pant legs– it wasn’t going to fray anyway– but I did hem the lining layer with a small rolled hem. Finally, because the elastic waistband was a bit bunchy-looking for my taste, I made a quick sash out of a long piece of net– tied to the side with the ends loose, it defined the waist a little bit and added some extra drama to the look. I added a belt loop at the center back to keep the sash from riding up higher than the waistline of the pants.

For the hat, I bought a wide-brimmed hat in sheer navy blue, and stitched a strand of white LEDs to the brim to mimic stars. Here it is before the LEDs:

Miss Fisher-Inspired Lined Jacket

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.

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Green 1920s Dupatta Dress

green sari 1920s dress

So last year I whipped up a quick 1920s evening dress using a vintage silk dupatta and a basic One-Hour Dress pattern. It was fast, easy, and the fabric made it interesting despite its shapelessness. I learned that I really enjoy sewing with vintage saris and dupattas, simply because of all the fantastic details that are already present in the fabric– no extra embellishment needed!

That being said, you knew I couldn’t stop there, right? Having made a bunch of 1920s-style day dresses, I decided to revisit the evening dress and my love of vintage dupattas to make a glamorous emerald green flapper-style dress. While I don’t ordinarily wear a lot of green, I admit to having been inspired by Cyd Charisse’s sultry green costume from Singin’ In the Rain– I may not be quite as fabulous as she was, but I can aspire!

cydgenesingin

Obviously, Charisse’s costume isn’t anywhere near historically accurate, but it’s the feel I’m going for more than the actual look.

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1920s Flamingo Dress

flamingo-stand

So, obviously I enjoy attending costumed events, but dragging friends along with me is half the fun! And that generally involves my volunteering to make something for them so they have something appropriate to wear. And thatĀ brings me to this dress, which I made so that a friend of mine could accompany me to the annual historical costumers’ picnic I host every summer (or at least, this is the second annual, so I’m hoping to make it a tradition!).

Because 1920s-style dresses are the fastest and easiest historical outfits I know how to make, we decided to go with a basic day dress, very similar to the ones I’ve been making recently. She wanted somethingĀ in navy blue, but I just couldn’t seem to find anything cute in that colorway or to think of any interesting design ideas until I came across this fantastic flamingo-print rayon voile, and it all came together!

Telio Rayon Voile Flamingos on Navy

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