Dress for The Great Gatsby Sewing Challenge

My dress for the Great Gatsby Sewing Challenge is complete. Here it is!

IMG_7896The beading drove me crazy, and I know this is not a complete success, so please be gentle.



This dress is Great Gatsby inspired, and as I said in my planning post, this project is also inspired by my great-grandmother, Frances Coles.


My Fav!


Although, I barely knew her, I’ve heard so many wonderful things about her. She was a beautiful woman inside and out, and I wish I could’ve known her better. She was also an amazing seamstress, and she made clothes for her ten children. Several of her children, including my grandmother, are also sewists. I’m blessed to have received whatever genes gave her a passion for sewing. πŸ˜€ It’s fun to think about the way that sewing has made its way through, from generation to generation. My grandmother and my mother taught me to sew. I feel like sewing offers me a special form of connection to previous generations of family.

This dress was a source of joy and frustration, but I’m glad I finished it. I finished up the beading on the dress over the past few nights, and just took the photos this evening. I decided to keep the beading very simple and similar to the sketch.


rough sketch of my original plan

Please see the inspiration/planning post for more information about why I chose the design that I did. As you can see from the scribble next to the sketch, I was undecided about making a sash to tie at the waist. When I finished the dress and tried it on, I felt that it really need a little sash around the waist.

IMG_7893The dress material is a silk blend that I’ve had in my stash for a couple of years. Since the material is see-through, I made a stretchy under-dress. I didn’t want to detract from the dress with a frilly slip underneath. I don’t have a strapless bra right now, but I guess the bandeau effect of the under-dress makes the look a bit more authentic to the ’20s. I certainly wouldn’t be comfortable going out in public like that, but that’s an easy fix.





No matter what I did, the beading ended up wonky around the hemline, but I persevered and finished it anyway. I just didn’t give myself enough time to plan well. I bet if I gave it a good pressing after adding the beading the hemline would’ve been more submissive. Oh well, it is what it is.




I didn’t have time to make the cloche hat, but a headband works just as well for a ’20s inspired look.


Pardon my ridiculously chapped lips…

I added a simple line of beading to echo the beading around the hem.


IMG_7921I got better with the beading as I went along, so the headband looks the best. The beading on the dress isn’t exactly my crowning achievement. Actually, it’s pretty terrible, even though it’s so simple. It’s the first time I’ve done anything like it, so I guess I should just call it a learning experience.

Well, it’s late and my eyes are heavy, so I’ll leave it at that.

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25 Responses to Dress for The Great Gatsby Sewing Challenge

  1. larakrjacobs says:

    This is gorgeous – I actually love the beading and the colour is amazing on you! x

  2. Julia Bobbin says:

    Gorgeous! And the colour is perfect. Love your shoes and your makeup too you gorgeous woman!

  3. dandeliondrift says:

    I love your dress! The fit is amazing and it looks wonderful on you! And I think the beading looks great. I know my daughter would love me to add details like that to her clothes I make. Any tips or tricks you learned along the way with the beads?

    • Becca says:

      Thank you! I do like the fit of the dress, and it’s not bad for my first time doing beading. You should definitely add some beading details sometime. Like I said, I really don’t have a lot of experience with beading. I will say, use a beading needle and the right kind of thread (which will depend on your material). I designed the dress with a facing along the hem, so I would have two layers to stitch through. I knew one layer of this thin material would be more likely to rip under the weight of the beads. I wasn’t as consistent as I should have been about where I tacked the beading down, so that’s something I would’ve done differently.

  4. I love the fabric and the color looks awesome with your skintone!! The fit is great too! I love the pictures of your great grandmother, so cool.

    • Becca says:

      Thank you so much! The color is my favorite thing about this dress. I am lucky to have access to so many awesome pictures of my great-grandparents.

  5. Love the beading! That must have took some time and patience. So pretty!

  6. I say it’s a job well done. The colour looks great on you too.

  7. LLADYBIRD says:

    I think it turned out lovely! I love the beading (it doesn’t look wonky, it looks intentionally textured ;)) and that color is AMAZING on you.

    • Becca says:

      Thanks! Haha, “intentionally textured.” I love it! It’s like calling our mistakes “design choices.” πŸ˜€ I really do love the color, for sure.

  8. This is a great color on you! And those shoes!!! LOVE πŸ™‚

  9. gingermakes says:

    I love this! It’s such a beautiful dress! The sheer dress with the underdress is a really cool effect.

    • Becca says:

      Thank you! You’re too sweet! It’s different than anything I’ve made before. It’s fun to try new things once in a while.

  10. Kelly says:

    You look so pretty! I think it looks great πŸ™‚ I have been wanting to make one of those beaded peter pan collar necklaces but I am scared of the beading…

    • Becca says:

      Thank you! Ooo, you should totally make one of those removable collars. It would be adorable!

  11. Gjeometry says:

    Ta da!! it’s darling, you just look adorable in it. I like your fabric colour choice, as well, it has a nice vintage ‘feel’ as colours at that time would not be so bright and vibrant.

    I finished my Great Gatsby make, as well here: http://gjeometry.com/2013/06/04/great-gatsby-make-the-cats-pajamas-one-giant-leap-for-womankind/

    • Gjeometry says:

      P.S. that pic of your great grandmother sitting with her Flapper hat on in the park is movie start quality! Definitely a ‘framer’. πŸ™‚

    • Becca says:

      Thanks! It does have a vintage feel with the dusty blue color. I saw your make and thought it was awesome! I’m pretty sure I commented on it, but maybe my comment didn’t go through, or something? I loved your mix of prints and your fun poses. πŸ™‚

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