Dreaming of… the Great Gatsby

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.
“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald …obv

And so the story of this dress began. Although, this dress has nothing to do with the above quote, aside from the fact that it was for a Gatsby themed night. It’s a fairly good quote for any time though so it seemed as good a way to start as any other. And it’s been a while since I started a blog post, so I needed something to get me going. No worries there though, apparently I’m quickly back to my usual rambling form.

Anyhoo…the dress.



This was originally going to be my entry for the Simplicity Star Sewist competition. I finished in time and everything, but then realised I couldn’t post pictures anywhere as the dress was for a surprise hen night theme and I didn’t want to be the one to ruin the secret.




I photographed it anyway and, now the hen night has been, I can finally reveal all.


My intention was to make a 1920s inspired dress that I could also wear casually. That ruled out all the tasselled, beaded dresses, which would have been amazing, but far too time consuming and definitely not ‘picnic practical’. (And yes, that is a new thing that I’ve just invented and will now be my gauge as to whether I should make something. If I can sit on the grass and eat cake in it, then it’s a winner!)




I used New Look 6145. I can’t remember what size I made it, but I do remember choosing to make it so that the finished measurements were fairly loose around the waist especially.





I made the shift dress much shorter than intended and then attached a circle skirt to make a drop waisted flapper-esque dress.



The fabric is a super drapey viscose or something from the Rag Market in Birmingham. It’s so soft and comfortable and I love the colour.



We got all glammed up for our murder mystery and it was all great fun…until I turned out to be the bad guy. Oops.


This dress was so easy to make – hopefully I can find ways to wear it that don’t look too costumey. Any tips?

41 thoughts on “Dreaming of… the Great Gatsby

  1. Fabulous dress. I love the addition of the circle skirt. I also made a dress using this fabric from The Rag Market. I love the colour and it’s great to wear on a hot day. I wonder what I will find on my trip on Saturday.

  2. So pretty! I’m sure you will be able to wear this again. I think it would look just as great with a jean jacket as it does with the pearls.

  3. It turned out beautifully! I love the color, and the style is fantastic 🙂 I think you could definitely wear this without it seeming costumey – its a classic style!

  4. I love this dress – not too costumy at all. That style of dress seems to be popular right now. I always find it so surprising that loose shift dresses are so figure flattering. That fabric so pretty, what a great colour on you.

  5. This is gorgeous! Is it shaped in a bit at the waist, because it looks like it is. I’ve always avoided drop-waists because of the boxiness, but I love the shape of this. And yey to being the baddy – much more fun!!

  6. I just love this dress! It looks fabulous on you and what a smart idea making a 20s dress that can be worn outside a costume. 🙂 Love the fabric/colour, too.

  7. You do know what the “F.” stands for in F. Scott Fitzgerald don’t you? I particularly like picture number 4 – “Is that an ant on the wall..? Why yes, yes it is.” Nice dress, obv xxx

  8. I just love the fabric choice on this dress, it goes so well with the casual 1920s vibe. You did a perfect job on styling the accessories, too!

  9. Seriously flattering!
    I like the picnic-compatible idea. I currently base everything on “can I dance tango in this?” Must be cool, comfortable, look good after being crushed to many men’s chests, and flattering. Your dress fits my bill!

  10. I love it!! I’d wear it anytime!! I have that new look pattern that’s never made it out of the packet!! I will definitely give this a go!! We are doing a gatsby theme New Year’s Eve so this will work perfectly!! Thanks so much, I’d have splashed out on a new pattern! http://www.ditsy-tulip.com 🌷🌷🌷

  11. Love your modifications! And your “picnic practical” term. I think I’ll have to adopt it for my own sewing 🙂

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